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Career Definition of a Court Interpreter
Citizens or immigrants who are incapable of or reluctant to converse in English in a court of law require the help of a court interpreter to convey the nature and meaning of all conversational aspects between those in the courtroom. Not only is an expert knowledge of both English and a foreign language required for court interpreters, but so is the ability to communicate and understand legal terminology at meetings, preliminary hearings, depositions, trials and verdicts. Occasionally, court reporting demands that written documents be translated and read aloud in both languages.
|Educational and Licensing Requirements||Bachelor's degree recommended, certification through self-testing could be an advantage|
|Job Skills||Fluency in multiple languages, a professional and personable attitude, and excellent communication skills|
|Median Salary (2017)||$47,190 (all interpreters and translators)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||18% (all interpreters and translators)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The number one requirement for becoming a court interpreter is being fluent in multiple languages in order to converse among the client, the judge, the attorneys and all other parties involved in the courtroom. This can be achieved through coursework that focuses in law, English and a foreign language. Most court interpreters receive a bachelor degree at either a college or university in the language the court interpreter plans on working with. While certification isn't a necessity, testing oneself through the various examinations that are available can be beneficial for employment in court interpreting.
A solid grasp of the languages the court interpreter is fluent in is a must have, which includes technical concepts, vocabulary, modern usage and vernacular of the language. Maintaining a confident attitude and a personable demeanor while keeping an alertness of target audiences helps court interpreters communicate easier with the different groups involved.
Career and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary reported for all interpreters and translators was $47,190 in May 2017. The field of court interpreting is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate at 18% from 2016-2026, due to an increase in the immigrant population migrating to the United States. Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles and other large urban areas may provide the best employment possibilities for court interpreters due to concentrations of non-English speaking immigrants in these locations.
Alternate Career Options
Similar career options in this field include:
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