Virginia's Judicial System


Frequently Asked Questions About Certification

  1. What does "voluntary" certification mean?

    In Virginia, all courts are encouraged to utilize certified interpreters first since they have proven their competency and skill level. However, there is no statutory requirement that only certified interpreters be used for the provision of language interpretation and translation services in courts. The judge is the final arbiter of every interpreter's qualifications.

  2. What if I have completed the orientation training but not passed the written exam?

    Candidates who have not passed the written exam must complete and pass the written exam before being eligible to take the oral exam. A candidate can take the written exam only once every 12-months.

  3. What if I pass the written exam and complete the orientation training session but decide not to take the oral exam?

    Candidates are not required to sit for the oral exam if, after completing the training and passing the written test, they decide not to continue the certification process. They can also decide to wait until they feel well prepared before they take the oral exam. The orientation and written scores are good for 3-years.

  4. I previously completed orientation training but have never taken the oral exam. Am I required to take the written test before scheduling an oral exam time slot?

    Yes. You must pass the written exam before you can register to take the oral exam. Orientation and written exam scores are good for 3-years.

  5. I previously completed the orientation training, passed the written exam, and failed the oral exam. Am I required to attend the training again? Am I required to take the written exam again before re-scheduling an oral exam time slot?

    It depends on when you took the orientation and written exam. The Office of the Executive Secretary will accept orientation training and written exam scores that are a maximum of 3-years old. A candidate may not take any exam more than once in a 12-month period.  All three components (orientation, written exam, and oral exam) must be completed within a 3-year period; otherwise, the candidate will have to begin the process again.

  6. I completed orientation training and passed the written exam in another state. May I register for the oral exam in Virginia without taking the orientation and written exam again?

    With some exceptions, the Commonwealth of Virginia does accept segments or components of the certification process from other states and the federal court system to be applied toward full Virginia certification. Please contact the Department of Judicial Services, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia at 804-371-9241 or by email to languages@vacourts.gov to determine qualification status.

  7. What is the State Court Interpreter Certification Consortium and what other types of foreign language interpreter certification does Virginia accept?

    The Judicial Council of Virginia considers eligible any person who has successfully completed the full requirements for federal court certification or certification by a state judicial system participating in the State Court Interpreter Certification Consortium administered by the National Center for State Courts, as long as the components applied would qualify the individual for certification within Virginia. Please visit the Consortium's website at http://www.ncsc.org/ for additional information. Eligible persons who provide required documentation may be added to Virginia's list of certified Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese language interpreters. If you think you fall into this category, please contact the Department of Judicial Services, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia at 804-371-9241 or by email to languages@vacourts.gov to initiate the required paperwork for addition to Virginia's certified interpreter list.

  1. After the orientation training, how do I register for the written exam?

    If you are seeking certification, you may register for both the orientation and written exam at the same time.  The orientation and written exam are held during the same 2-day period.  The written exam will be administered on the afternoon of the second day.  Those candidates who wish to take the orientation, but are not seeking certification in any of the six languages that we offer, may sign up only for the orientation.

  2. How do I schedule my oral exam time slot?

    Eligible candidates will schedule oral exam time slots by signing up online once registration opens. The oral exam is given twice a year (spring and fall).

  3. I am interested in earning certification in a language other than Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese. Does Virginia certify foreign language interpreters in any other languages?

    At the present time, Virginia offers court interpreter certification in the Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese languages only. Orientation training is available and highly recommended for  interpreters in ALL languages.

  4. If I took the oral exam but did not pass one or more of the sections, do have I have to retake the entire oral exam?

    Yes. The Supreme Court of Virginia does not offer sections of the oral exam.

  5. I am interested in earning federal certification. How do I become a federally certified foreign language interpreter?

    Candidates looking to become federally certified will find information at: http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/federal-court-interpreters/federal-court-interpreter-certification-examination.

  6. How are foreign language interpreters appointed to work in Virginia?

    Although the Judicial Council of Virginia encourages all of the state's courts to utilize certified interpreters (where available) since they will have proven their competency and skill level, there is no requirement that only certified interpreters be used for the provision of language interpretation and/or translation services in Virginia's courts. By statute (Va. Code §§ 19.2-164 and 8.01-384.1:1), the judge is the final arbiter of any interpreter's qualifications. The certified foreign language interpreter list is intended for use as a resource which courts and others may use to contact certified Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese interpreters directly and to arrange for their services as needed. Changes to this list are only accepted by US Postal Service correspondence bearing the original signature of the interpreter.

    Also as set by the above-referenced statutes, compensation rates for an interpreter appointed by the court are fixed by the court. Achieving certification does not qualify or entitle an interpreter to any amount other than that set and/or approved by the court.

  7. Whom do I call if I have additional question(s) not answered in this Notice?

    Please direct any questions regarding certification to the Department of Judicial Services, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia at 804-371-9241 or by email to languages@vacourts.gov.

 


 

This page last modified: August 2017