What makes a court certified interpreter?
Generally, passing an exam administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) or an equivalent as per an individual state’s law.
Certification status may help in assessing the credentials of an interpreter but it doesn’t guarantee quality interpretation. There are many interpreters who have been interpreting in legal settings for 20, 30 or 40+ years, who started before states developed certification and registration programs, that are trained and may be even more qualified than their certified counterparts. Often, they choose not to complete an expensive and lengthy certification process as they are already established in the industry, regardless of their certification status.
In those cases, it is advisable to assess an interpreter using their prior training and experience.
Please take a look below at two sample resumes of a court certified interpreter (A) and a non-certified interpreter (B).