Court interpreters are a vital tool in fulfilling the Judiciary's obligation to guarantee the rights of persons with limited English proficiency and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
"Due process is a core value of the American judicial system, ensuring that every litigant and criminal defendant receives a fair hearing that is based on the merits of his or her case and presided over by an impartial judge. No one should be put at a disadvantage in court by reason of race, ethnicity, or gender. The basic fairness of the Pennsylvania court system is jeopardized if litigants with limited English proficiency (LEP) are unable to have access to competent interpreters and other language assistance."
- Final Report of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, March 2003
To request an interpreter, contact the Language Access Coordinator for your judicial district.
The Interpreter Certification Program was established to provide trained and qualified interpreters for the courts of Pennsylvania. A statewide roster of qualified and certified interpreters helps each judicial district implement effective interpreter services. The program works with judges, administrators and the legal community to promote awareness of interpreter issues including training, testing, skills and the role of interpreters. For an overview of the need, requirements and qualifications, download the Become an Interpreter brochure. To learn more about the necessary qualifications to become a court interpreter, take the Self-Assessment Quiz, and read about the required Knowledge and Skills court interpreters must have. If you would like to become an interpreter, register for the Interpreter Certification Program.
This Judicial Bench Card for Working with Interpreters: Quick Reference Guide was created pursuant to the Language Access Plan for the UJS. Please use it as a resource for the full range of questions that may arise in working with limited English proficient court users. When printed out, the card should be produced as a fold-over document, with the larger font material on the outside of the card, and the more detailed information in smaller font on the inside of the card. For general language access questions, feel free to contact Mary Vilter, firstname.lastname@example.org. For interpreter-specific questions, contact the Interpreter Certification Program, InterpreterProgram@pacourts.us. Both are reachable at 215-560-6300.