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State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
Court Interpreter and Translator Services

Interpreter and Translator Services is a unit of the Superior Court Operations Division. It was established to serve the Judicial Branch in court-related proceedings at no cost to the parties. One of the goals of the unit is to ensure meaningful access to the courts by providing qualified interpreting and translation services to persons with limited English proficiency and to court staff in all court and court-related proceedings.

 

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The Connecticut Judicial Branch Interpreter and Translator Services is particularly interested in persons with strong language skills in English and in any of the following languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Albanian, Cantonese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Russian, and Vietnamese; but it will continue to offer qualifying examinations to interpreter candidates for all languages (through steps 4 or 5 below). If and when the Connecticut Judicial Branch Interpreter and Translator Services is able to offer employment, it may allow applicants who have successfully completed the initial qualifying steps to continue through the remaining steps.

Role and Qualification of Court Interpreters in Connecticut

Court interpreters serve the Connecticut Superior Court by helping to provide due process for persons with limited English proficiency. Court interpreters must not only be bilingual and bicultural; they must be educated speakers of English and another language, and be able to interpret all levels of discourse in court proceedings. Furthermore, a court interpreter must be familiar with court procedures and protocols, and maintain the high ethical standards required by The Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters of the State of Connecticut, including a commitment to lifelong learning. Certified court interpreters are highly skilled professionals who are able to perform at a very high level in the three modes of interpreting (simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation, and sight translation).

The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch joined the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Consortium for Language Access in the Courts in 2001. The Consortium Program is comprised of 41 member states. The Consortium dedicates itself to fairness, integrity, service and collaboration by inspiring and enabling its members “to promote equal access to justice in courts and tribunals by eliminating language barriers for persons with limited English proficiency.” One benefit of membership, among many, is having access to proficiency examinations for certification purposes.

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How to Qualify to become a Court-Appointed Interpreter

The Connecticut Judicial Branch Interpreter and Translator Services is particularly interested in persons with strong language skills in English and in any of the following languages: Portuguese, Albanian, Cantonese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Russian, and Vietnamese; but it will continue to offer qualifying examinations to interpreter candidates for all languages (through steps 4 or 5 below). If and when the Connecticut Judicial Branch Interpreter and Translator Services is able to offer employment, it may allow applicants who have successfully completed qualifying steps 1-5 to continue through qualifying steps 6-10.

To qualify to work as court-appointed interpreter directly for the Connecticut Judicial Branch in any language(s), a candidate must:

  1. Have a superior command of English and another language(s), and demonstrate this fluency on the exams described below.
     
  2. Have access to a car and be willing to travel within Connecticut as needed to provide interpreting services, according to court needs.
     
  3. Send the following four prerequisite items to Interpreter.Employment@jud.ct.gov:
  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter stating the candidate’s desire to participate in the qualifying process in order to work as an interpreter for the Connecticut Judicial Branch
  3. Contact information sheet (see “Resources for New Candidates”) including:
  4. Date the candidate wishes to take the Written Examination:
     
    Upcoming Written Exam Dates Final Date to Register
    July 17, 2014 July 10, 2014
    October 9, 2014 October 2, 2014
    January 15, 2015 January 2, 2015
    April 15, 2015 April 1, 2015
    July 15, 2015 July 1, 2015
    October 15, 2015 October 1, 2015
  1. Register for and pass a Written Examination in English.

    For preparatory information, see “Resources for New Candidates”. A candidate must provide all four prerequisite items above before he/she can register for the Written Examination, and must pass the exam with at least an 80%. (Spanish-language candidates must also pass a Translation Component from English into Spanish with at least a 70%.) The Written Examination is provided by the National Center for State Courts (Consortium), and tests general and court-related vocabulary. Candidates will be notified of their results within 3 weeks. Candidates who ask to have their written exam rescheduled three times, or who twice do not appear on exam dates they have requested, will be disqualified from the qualifying process.

  2. Pass an Oral Screening/Qualifying Examination from English into another language.

    This examination is not provided by the National Center for State Courts (Consortium). Candidates eligible to take the oral screening will be automatically contacted within 3 weeks after having passed the Written Examination, and will be notified of their oral screening examination results within 3 weeks.
     

