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court interpreters

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Opportunities for Court Interpreters

The court system provides a number of different opportunities for court interpreters. Court interpreters may be employees of the Unified Court System or they may serve as per-diem independent contractors. The links below will provide you with information on the qualification process, which based on the particular language, may include a written, and an oral exam, or oral assessment. All interpreters must undergo a criminal history background investigation. For additional information, contact the Office of Language Access at: [email protected] or call 646.386.5670.

In New York State, court interpreters are employed in the following titles: Court Interpreter (Spanish), Court Interpreter (non-Spanish), Court Interpreter (Sign) and Senior Court Interpreter. Interpreters may work on a full, or part-time basis.

The title of Court Interpreter (Spanish) is a competitive class position primarily responsible for interpreting between English and Spanish in the courtroom and other court settings. Permanent appointment to this title is by way of competitive civil service examination comprised of a written and an oral exam.

Court Interpreter (non-Spanish) is a non-competitive class position and is filled on the basis of the applicant’s qualifications and experience, and the needs of the court.

Court Interpreter (Sign) is a non-competitive class position for which applicants qualify through listing on the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID), a nationally recognized credentialing agency that certifies an individual’s competency in American Sign Language. Per-Diem Sign Language interpreters are qualified in the same manner.

The title of Senior Court Interpreter is non-competitive. In addition to providing interpreting services, individuals holding this title supervise the interpreters in the courts, coordinating schedules, evaluating performance and resolving problems in the delivery of interpreting services.

The Principal Court Interpreter is the highest ranking Court Interpreter in a citywide court or Judicial District. They are responsible for prompt, accurate, and consistent, oral, written, and sign interpreting services. Principal Court Interpreters are also responsible for supervising, coordinating activities, and evaluating the performance of Senior Court Interpreters, Court Interpreters, and per-diem interpreters.

Per-diem interpreters are independent contractors, not court employees. The court system contracts with individuals on a per-diem basis, as needed, and pays a per-diem rate ($385 for a full day; $220 for a half day), to provide interpreting services when a court or judicial district does not have a staff interpreter available. To be eligible for assignment, all interpreters must qualify for inclusion in the court system’s Interpreter Registry. Candidates are required to pass a written, multiple choice English proficiency examination. Upon successful completion of the written exam, candidates may be assessed on their oral language skills. Please refer to the Candidate Guide to the Language Assessment Testing program for Court Interpreters.

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