Interpreter Resources & Education

Interpreter Resources & Education

There are three types of court interpreters in the state of Nebraska:  Certified, Registered, and Other. 

Certified Court Interpreters have:

  • Completed Court Interpreter Orientation.
  • Passed the English Language Proficiency Written Exam, achieving 80% or higher.
  • Passed the Oral Exam for Certification in its entirety, achieving 70% or higher on each of the three sections.
  • Certification is available American Sign Language, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish languages.

Registered Court Interpreters have:

  • Completed Court Interpreter Orientation.
  • Passed the English Language Proficiency Written Exam, achieving 80% or higher.
  • Taken the Oral Exam and achieved 50% or higher on each of the three sections.
  • Spanish and American Sign Language interpreters in this category cannot be used for interpreting in Nebraska Courts and Probation Offices.

Other Court Interpreters:

  • Completed Court Interpreter Orientation.
  • Passed the English Language Proficiency Written Exam, achieving 80% or higher.
  • Either has not taken the Oral Exam or did not achieve 50% or higher on each of the three sections.
  • Spanish and American Sign Language interpreters in this category cannot be used for interpreting in Nebraska Courts and Probation Offices.
Do you want to become a Court Interpreter?

Court interpreters are individuals who possess an educated, native-like mastery of both English and a second language; display wide general knowledge; and perform the three major types of court interpreting: sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting. Resources for individuals interested in becoming a court interpreter are below.

Qualifications to Become a Court Interpreter

Qualifications to Become a Court Interpreter
Qualifications to Become a Court Interpreter

Court interpreter certification is an earned professional credential that shows that you have substantial language skills in both English and a second language; a broad knowledge of English terms and court-related vocabulary; and verified ability to accurately interpret in a wide range of registers and subject matters.   Being bilingual is not, in itself, sufficient for court interpreter certification.  

Certified Court Interpreters have completed three required steps:

  1. Court Interpreter Orientation.

    A 2-day in-person introduction to the profession of court interpreting, the modes of court interpretation, and exam preparation strategies.  Typically offered twice a year in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Registration and payment of the $150.00 fee by cashier’s check or money order are required at least 2 weeks before workshop date.  To successfully complete Interpreter Orientation, you must attend and participate in all sessions, both Saturday and Sunday.
     
  2. English Language Proficiency Written Exam.

    A 135-question multiple-choice question test of general English language proficiency, court-related terms and usage, and interpreter ethics and professional conduct.  The number of questions on each section of the written exam are listed in the chart below.
    ​Written Interpreter Exam ​Correct Answers Total Possible

    ​General Language Proficiency

       
       Sentence Completion   9
       Synonyms in Context   8
       Synonyms   21
       Antonyms   12
       Idioms   25
         
    Court Related Terms and Usage and Ethics and Professional Conduct    
       Sentence Completion   36
       Court Related Questions   10
       Sequence   4
       Professional Responsibility and Ethics Questions   2
       Scenarios   8
         
    ​Total   135


    All Written Interpreter Exams are developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and administered approximately one month after Interpreter Orientation.  You must score at least 80% (108 correct answers) on the Written Exam to proceed to the final step for court interpreter certification.
     

  3. Interpreter Oral Exam

    In order to pass the Oral Exam, you must score 70% or higher on each of the three sections included in this interpretation skills test.

    SIGHT TRANSLATION (25 units possible for each part)
         English - Foreign Language # Correct   0%
         Foreign Language - English # Correct   0%
      Total Number Correct 0   0%
    CONSECUTIVE (90 units possible)
      Total Number Correct   0%
    SIMULTANEOUS (75 units possible)
      Total Number Correct   0%

    First, you are asked to sight translate a document from English to your foreign language, then a document from your foreign language to English.  Next you perform approximately 20 minutes of consecutive interpretation.  Finally you perform approximately 8 minutes of simultaneous interpretation. 

    All Oral  Interpreter Exams are developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).  You can find overviews of the Written and Oral exams at www.ncsc.org.

    Oral exams are available in the languages listed below:

    Arabic Hmong Russian
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian Khmer Spanish
    Cantonese Korean Turkish
    Tagalog Mandarin Vietnamese
    French Polish  
    Haitian Creole Portuguese  

    If you are interested in becoming a certified court interpreter, please send your name, address, phone number, and emaill address to Sheryl Connolly, Interim Language Access Program Director.

Training and Testing Schedule

Training and Testing Schedule
Training and Testing Schedule

Court Interpreter Orientation

Cost for Orientation is $150, including required online information for individual review and a two-day in-person workshop.  Scholarships based upon financial need may be considered for qualified Nebraska resident applicants of high-demand languages who are required to travel more than 150 miles (one way) to attend Orientation, and whom have completed of 8 hours of documented court interpreter observation.

  • The next Court Interpreter Orientation workshop is Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th, 2022 in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

  • To register for the workshop, complete the Registration form, and return it with a $150.00 money order or cashier’s check to the address at the bottom of the form. Registration deadline is September 30, 2022.