  3. Pass a criminal background check and be offered employment by the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
     
  4. Fill out employment paperwork.
     
  5. Attend and successfully complete:
  1. 2-day In-house CT Judicial Interpreter Orientation Program in Hartford, CT
  2. Mentoring Program (available for eligible candidates; usually lasts 4-6 weeks; may be abbreviated for certified or experienced candidates) and/or Two-Day Orientation Program (if and when offered; no Two-Day Orientation Program is currently scheduled);
  1. Take and pass a Consortium Ethics Examination and agree to adhere to The Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters of the State of Connecticut.
     
  2. Be sworn in by a judge.

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How to Become a Certified Court Interpreter

To become a certified court interpreter in Connecticut, a candidate must pass an oral, entry-level certification examination administered by the Connecticut Judicial Branch or other accepted entity. The Connecticut Judicial Branch currently administers oral certification exams provided by the National Center for State Courts (Consortium) for the following languages: Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. (The Connecticut Judicial Branch may administer oral certification exams in other languages in the future, based on its needs and the availability of eligible candidates in those languages.)

The Consortium Oral Examination typically consists of four sections:

  1. Sight translation of an English document into the other language
  2. Sight translation of a document in the other language into English.
  3. Consecutive interpretation, English into other language, and other language into English.
  4. Simultaneous interpretation from English into the other language.

To pass the Certification examination, a candidate must have a minimum total average test score of 70% on each of the four individual test sections. The exam must be passed in its entirety in one sitting.

Reciprocity / Other Accepted Credentials
Any candidate who provides proof of Written and Oral Certification test results from any jurisdiction that is a member of the  National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Consortium for Language Access in the CourtsExternal Link - You are leaving the Connecticut Judicial Branch website will be awarded reciprocity and his or her test results will be applied toward full certification by the Connecticut Judicial Branch if Interpreter and Translator Services determines that the test results were obtained under conditions which meet or exceed interpreter testing and certification practices of the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch.

Any interpreter candidate who obtains written and oral certification from the Administrative Office of the United States CourtsExternal Link - You are leaving the Connecticut Judicial Branch website (AOUSC) will be considered certified by the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch.

Any candidate who is awarded reciprocity or recognition of test results from another jurisdiction is required to follow the steps outlined in How to Qualify to become a Court-Appointed Interpreter, with the exception of taking the Written Examination and Oral Screening/Qualifying Examination, in order to qualify to work as an interpreter for the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch.

Positive certification status with the Judicial Branch is not a guarantee of employment.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can I judge whether I am likely to pass exams to become a court interpreter?
Please see the National Center for State Courts’ research report, Court Interpreting Qualifications.PDFExternal Link - You are leaving the Connecticut Judicial Branch website

2. What happens if I fail an interpreting examination administered by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch?
The answer depends on the type of interpreting examination involved. You may take each version of an examination a maximum of two times. We urge you to develop your language skills, legal vocabulary, and interpreting skills between tests (see Resources section). 

If you fail this ... then:
The Consortium Written English Examination, or the Spanish Translation component of the Written Examination You may re-take it after six months or more have passed.
The Oral Screening/Qualifying Examination from English into another language You may re-take it after six months or more have passed.
The Consortium Ethics Examination You may re-take it after you have studied Ethics resources, and whenever you feel ready to do so.
The Consortium Oral Examination You may re-take it after 10 months or more have passed.


3. What do the interpreter exams cost?
Currently, the Written Exam, the Oral Exams, the Mentoring Program, and the Orientation Programs (when available) are offered by the Connecticut Judicial Branch to eligible candidates at no cost.

4. What does an interpreter working for the Connecticut Judicial Branch earn?

Hourly Positions As of October 17, 2013, pay begins at $16.73/hour, with a four-hour minimum. Some mileage is paid. Medical benefits may be available after six months, depending on the need for interpreting services in a given language, and on the hours an interpreter has worked.
Permanent Positions
(when available)

As of June 18, 2010, in accordance with collective-bargaining agreements, pay begins at:

  1. $22.29/hour, plus benefits, for not-yet-certified interpreters
  2. $24.57/hour, plus benefits, for certified interpreters  

Some mileage is paid. Medical benefits are available within two months of start date.

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Resources

Resources for New Candidates for Written Examination

Resources for Spanish-language Candidates

Resources Related to Ethics

Resources for Candidates Seeking Full Certification

General List of Interpreting Resources

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Contact Us - For more information about interpreting for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, send your questions to:

e-mail Interpreter.Employment@jud.ct.gov (preferred)
mail Connecticut Judicial Branch, Interpreter & Translator Services
90 Washington Street, Hartford, CT   06106
Attention: Interpreter Employment
fax (860) 706-5088
Attention: Interpreter Employment

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