Interpreter Certification Program

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

Become an Interpreter

The Interpreter Certification Program was established to provide trained and qualified spoken language and sign language interpreters for the courts of Pennsylvania. A statewide roster of qualified and certified spoken language and sign language 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 and a step by step guide on how to become an interpreter, see the information below. 


Why become an interpreter?

Court Interpreters find their work satisfying for many reasons:

- Commitment to justice

- Love of languages

- Intellectual challenge

- Making a difference

- Public service contribution

- Career or supplemental income

Am I qualified to interpret?

- Interpreters must have the following:

- A native-like ability to speak and understand both English and another language. You must also know how to read and write in both.

- An ability to interpret everything in court without adding, deleting or changing anything

- An ability to do three modes of interpretation: simultaneous, consecutive and sight

- Ample vocabulary and word knowledge in a variety of fields and subjects - especially legal vocabulary

- Knowledge of courtroom protocol and a basic understanding of the judicial system

- Take the Self Assessment Quiz

- Read about the required Knowledge and Skills 

What are certification requirements?

Program registration 

Orientation workshop

Written examination

Oral-proficiency examination

- Pass a background check

- Abide by the Rules of Conduct for judiciary interpreters

- Renew qualifications every two years

- Be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident 


Request an Interpreter

To request an interpreter, contact the Language Access Coordinator for your judicial district.