In an effort to maintain the health and safety of all participants

  • Enrollment is limited to 25 individuals.
  • Face masks will be available but optional for all participants and trainers.

To successfully complete Interpreter Orientation and be eligible to sit for the Interpreter Written Exam, registrants must attend and participate in all sessions, both Saturday and Sunday.

  • Travel expenses, lodging arrangements and meals are your responsibility.
  • Guests/children are not allowed to attend Interpreter Orientation.
  • All Interpreter Orientation content, including lectures, handouts, or electronic materials, is for the sole use of the paid registrants.  Any unauthorized recording, review, use, disclosure, or distribution of Interpreter Orientation classes, exercises, discussions or materials is prohibited.

Written Exam

Applicants for the Court Interpreter Written Exam for certification must have successfully completed Court Interpreter Orientation to be eligible for the Written Exam, which is administered approximately one month after Nebraska's Court Interpreter Orientation. Applicants may test at six month intervals. The Written Exam is regularly administered in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island.  Additional exam locations may be designated on an as-needed basis. The next Written Exam will be offered:

November 14, 2022, in Omaha 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. City Hall, 1819 Farnam St., Room 1210

November 16, 2022, in Lincoln 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Nebraska State Capitol, 1445 K St., State Library on third floor of the Capitol building

November 18, 2022, in Grand Island 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Hall County Courthouse jury room, 111 W 1st Street, (test site capacity 5)

Registration for the Written Exam, payment by cashier's check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court, and a completed background check authorization form are required ten (10) business days before the exam date. Written Exam Registration form.  Submit required forms and payment to: 

Nebraska Supreme Court
Administrative Office of the Courts & Probation
ATTN:  Sheryl Connolly
PO Box 98910
Lincoln, NE  68509-8910

REQUIRED background check authorization form. Be sure to include your full first, middle, and last name and all of your previous names.

Cost for the Written Exam: 

  • Nebraska Resident:  No fee for first two attempts on the Written Exam.  
  • Nebraska Residents taking the Written Exam for a third or subsequent time must pay a $50.00 re-testing fee, by cashier's check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court.
  • All Out of State Residents:  $100.00 each time exam is taken, by cashier's check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court.

If you fail to appear for your Interpreter Written Exam as scheduled, you will have to register for a future Exam date and pay another testing fee by cashier’s check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court.

The National Center for State Courts develops all Court Interpreter Written Exams and exam scoring materials.  Each exam is given exactly as prepared by the National Center.  The Director of Language Access is responsible for ensuring the security of the examination and has no impact on the content of the exams or scoring materials.  The Nebraska Judicial Branch never changes or edits exam content or exam scoring materials in any way for any reason.  All exam security rules are enforced without exception.  


Oral Exam

Applicants for the Court Interpreter Oral Exam for certification must have successfully completed Court Interpreter Orientation and passed the Court Interpreter Written Exam with a score of 80% or higher to be eligible for the Interpreter Oral Exam. Applicants are eligible to test at six month intervals. Exam is administered twice a year at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln on the second Tuesday in January and the second Tuesday in July. 

Registration for the Oral Exam, payment by cashier’s check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court, and a completed background check authorization form are required 45 days before the exam date.

REQUIRED background check authorization form. Be sure to include your full first, middle, and last name and all of your previous names.
 
Submit required forms and payment to: 
            Nebraska Supreme Court
            Administrative Office of the Courts & Probation
            ATTN:  Sheryl Connolly
            PO Box 98910
            Lincoln, NE  68509-8910

Cost for the Oral Exam

  • Nebraska Resident:  $225.00 each time exam is taken, by cashier's check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court.
  • Out of State Resident:  $350.00 each time exam is taken, by cashier's check or money order payable to Nebraska Supreme Court.

If you fail to appear for your Interpreter Oral Exam as scheduled, you will have to register for a future Exam date and pay another testing fee.

Note:  For purposes of the oral exam, an interpreter is considered "Nebraska Resident" if he or she lives in the state of Nebraska, or within 50 miles of the Nebraska border and reasonably intends to primarily interpret for the Nebraska Judicial Branch.

Interpreter Oral Exam Date:

Tuesday, January 10, 2023, at Nebraska State Capitol, 1445 K Street, Lincoln 

  • Exams will be scheduled in 90-minute intervals beginning at 8:00 a.m. Central Time

The National Center for State Courts develops all Court Interpreter Oral Exams and exam rating materials.  Each exam is given exactly as prepared by the National Center.  The Director of Language Access is responsible for ensuring the security of the examination and has no impact on the content of the exams or rating materials.  The Nebraska Judicial Branch never changes or edits exam content, audio recordings of exams, or exam rating materials in any way for any reason.  All exam security rules are enforced without exception.  

Interpreter Test Preparation Strategies for Written and Oral Exam

A list of test preparation strategies and resources cand be found here.  Although various training strategies and resources are included, the State of Nebraska does not endorse any particular program and does not guarantee success on examinations as a result of any training.

Resources from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts

Resources from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts
Resources from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts
Are you already a Court Interpreter?

Below are items of interest to you as an individual who is qualified to interpret in the court system.