Exams Process & Content


Multiple-choice Examination

You must take the computer-based multiple-choice English Language Proficiency and/or English-Spanish Proficiency examination at a statewide test center. Once you complete the examination, you will be notified of your results via email within 24-hours after the examination.

Candidates who do not pass the multiple-choice exam must wait six months to re-apply to take the examination.

Oral Examination

If you pass the multiple-choice exam, you will receive instructions to schedule your oral examination. If an oral examination is not available for the language you applied for, you will receive instructions on how to submit professional references to verify your proficiency in that language. If you do not pass the oral examination, you must wait one-year to retake the examination.



Multiple-choice Examination

Languages other than Spanish: Candidates who wish to become Per Diem Court Interpreters in Languages other than Spanish (LOTS) must take the multiple-choice Test of English Language Proficiency and Legal Terminology. This examination assesses applicants’ English language proficiency and knowledge of basic legal terminology. Sample Exam

Spanish: Candidates who wish to become Per Diem Spanish Court Interpreters must take the multiple-choice Test of English-Spanish Language Proficiency and Legal Terminology. This examination assesses applicants’ English and Spanish language proficiency and knowledge of legal terminology. Sample Exam

Oral Examination

The oral examination assesses applicants’ ability to interpret in various modes, i.e., sight, consecutive, and simultaneous. The oral examination is approximately one hour in duration and consists of the following six (6) sections*:

I English Sight Translation

II Foreign Language Sight Translation

III Consecutive Question and Answer (English and Foreign Language)

IV One-Voice Simultaneous (English)

V One-Voice Simultaneous (Foreign Language)

VI Two-Voice Simultaneous (English)

* Abbreviated Exams: The oral examinations in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Punjabi, Urdu and Wolof include sections I, II, IV and VI only at this time. When these sections are developed applicants will be required to complete these portions successfully in order to remain eligible for court interpreting assignments throughout the New York State Unified Court System.

For Sections I and II of this exam, applicants are required to orally interpret court-related documents that are given to the applicant at the time of the exam. Sections III through VI are a video-recording with one or two people speaking in a simulated courtroom situation.

Applicants are instructed before each section as to the mode of interpreting required, that is, whether they are to do consecutive or simultaneous interpreting. Applicants are required to orally interpret all material spoken in English (source language) into the Language Other Than English (LOTE) and everything spoken in the LOTE into English. All applicant responses are recorded on digital audio equipment. Applicants are asked to speak clearly into a microphone in a normal tone of voice. Once the exam has started, it cannot be stopped. Applicants are encouraged to continue even if they miss some words. A few errors will not keep them from obtaining a passing score. Applicant performance is evaluated for accuracy, completeness and fluency of the interpretations by bilingual experts.

To view a practice video of the oral language exam, go to sight translations (Part I and II) and to the consecutive and simultaneous interpreting sections (Parts III to VI). Although this video is for the Spanish language only, the format is similar for exams in other languages.

Currently, the oral examinations are available for the following languages only: Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Bengali, Cantonese, French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Wolof.

If an oral examination is not available in the language a candidate applied for, candidates will receive instructions to submit their professional references to verify their proficiency in that language and their interpreting skills.