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 only take the written exam 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, written exam and failed the oral test. Am I required to attend the training again? Am I required to take the written test before re-scheduling an oral exam time slot?

    It depends on when was the orientation and written exam taken. The Office of the Executive Secretary will accept orientation training or written exam scores that are a maximum of 3-years old. A candidate may not take any portion of an exam more than once in a 12-months period.

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

    With some exceptions, the Commonwealth of Virginia does accept segments of the certification process from other states or the federal certification program. Virginia may also accept components of certification 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 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 Court, as long as the components applied would qualify the individual for certification within Virginia. Please visit the Consortium's website at www.ncsconline.org for additional information. Eligible persons who provide required documentation may be added to Virginia's list of certified Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese language interpreters.

If an individual falls into this category, please contact the Department of Judicial Services, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia at 804/371-9241 to initiate the required paperwork for addition to Virginia's certified interpreter list.

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

    The orientation and written exam are held simultaneously. The orientation will last 2-days. The written exam will be administered on the afternoon of the second day.

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

    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. If I took the written exam or oral exam and passed some parts, but did not pass one of the sections, when can I retake it?

    The Supreme Court of Virginia has set up the policy that the written exam and oral exam cannot be taken in sections, but only as a whole.

  4. 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 interpreter certification in the Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese languages only. Orientation training is now available to interpreters in all languages.

  5. If I passed one portion of the written test do I have to retake both sections?

    Yes.  The Supreme Court of Virginia does not accept partial scores from one testing segment.

  6. 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.

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

    Candidates looking to become federally certified will need to contact the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts at (916)263-3494. Information is also available on their Web site at http://www.ncsconline.org/d_research/Consort-interp/fcice_exam/index.htm.

  8. 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 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 by and/or approved by the court.

  9. 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.

 


 

This page last modified: January 17, 2008