Many Ways People Have Prepared for Court Interpreting

The following quotes are taken from interviews with recent members of our highly-qualified pool of court intepreters.  There are many paths to professional success and all of them require preparation.  Read how the people below got started! 
Interpreter: Anabella

Anabella, Argentina

A formal education is important . . . but it is not enough. I started working with a California and federally certified court interpreter who served as my mentor for more than a year. She recommended that I volunteer at small claims courts. I was able to assist many litigants while continually improving my skills. I also participated in the Superior Court of Orange County’s Family Law Interpreter Internship Program. Once a week for three months I worked with pro bono attorneys, interpreted in pretrial conferences, and eventually interpreted before the judge, all while under supervision of a certified interpreter. It is like a part-time job to prepare for certification.
Native Language: Spanish
Years Interpreting: 3+
Education: B.A. (six-year
degree) with two-year diploma
in Conference Interpreting
Interpreter: Tin

Tin, Vietnam

I was a coach and a quality assurance person for the Vietnamese interpreting team at a major national telephonic remote interpreting agency for five years. I have been working as a medical interpreter and technical translator for a large public medical center since 2005. I studied very hard on my own but knew I would need a coach to help me over the hump. I found a certified interpreter two hours from my house and took an apprenticeship course with him for three months. After taking the course my oral scores improved greatly, but I still did not pass. I kept working with my mentor and even took a one-week vacation just to study every day and be closer to my coach. Since passing the oral interpreting exam, I have worked for California’s superior courts.
Native Language: Vietnamese
Years Interpreting: 7
Education: B.A.
Interpreter: Patricia

Patricia, El Salvador

After completing my Certificate Program in Interpretation and taking other formal in-person and online interpreter training, I joined a study group before the oral exam. We met four times a week using Skype. There were six or seven of us and we met four days every week before taking the exam and practiced all modes of interpretation. You need someone to give you objective feedback and challenge you and keep you motivated, so I also had a study partner and we challenged each other constantly. She was stronger in simultaneous and I was stronger in consecutive, so we complemented each other and studied together for several hours a week.
Native Language: Spanish
Years Interpreting: 20+
Education: B.A. in Journalism
and Business Administration,
Certificate in Interpretation
and Translation