New Certification Program will Improve Quality of Court Interpreting

The Hawai'i State Judiciary has scheduled a second cycle of workshops and written and oral exams to certify court interpreters. Anyone fluent in English and in another language who would like to become a certified court interpreter during the next examination period must apply by Dec. 14, 2007. Application forms may be obtained from the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 539-4860 or by emailing oeac@courts.state.hi.us.

Persons who can interpret in Chuukese, Marshallese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Tongan and Samoan are especially needed. Certified sign language interpreters are also encouraged to apply.

The Hawai'i State Judiciary is the first court system in the United States to test for court interpreter certification in the Ilokano language. In the upcoming testing cycle, the Judiciary will be the first court system in the nation to orally test court interpreters in the Chuukese and Marshallese languages. Hawai'i spearheaded the development of the two court interpreting oral exams, which will be administered free to those who are found eligible to take the exams in April 2008.

Court interpreters work on a freelance basis as independent contractors in criminal or certain civil cases when parties or witnesses are unable to hear, understand, speak or use English sufficiently. Depending on their performance on written and oral exams, court interpreters are paid between $25 to $55 per hour with a two-hour minimum.

The requirements for certification include full completion and acceptance of the certification program application form; successful completion of a two-day orientation workshop; achieving a passing score on a written English proficiency and court interpreter ethics exam; clearing a criminal background check; and achieving a passing score on an oral certification exam in a non-English language.

The court interpreter certification orientation workshops, and written and oral exams will be held on all major islands on the following days:

Orientation Workshops
O`ahu: 1/26-27, 2/2-3, 2/5-6
Maui: 1/28-29
Kaua`i: 1/22-23
Hilo: 1/31-2/1
Kona: 1/24-25

Written Exams
O`ahu: 3/10, 3/15, 3/16
Maui: 3/18
Kaua`i: 3/12
Hilo: 3/19
Kona: 3/13

Oral Exams
O`ahu: 4/25, 4/26, 4/28
Maui: 4/23
Kaua`i: 4/21
Hilo: 4/29
Kona: 4/22

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Contact: Marsha Kitagawa, 539-4909

For more information, contact the public affairs office at 808-539-4909 or via email at pao@courts.state.hi.us.

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