Become an Interpreter

New Candidates: view the videos below to get information about possible questions you might have. If you are ready to start testing to be a court interpreter, see the videos on: What to expect on Test Day
New Candidates

Overview of a Career in Court Interpreting (2:51)

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Getting Started in Court Interpreting (2:17)

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What’s new in Court Interpreter Testing

As of January 1, 2018, all written exams that were previously taken before this date and all written exams taken after this date, are valid for four years.

For example, if you passed the California court interpreter written exam on January 1, 2014, it will be valid until January 1, 2018.  If you take the exam on January 1, 2018 it will be valid until January 1, 2022.

The current written exam for both certified and registered candidates is an English-only exam of 135 multiple-choice questions. The Candidate Information Bulletin for the written exam has all the details about the exam. The exam assesses knowledge of general English grammar, court-related terminology, and ethics and professional conduct.

Visit Prometric for more information.

Information packet on becoming a California Court Interpreter

Qualifications for Court Interpreting and Self-Assessment

Knowledge Skills and Abilities Essential for Court Interpreters

Exam Preparation Resources

The first step in preparing to become a court interpreter is to determine what the exam requirements are for your language.

Once you have determined the specific requirements for your language, click here for additional resources to help prepare for the exam.

Spoken Language Court Interpreter Exam Administration
Scheduling is now open for court interpreter Written Exams and Oral Proficiency Exams (OPE). Bilingual Interpreting Exams are administered twice a year.

Please visit Prometric for complete information on test dates, test site locations, and how to register for the exams. 

Computer-Based Written Exams
Prometric is administering the written exams using a professional computer-based exam delivery network. The computer-based exams are offered at 20 different Prometric testing center locations throughout the state of California. Candidates can take the exam by appointment during normal business hours. A hands-on tutorial is provided before the exam is administered so candidates can become familiar with the computerized exam delivery. For more information on the computer-based written exams and scheduling protocols, visit Prometric.

Exam Retake Policy
In accordance with Prometric scheduling protocols, candidates can take the written exam a total of two times in 12 months, with a minimum of 90 days between testing opportunities. Scheduling protocols for the OPEs are the same as for written exams.

There are 2 things that candidates have to do to retake the written exam:

  • Effective January 1, 2009, candidates who pass the written exam are allowed four attempts to take and pass the bilingual oral interpreting exam for certified languages or the English oral proficiency exam for registered languages.
  • As of January 1, 2018, all written exam previously taken or moving forward are valid for 4 years.  


Candidates may take the oral exam in a particular language once during any exam cycle.  Candidates who do not pass the oral exam within 4 attempts must restart the certification or registration process.

Visit Prometric for additional information on the following:

  • Exam Schedule
  • Registration Information and Forms
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Exam preparation material

American Sign Language
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) is currently the only organization authorized by the Judicial Council to certify interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing. Detailed information on the steps to obtain the Specialist Certification: Legal (SC:L) is available on the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website.

Application Process

Consortium Test Reciprocity FAQ’s


Spoken Languages
To be certified or registered as a court interpreter with the Judicial Council of California, applicants must first pass both the written and oral componentsof the California court interpreter exam process.

After passing the relevant exams, candidates will receive an application packet by mail to become certified or registered with the Judicial Council of California. The Judicial Council processes these applications on its own behalf.

Application Requirements:

  • Candidates applying to be either certified or registered interpreters must pay an annual fee of $100.
  • Candidates must submit one passport-size photo with their application.

The application packet includes complete instructions for taking the online "Orientation to Working in the California Courts" course, submitting required documentation and paying fees.

Upon submission of the complete application, your name will be added to the Master List of Certified and Registered Court Interpreters, and your badge and certificate will be processed and sent to you.


American Sign Language
Once you have obtained your Specialist Certification: Legal (SC:L) issued by the RID please contact the Court Interpreters Program to request a registration application packet. The Judicial Council processes these applications on its own behalf.

Application Requirements:

  • Candidates applying for certification in American Sign Language must pay a fee of $100.
  • Candidates must submit one passport-size photo with their application.

The application packet includes complete instructions for submitting required documentation and fees.

Upon submission of the complete application, your name will be added to the Master List of Certified and Registered Court Interpreters, and your badge will be processed and sent to you.

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