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Court Interpreter Information

Interpreter Information

Language Access Services (LAS) is dedicated to serving the court and community by providing language assistance to persons with limited English proficiency or those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The Superior Court of California, County of Orange is committed to Justice. Providing language access to Justice is the role of the court interpreter, whose duty it is to act as a medium between the court and anyone who needs language assistance.

The Court is staffed with over 65 interpreters at 7 justice centers who together with interpreters from neighboring courts and contract interpreters provide access to justice in over 50 languages.

Learn more about California’s Court Interpreter Program (CIP) and how to become an interpreter by visiting: Court Interpreters Programs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Click on a FAQ to read our answer.

State law (EC § 756) has specified an order of priority for providing interpreters to civil litigants. This Court has determined to provide an interpreter in at least the top 6 of 8 priorities as specified by law. We ask that you submit a request for interpreter services and allow us to make an effort to provide you with language assistance, as the Court may be able to share interpreters across case types or reschedule a matter to a date when an interpreter in your language may be available. If an interpreter cannot be provided by the Court, you may request an extension to bring in your own certified, registered, or qualified interpreter. To search for an interpreter in the State Judicial Branch online directory, visit Court Interpreter Program webpage .

A court interpreter is anyone who interprets in a court proceeding (e.g., arraignment, motion, pretrial conference, preliminary hearing, deposition, trial) for a witness or defendant who speaks or understands little or no English. Court interpreters must accurately interpret for individuals with a high level of education and an expansive vocabulary, as well as persons with very limited language skills without changing the language register of the speaker. Interpreters are also sometimes responsible for translating written documents, often of a legal nature, from English into the target language and from the target language into English.

The goal of the Court is to provide free language access services to any participant in a case who does not speak, read or understand English well. Court proceedings are conducted in English. If you do not speak English well, you may need an interpreter to speak to the judge, and to understand what others are saying. For more information on how to request a free interpreter, please click here for the Court’s Language Access page.

Yes. Court interpreting is a very demanding job that requires complete fluency in both English and the foreign language.
The level of expertise required for this profession is far greater than that required for everyday bilingual conversation. The interpreter must be able to handle the widest range of language terms that might be presented in the courts, everything from specialized legal and technical terminology to street slang. Most people do not have full command of all registers of both English and the foreign language and, therefore, require special training to acquire it.
Although there are no minimum requirements that must be met in order to apply to take the state certification test, applicants are encouraged to complete formal, college-level course work and training in both languages and modes of interpreting before applying for the examination. At present there are colleges and universities throughout the State of California that offer introductory courses and certificate programs in interpretation or translation.
However, most of these are for English/Spanish. We encourage you to contact the schools and request information about their programs. For the other languages, the following self-study techniques are suggested: (1) expand your vocabulary, (2) develop your own glossaries, and (3) develop interpreting techniques. Suggested skills-enhancing exercises are available to help you develop three interpreting techniques: (1) consecutive interpretation, (2) simultaneous interpretation, and (3) sight translation.

Learn more about California’s Court Interpreter Program (CIP) and how to become an interpreter.  Direct further questions to the toll-free number 866-310-0689 or send an e-mail to

Only interpreters who pass the Court Interpreter Certification Examination and fulfill the corresponding Judicial Council requirements are referred to as certified interpreters.
Currently, there are Court Interpreter Certification Examinations for 14 designated languages: Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Interpreters of spoken languages for which there is no state certifying examination are required to pass the English Fluency Examination and fulfill the corresponding Judicial Council requirements in order to become registered interpreters of a non-designated language.

There is a great demand in Orange County for certified and registered court interpreters. Many certified and registered court interpreters work as permanent employees while others work as freelance contract interpreters, hired by the day or the half day by the courts.

A contract interpreter must be willing to travel from one trial court to another, and often from one county to another, to be assured of full-time work. Currently, contract court interpreters are paid $350 a day and $175 for half day.
You can read more about the salary, benefits, and duties of a Superior Court of Orange county staff interpreter on the Employment section of this website .

Under California Evidence Code §754(f) a qualified sign language interpreter is an interpreter who has been certified as competent to interpret court proceedings by an organization approved by the Judicial Council. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. is currently the only organization authorized by the Judicial Council to certify court interpreters for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

A translator reads and writes documents.
Contact the American Translators Association at 703-683-6100 or visit its Web site at .

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