Portland, OR, Court Interpreter Certification with Program Summaries

Oct 08, 2018

Research court interpreter certification programs in the Portland, OR, area, which currently has one government department offering options within about 45 miles of downtown. Read an overview of the eligibility and program requirements to decide whether it's right for you.

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Court Interpreter Schools in Portland, OR

Portland-area students interested in earning court reporter certification have limited options. Get information on the training and exam requirements, and check out additional stats from the table that follows. A few details about another school option in the area is provided as well.

  • The Oregon Judicial Department in Salem, OR, offers certification programs for individuals who want to earn language court interpreter certification or American Sign Language (ASL) court interpreter certification. The institution is roughly 46 miles from central Portland.

Program Statistics

Now that you know what it takes to get certified as a court interpreter, take a look at this table to learn more about program and exam costs.

Court Interpreter Services of Oregon Judicial Department
School Type Government Department
Costs (2017) $590 for Oregon residents and $1,245 for non-Oregon residents for Oregon Certified Court Interpreter certification; $100 for the ethics exam and orientation (Oregon residents only) for ASL Oregon Certified Court Interpreter certification*

Source: Judicial Department of Oregon Courts

Oregon Judicial Department

The court interpreter certification program is run by Court Language Access Services (CLAS). The program prepares court interpreters for certification so they can assist individuals who are hearing-impaired or who speak little English.

Oregon Certified Court Interpreter Certification

To become a certified court interpreter in Oregon, applicants must speak English and at least one other language. Interpreters can certify in the following languages: Arabic, Russian, Bosnian Serbian Croatian, Korean, French, Ilocano, Cantonese, Tagalog, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Hmong, Laotian, Khmer, Portuguese, Polish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Turkish. They must be educated (college-level) speakers of English and the language(s) that they will be interpreting. The interpreter needs the ability to interpret court proceedings at all levels of speech or conversation. Knowledge of court protocols and procedures is essential for anyone who wants to be a court interpreter.

Requirements to become certified as a language court interpreter include passing a criminal background check as well as ethics, written language proficiency and oral exams. The oral exam, which tests applicants on simultaneous, consecutive and sight interpretation, can be taken three times within three years of passing the written exams. Applicants must attend an Oregon court interpreter orientation workshop, a protocol and ethics orientation session and the interpreter's oath administration gathering.

Applicants also must spend at least 20 hours observing hearings in courts of record in Oregon or consortium member states. Alternatively, interpreters can observe in courts of record for the federal government or in a court that swears in an interpreter so that the record can be used as evidence. The observation experience must take place in the 12 months prior to a candidate applying for certification. Certified court interpreter certification must be renewed every three years, and interpreters must take 25 CEUS of continuing education courses and complete 120 hours of interpreting services to qualify.

American Sign Language Oregon Certified Court Interpreter

To become an ASL Oregon Certified Court Interpreter, one must have college-level English knowledge and be proficient in ASL. Interpreters must be able to interpret all discussions, regardless of level, that take place while court is in session. They also must have an understanding of court protocols and procedures.

To be an ASL court interpreter, one should ideally hold a Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L) credential, which is awarded by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). The minimum credential accepted is the RID generalist certification, coupled with experience. Other requirements include submitting proof of being an Oregon resident and completing 20 hours of interpreting or observing in courts of record. The candidate also must submit an application, go to an ethics orientation meeting and take the oath for interpreters. This credential must be renewed every three years.

Other School Option

Prospective court interpreters might opt to enroll in the sign language interpretation program at Portland Community College, located approximately eight miles from downtown Portland.

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