For interpreters

How to get certified

Step 2: Written examination

The written examination is the second step towards achieving certification and is generally offered four to five weeks after orientation. Interpreter candidates must have completed the two-day orientation to be eligible to take the written examination. The written examination serves as a screening test to determine eligibility to sit for the oral examination which is considered step 3 in the certification process.

Developed by the National Center for State Courts, it consists of 135 multiple-choice questions covering general English proficiency, court-related terms and usage, and ethics/professional conduct.

Overview of the Written Examination for Candidates - Council of Language Access Coordinators Adobe PDF

Written exam description

The multiple-choice questions measure a candidate’s knowledge of three areas central to the work of a court interpreter:

1. English language. To function as a professional court interpreter, one indispensable component is a high degree of proficiency in the English language. Accordingly, the written examination assumes a high degree of literacy in English and familiarity with a range of language constructions. It tests comprehension of written English vocabulary and idioms.

2. Court-related terms and usage. A second area of knowledge essential to successful professional performance is familiarity with the terminology and procedures of the court system. Accordingly, the written examination also measures recognition of common court-related situations and vocabulary, especially in the area of criminal courts.

3. Ethics and professional conduct. The third area of knowledge required of professional court interpreters encompassed in the written test is general knowledge of standards guiding the performance of duties. Accordingly, the written exam includes questions aimed at measuring candidates' knowledge of ethical behavior and professional conduct.

Time allotted for written test: 2 hours and 15 minutes -- Passing score: 108 out of 135 scoring units correct or 80%

2018 written examination dates and locations (Fee: $50 for first-time test takers or $25 for repeat test takers)

Location Dates Application & fee deadline
Milwaukee Friday, April 20 Friday, April 13
Wisconsin Rapids Friday, July 13 Friday, July 6
Madison Thursday, October 25 Friday, October 19

The schedule for the written exam at each location is as follows:

Registering for the written examination

To register for the written test, submit the written examination application and fee of $50 for first-time test takers or $25 for repeat test-takers by the corresponding deadline. Walk-ins are not allowed. A confirmation e-mail with logistical information will be sent to you prior to the testing date. If you do not have an e-mail address, a confirmation notice will be sent by US postal service to the most current mailing address on file.

2018 written exam application MS Word

Retaking the written test

If a candidate does not pass the test and wishes to retake it, he/she must wait a minimum period of six (6) months.

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