Become a Certified Court Interpreter in Rhode Island

​Thank you for your interest in becoming a certified court interpreter in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Judiciary (Judiciary) recruits highly skilled interpreters to provide effective, competent, and accurate communication to limited English proficient court users. Court interpreters play a critical role in ensuring that court users with limited English proficiency can fully participate in the judicial process. Each year the Judiciary provides language services to thousands of court users in over thirty (30) different languages. The Judiciary recruits credentialed interpreters to meet the language access needs of our community.

There are three (3) steps to become a certified court interpreter in Rhode Island.

Step 1: Pass a Recognized Court Interpreter Certification Examination

Prospective court interpreters must pass a recognized court interpreter certification examination to be eligible to interpreter in Rhode Island. The Judiciary recognizes the following standardized examinations: the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) exam (Spanish only); the Federal Court Interpreter Certification exam (Spanish only); or the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Consortium for State Court Interpreters’ full exam (NCSC Court Interpreter Certification Exam).

To provide credentialling opportunities for individuals interested in careers in interpreting, the Judiciary hosts the NCSC Court Interpreter Certification Exam twice a year. Candidates who take NCSC Court Interpreter Certification Exam must achieve a passing score on both the written examination and oral examination as set forth below to become eligible for certification:

NCSC Written Examination: The written examination consists of 135 multiple-choice questions designed to evaluate a candidate’s vocabulary in English, knowledge of court-related terms and usage, and ethics and professional conduct. Candidates are allowed two (2) hours and fifteen (15) minutes to complete the examination. Candidates must achieve a score of 80% on the written examination to be eligible to sit for the oral examination. Written examination scores are valid for a three-year period.

NCSC Oral Examination: Candidates who have ach​​ieved a passing score on the written examination are eligible to sit for the oral examination. The oral examination assesses proficiency in three (3) modes of interpreting: sight translation (English to non-English language and non-English to English language); consecutive interpretation; and simultaneous interpretation. Candidates must achieve a score of 70% or higher on each section of the examination, including 70% on both subsections of the sight translation.


Carry Over Scores: The Judiciary allows candidates who have sat for the full examination to retake only the section(s) of the examination that they previously failed. To be eligible to carry over passing scores, candidates must sit for the entire examination on the first full attempt. Carry over scores are valid for eighteen (18) months from the examination date. If a candidate has not successfully passed all portions of the oral examination within the eighteen (18) month period, the candidate must retake the entire examination.

Reciprocity Considerations for Carry Over Scores: Some states require a passing score on all three (3) portions of the oral examination in one-sitting and do not recognize carry over test scores. If you intend to seek reciprocity in another state, please check with the language access coordinator in the state in which you are seeking reciprocity to determine that state’s requirements.

Step 2: Complete a Training Session on Court Interpreting with the Rhode Island Judiciary

The Judiciary provides training opportunities to court interpreters and individuals interested in court interpreting to ensure adherence to the Judiciary’s policies and procedures. Individuals who have successfully passed a recognized court interpreter examination must complete a training session offered by the Judiciary. Training sessions include an overview of the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities for Court Interpreters and the Judiciary’s policies and procedures. For more information on the next court interpreting training opportunity contact the Access to Justice Office at AccesstoJustice@courts.ri.gov.

Step 3: Request to Register as a Certified or Qualified Court Interpreter

The Judiciary maintains a list of all certified and qualified interpreters permitted to provide interpreting services in courts in Rhode Island. Candidates interested in being included on the Rhode Island Judiciary Registry of Certified and Qualified Independent Court Interpreters must submit a written request to the Access to Justice Office at AccesstoJustice@courts.ri.gov. Submissions must include a copy of your test results (both written and oral), and a copy of your continued education training record for the past two (2) years.

All court interpreters must agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities for Court Interpreters and the Rhode Island Judiciary Handbook for Court Interpreters.


 Registering for the NCSC Court Interpreter Examination

​The Judiciary offers credentialing opportunities twice a year (spring and fall). Examination announcements can be found under the Quick Links section of this webpage. A completed registration form and payment in the form of a money order must be sent to the following address by the registration deadline:

Rhode Island Supreme Court
Access to Justice Office
222 Quaker Lane
​Warwick, Rhode Island 02886


Examination
Registration Deadline
Application Fee
Spring Written Examination
Fall Written Examination
March 1
September 1

​$150.00
$150.00
Spring Oral Examination
Fall Oral Examination
March 1
September 1
​$350.00
$350.00

 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accommodations

​The policy of the Judiciary is to administer the Court Interpreter Examination and all other services in accordance with the ADA. Reasonable test accommodations will be made on the Court Interpreter Examination for qualified applicants with disabilities. Candidates seeking an accommodation must contact the ADA Office at ADA@courts.ri.gov to receive the accommodation request form. Requests for accommodations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

 Reciprocity

​Interpreters possessing out-of-state interpreter certification may apply for reciprocity by submitting a request for reciprocity to the Access to Justice Office. The request must include:

  1. Cover letter stating the candidate’s desire to work as an interpreter in Rhode Island;

  2. Letter of good standing from state in which you provide interpreting services; and

  3. Proof of written and oral certification test results from any jurisdiction that is a member of the NCSC Council of Language Access Coordinators (CLAC) or from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC). Interpreters seeking reciprocity based on certification from the NCSC must have passed all sections of the NCSC Court Interpreter Examination, including scoring a 70% or higher on both portions of the ​sight translation section.

All court interpreters must agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities for Court Interpreters and the Rhode Island Judiciary Handbook for Court Interpreters.