Court Interpreter

Help non-English-speaking suspects and witnesses follow court proceedings.

What does a Court Interpreter do?

Going to court is scary enough. Now imagine if a person can’t speak the language of the court. She definitely needs the services of a court interpreter who translates for someone who doesn’t speak the language but is accused of a crime, serves as a witness, or deals with the court system in some other way.

It goes without saying that, as a court interpreter, you need to be fluent in English and another language. You have to know more than just the basic stuff, though. You should be able to speak court and legal jargon, as well as slang. That’s because it’s your job to translate exactly what anyone in the courtroom says, be it the judge, the lawyer, or the defendant. Exact wording is very important in legal cases, especially when it comes to translating a person’s recounting of events or an alibi.

You don’t just work in the court, though. Your services might also be used in an attorney-client meeting or a deposition. There are a few methods of doing your job. For example, you might translate while a person speaks, which is known as simultaneous translation, or wait until he is done talking, which is consecutive translation. Additionally, you can do sight translation, which means reading something and translating it aloud in a different language. Most court interpreters tend to specialize in one type of translation since each requires a different skill set.

Many in this field work on a freelance basis, and for the most part, this job doesn’t have set hours. During a case, you might find yourself working non-stop. And then as soon as the case ends, the workload is gone and you have nothing to do until your next case.