Many of us have second language skills. We may have acquired them by growing up in a bilingual environment, through college or university studies, or are immigrants. While they may languish and go unused, there is a great way to make your foreign language skills profitable, by becoming a court interpreter. The New York State Unified Court System employs freelance court interpreters and has a need for a wide array of languages.
In order to become a court interpreter for the New York State Unified Court System a prospective interpreter must go through a two-tier examination process. The first exam is a written exam. The exam tests an applicant’s English skills and knowledge of legal terminology. After all, if someone is going to be in court all day interpreting the discourse of lawyers, judges, witnesses, and court personal, they must have a basic knowledge of rudimentary legal terms. These terms can easily be learned by reviewing a legal dictionary.
Participation in the second examination is contingent upon successful completion of the first exam. At some point after the written exam an applicant will be notified of their results through the mail. If they passed the first one, then they will then be invited to take the second part, which consists of a series of interpreting exercises which test the applicant’s ability to actually interpret in a mock courtroom setting.
To apply to take the New York State Unified Court System’s exam prospective applicants should visit www.courts.state.ny.us and click on careers. From there prospective applicants can download the application in the form of a PDF. The PDF can then be printed out, filled in, and mailed to the appropriate office. It may take some time for a New York State Unified Court System representative to get in touch with an applicant; however, they should not get discouraged.
Additionally, there is one more way to become a court interpreter in the state of New York. Justice and Village Courts, which are courts that generally handle small claims and misdemeanors, hire interpreters on a more informal basis and the exam my not be needed. However, this requires more leg work on the part of a prospective interpreter, and likely prior linguistic credentials, as they need to market themselves in their locale in order to make themselves known in their local legal community.
Either way one goes about obtaining it, freelance work as a court interpreter is a rewarding way to earn supplemental income while making use of already existing skills.