The Term "certified" Is Often Used As A Catch-all Phrase To Refer To Any Interpreter Who Works In A Courtroom, but Standards Are Far From Uniform, and Court Interpreting Is Still Partly An Unregulated Profession. State And Federal Courts Have Different Qualification Procedures And Different Performance Standards.
Properly Speaking, a Certified Interpreter Is One Who Was Passed An Examination Mandated By Legislation To Assess Interpreter Competency For Court Proceedings.
On The Federal Level, the Court Interpreters Act Of 1978 Mandated That A National Certification Examination Be Developed To Test For Knowledge Of Both Languages And Interpreting Skill, administered Through The Administrative Office Of The U.S. Courts. The Federal Interpreter Testing Program Was Developed In 1980 And Over The Past 19 Years, out Of A Nationwide Pool Of 18, 350 Candidates, 750 Have Been Certified As Spanish Interpreters. At Present, the Only Other Languages Tested Are Haitian Creole And Navajo. Interpreters Of All Other Languages Are Qualified Differently In Each District, due To The Fact That There Is No Nationally Recognized Court Interpreter Test In Most Languages.
Currently The States Have Several Different Kinds Of Interpreter Testing, but Not All Tests Are Recognized By Law As Certification Tests. In New York State, interpreters Who Work Full Time Or Per Diem Are Tested And Approved By The State, but The State Does Not Certify Interpreters. New York State Currently Tests In 12 Language Combinations. New Jersey Also Has A Program For Qualifying Interpreters, but It Is Not A Certification Exam.
Other States, such As California And Washington State, do Have Interpreter Certification Exams In Many Languages.
Sign Language Interpreters Are Tested Through Their Professional Association, the Registry Of Interpreters For The Deaf.