You can’t work as a court interpreter without formal education. If you’re in a predominantly English-speaking country, you must be able to help individuals who don’t speak any English at all to be able to communicate inside the courtroom. This requires you to be fluent in different foreign languages. If you reside in the US, you must have a good understanding of its laws. Understanding the relevant international legal systems is also mandatory. This shows the importance of formal education to your success while working as an interpreter.
So, what five steps must you go through to work as a court interpreter?
Get a high school diploma
First, you need to have a high school diploma as a minimum requirement. No one will employ you without this diploma. Study English and other foreign languages in high school. While in high school, work hard to improve your reading comprehension as well as communication skills. Languages might appear boring, but will prove beneficial later in your life as you aspire to work in the courtroom as a legal interpreter. Studying foreign languages makes you a highly sought after professional interpreter.
Get a Bachelor’s degree
Second, study and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States has discovered that most people who work as court interpreters hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Enroll in bachelor’s degree such as translation studies to improve your chances of finding employment as a court interpreter. Translation studies allow you to give all your attention to studying one foreign language, such as German, Spanish or French. If you can speak more than one language, your chances of being in high demand will improve substantially.
Study a relevant certificate program
Completing the relevant certificate program cannot harm your chances. If anything, it only improves your chances significantly. The certificate program is different from a bachelor’s degree or fluency in one or more foreign languages. The certificate programs give you a deeper understanding of the United States law, as well as the judicial system it operates under. You can go to university to study the certificate program. Alternatively, you can explore the following certificate programs with professional organizations or community colleges:
- Simultaneous translating skills
- Court procedures
- Court interpreting
- Penal Code
Work for a translation company
The next stage is to find work as an interpreter or translator. Many employers will only consider hiring you if you fulfill certain conditions. For example, they want to see your bachelor’s degree. They want to know that you have offered your services as an interpreter for 3-5 years. Therefore, set your career on the path to success by working with a translation company at first. It’s great to complete your internship or volunteer to work as an interpreter for any community organization of your choice. The goal is to get the right experience.
Work as a court interpreter
Lastly, find a job as a court interpreter. The local government agencies would be an excellent place to look for work. Consider becoming certified as an interpreter or a court translator with organizations such as the Translators and Interpreters Guild or the American Translators Association. The pay is good and the job outlook great in the United States. Don’t rest on your laurels after finding work but continuing to work hard to improve your skills and increase your competency levels.