Certified Court Interpreters
How do Certified Court Interpreters assist the Court?
Certified Court Interpreters assist the court by interpreting the court proceedings to non-English speaking individuals. This is done in a variety of ways:
- Simultaneous Interpreting - The interpreter is interpreting at the same time someone is speaking.
- Consecutive Interpreting - After a court participant speaks a sentence or phrase the court waits while the phrase is interpreted for all the participants.
- Sight Translation - This is when a document is interpreted and read from one language to another for a court participant.
- FAQs for Parties Needing Interpretation
- FAQs for Those Wanting to Become an Interpreter for the Court
FAQs for Participants Needing Interpretation
How do I request an interpreter?
You can request an interpreter by filling out an Interpreter Request Form and giving it to the Clerk's office on the third floor of the Courthouse in Room 323 or by visiting the Clerk's office before your first hearing. If you need assistance filling out the form, the Clerk's office will be able to assist. You can also call the Court Admin office at 509.574.2710.
Do I get to talk to the interpreter before court?
The purpose of the interpreter is to help you understand the communication between all parties involved and the judge. Because of the code of conduct that the interpreters work under, the interpreter is not allowed to give legal advice or instruction aside from translating the information given to you by a judge or attorney. In addition, the interpreter has a schedule to keep and will need to assist others, potentially in a different courtroom or building.
Will it always be the same interpreter?
We assign an interpreter to each of your hearings individually. It is very likely you will have a different interpreter each time. Most our interpreters are freelance the availability of our interpreters varies each day. The interpreter assigned to your hearing is based on this availability and could change from one hearing to the next.
Can I bring my own interpreter?
Interpreters must be a Washington State Certified Court interpreter for trials. Qualified Court Interpreters can be used if they are given permission by the judicial officer hearing your matter before the court. Qualified Court Interpreters are defined as a person who speaks English and their second language fluently. They must know legal terms in both languages, they understand the legal process, and they always stay neutral and impartial.
Please contact our Court Interpreter Coordinator at 509.574.2715 or by emailing her at Chela.Fisk@co.yakima.wa.us
FAQs for Those Wanting to Become an Interpreter for the Court
What is the demand for a Certified Court Interpreter?
The need for Court Certified Interpreters is significant! Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 24 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 10,400 openings for interpreters and translators are projected each year, on average, over the decade.1
Is being bilingual enough to become a Certified Court Interpreter?
Although it is an advantage it is not enough. Understanding legal terminology and the legal process can be difficult and the ability to read and write in both languages is required. Additionally, to become certified, you must pass a series of tests and go through trainings offered by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Is there a requirement for additional education in order to become a Certified Court Interpreter?
You can become a Certified Court Interpreter with self-study, however, it can be very difficult. Additional education is a great way to get the training you need and a great environment to ask questions during the process. It is also a good way to fast track your progress to becoming a Certified Court Interpreter and can also a significantly boost your ability. The State of Washington does not offer courses at this time. There may be courses offered in a different state, but you should check with the Administrative Office of the Courts before entering a program. Please check with the Administrative Office of the Courts Interpretation Commission before entering a program.
How do I Become a Certified Court Interpreter?
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Interpreters and Translators, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm (visited January 16, 2022).
Court Interpreter Coordinator
Yakima County Superior Court
128 N 2nd St
Yakima WA 98901
Administrative Office of the Courts:
415 12th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501-2314
PO Box 40929
Olympia, WA 98504-0929
Richard H. Bartheld
Superior Court Presiding Judge
Yakima County Superior Court Director
128 N 2nd Street
Yakima, WA 98901
Hours of Operation (Closed Holidays)
Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Daily; 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the Court’s information, Yakima County Superior Court cannot ensure up to the minute web page updates. The data and links are provided for informational purposes only and may not have been updated on the date you view it. The Courts assume no liability for any legal consequences arising out of any information on these pages.