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Do I need to sit an exam to become a court interpreter? Is there specific training that I can follow?

I suppose the requirements vary from country to country. What is the situation in your particular country?

asked 11 Nov '11, 12:51

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

edited 11 Nov '11, 13:15

Court interpreting being organised along national lines, you're better off stating upfront which country you're interested in, or edit the question to invite answers from many different countries.

(11 Nov '11, 12:56) Vincent Buck

I can try to answer for Germany. In Germany the requirements vary depending on the federal states (Bundesländer).

  • Most Landgerichte (Regional Courts) don't require an exam
  • You can only work for the Court of the Federal State where you are based

At the Regional Court of Nordrhein-Westfalen you are sworn in and accredited on the basis of your dossier:

  • Diploma (MA/BA) from a University, Polytechnic (Fachhochschule) or the interpreter exam of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of your federal state (IHK) OR professional experience
  • Level of German required: level C2 (CEFR)
  • You have to provide proof that you have good knowledge of the German legal language
  • Many court interpreters have passed the test at the IHK . The general higher education entrance qualification (allgemeine Hochschulreife) is not a prerequisite for the test.
  • You can only pass the test for interpreting if first you have passed the translation exam
  • Interpreter training for the IHK tests is mainly provided by private schools
  • Some, but still very few Universities (FH Magdeburg) provide specific training for court interpreters

Other requirements include:

  • A Police Clearance Certificate (polizeiliches Führungszeugnis)

  • You have to sign a document committing yourself to being always available and at very short notice (!)

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answered 13 Nov '11, 09:03

Angela's gravatar image


I will answer for Argentina.

Sworn translators are professional university graduates qualified to translate any document written in a foreign language to be submitted to governmental agencies, institutions or offices.

Sworn translators, in their capacity as judicial experts, are required to act as court interpreters responsible for the oral translation — interpretation — of a source language into a target language in oral trials, for example, which, in the Argentine Civil Law system, is a practice introduced only for criminal proceedings.

On the one hand, sworn translators are the only professionals authorized to act as court interpreters. But, on the other, they have not been trained as interpreters; so to acquire the skills necessary to act as interpreters (note taking, sight translation, memory span improvement) for the courts they attend courses offered by the Colegio de Traductores or other private undertakings.

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answered 13 Nov '11, 18:57

Vero's gravatar image


There is one new online programme at Glendon’s School of Translation.

See this blog post:

"This program, called Master’s in Conference Interpreting (MCI), is a two-year program, but students who do not wish to pursue conference interpreting can complete one year of studies and earn a graduate certificate in general interpreting. Year one of the MCI will be offered completely on line through an array of e-learning tools.This program, housed in Glendon’s School of Translation, is the first on-line degree program in interpreting in the Americas and provides an excellent opportunity to students in the US as well as Canada.

The program will start this fall, and Glendon will begin accepting on-line applications for admission in early May. It will run with English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin as working languages. A new video has just been released to promote the program."

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answered 02 May '12, 06:29

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

Portugal: to this day, so-called sworn translations and sworn interpretations are produced by individuals sworn-in on an ad-hoc basis and for each specific occasion, no previous accreditation/certification existing... and what passes for "official translations" are any translations accompanied by a statement, wherein their alleged authors state they are faithful renditions of the original, duly signed and said signature authenticated by a notary-public - or lawyer, registrar's office or chamber of commerce, these days.

The legal ability to "make and/or certify" translations was recently enlarged to solicitors, barristers, civil registrars (and their staff) and chambers of commerce (this one being the cherry on the cake,a competence which is necessarily individual was thus "granted" to collective entities, presumably all the way from the doorman to the chairman!...) ... w/o proof of translation or mere language competence required...and presumably to make up for this, notaries were given the implicit competence to certify the exactitude (!!) of translations!

With obvious EU relevance - because of the requirement to ensure that "Interpretation and/or Tanslation provided (...) shall be of a quality sufficient to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings", see also hereunder art. 5 - is the EU directive approved in late 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings

also thanks to EULITA - of which aiic is an associate member and so is SNATTI, a local PT entity I used to chair and which helped produce draft legislation years ago which was never acted upon and which we hope will now be ressurected, in the context of transposing the directive; EU member states have 3 years to do so, and EULITA is helping through a series of workshops organised under the TRAFUT project, 2 yet to take place, Helsinki in June and Antwerp in October: I attended the one in Madrid and can vouch for their relevance :-).

  • Article 5 Quality of the interpretation and translation
  • Member States shall take concrete measures to ensure that the interpretation and translation provided meets the quality required under Article 2(8) and Article 3(9).
  • In order to promote the adequacy of interpretation and translation and efficient access thereto, Member States shall endeavour to establish a register or registers of independent translators and interpreters who are appropriately qualified. Once established, such register or registers shall, where appropriate, be made available to legal counsel and relevant authorities.
  • Member States shall ensure that interpreters and translators be required to observe confidentiality regarding interpretation and translation provided under this Directive.
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answered 02 May '12, 10:42

msr's gravatar image


edited 06 May '12, 11:19

United States

El mercado de la interpretación judicial es importante en Estados Unidos.

Aquí encontrarás algunas entrevistas a Tony Rosado, intérprete de conferencias e intérprete judicial en Estados Unidos. Gracias a Clara Guelbenzu.

Blog Bootheando: El fascinante reto de la interpretacion - entrevistas con Tony Rosado

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answered 15 Nov '13, 03:25

Angela's gravatar image


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question asked: 11 Nov '11, 12:51

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