Language Services

The Language Services Section (LSS) plays a vital role in ensuring equal justice for people with limited English proficiency (LEP) or who are deaf or hard of hearing. Program Manager Brenda Carrasquillo and staff can be reached at Langsvcs.mbx@njcourts.gov.

Do you need interpreting services? See our requesting an interpreter help page

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Becoming a NJ Court Interpreter

Discover how to become a spoken or Sign Language New Jersey court interpreter.

Spoken Language 

Becoming a court-approved spoken language interpreter is a 3-step process. You need to demonstrate proficiency in your chosen language(s). You also need to follow the interpreter Code of Conduct

Step 1 – Prepare

See all interpreting policies and guidelines.

Study the available resources below. Gain an understanding of what is required to succeed.

Step 2 – Qualify

The approval program consists of a written exam, an orientation seminar, and oral exam. If you were certified in another state, review the Reciprocity Policy. If you passed the Federal exam, you would qualify at the Master level.

  1. Pass the written exam. The overview of the written exam covers exam dates, FAQs, and includes the application to take the exam. It also includes sample questions to give you an idea of what is on the test. 
     
  2. Attend the Orientation Seminar. Review overview of the orientation seminar for available dates and what to expect. 
     
  3. Pass the Oral Exam. Start with reading the oral exam overview in its entirety, which includes the exam application. You can review the current list of NCSC oral exams currently offered at NCSC's website.

Step 3 – Register

After approval, you can register with Judiciary. To be added to the Registry of Interpreting Resources, you need to:

  1. Register as an independent contractor with the N.J. Division of Revenue either on-line or by mailing in the Independent Contractor form
  2. Register with NJSTART. This allows you to work as a vendor with State of New Jersey. You also need to submit a completed Registration Form.
  3. After LSS verifies your registration, you will receive a Professional Service Statement of Work Proposal (Freelancer PSSW). The PSSW is a contractual agreement, that also addresses compensation and cancellation. 

Sign Language

Potential sign language interpreters need to:

Video remote interpreting (VRI) resources 

Some court cases are conducted online in video remote court. The Covid-19 pandemic rapidly expanded remote court events. Likewise, the Judiciary produced more video remote interpreting (VRI) resources.  

All spoken and sign language interpreters can find additional VRI support at the National Center for State Courts.

Spoken Language VRI

Use the Registry of VRI Agencies for Spoken Languages when looking for those services.  

Review the tips for court interpreters resource. This document contains information to help you get started or improve with VRI. 

The spoken language webinar breaks down VRI resources, tools, and what’s necessary to succeed. The video is a recording of a live training session. It includes relevant Q&A from the audience.

There are two brief training videos available:

Sign Language VRI

Please review the sign language VRI webinar. Presently entirely in ASL, the video address VRI technology, best practices and more. 

All VRI sign language interpreters should save a copy of the checklist. This tool helps you ensure you are ready for VRI. 

Many VRI cases are conducted in Zoom. Use the procedure for sign language VRI in Zoom if you need help. 

Registry of Interpreting Resources

LSS maintains registries of all court interpreter freelancers and agencies. LSS regularly updates and publishes the registries. This helps ensure courts always have access to accurate vendor lists.

Court managers should use the following registries:

Registering as an Agency


Agencies may be included in the Registry of Interpreting Resources to provide contract-interpreting services to the Judiciary.  The Judiciary's policy is that interpreting services may be obtained from registered agencies only when the needed services are not available from staff court interpreters or contract interpreters listed in the Registry of Interpreting Resources.  For an agency to become registered, it much complete the following steps:

1. Register with the Judiciary.

An official representative of the agency must study carefully the Agency Professional Service Statement of Work (Agency PSSW) proposal and complete and email the following to the LangSvcs.Mailbox@njcourts.gov:

  1. The Agency Registration form.
  2. Six language options under which the agency will be listed in the Registry, using the nomenclature found in the Language Identification Guide. Agencies that provide interpreters in more than six languages may choose “Any Language” as one of their six language options.  Agencies that select this option are listed at the back of the Registry, as well as being listed under the other five chosen language options. * Should an agency choose ASL as one of their six language options, please note that both legislation and Judiciary policy require sign language interpreters to be certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and listed with the New Jersey Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  See N.J.S.A. 34:1-69.
  3. Agree in writing to abide by the Agency PSSW by signing and emailing the completed first page of the Agency PSSW proposal.  Electronic signatures will be accepted.

2. Register as a business with the NJ Division of Revenue and NJSTART.

Note: If the owner of an agency is, or hopes to become, a registered freelance interpreter; the agency tax identification number (TIN) must be different from the TIN number used to registered as a freelancer.

3. Attend the Orientation Seminar.

At least one official representative who is the highest-level employee must complete this seminar.  That representative is ordinarily one of the following: the owner, chief executive officer, or a high-level manager. See the Overview for the Orientation Seminar for seminar dates.

4. Submit Additional Information for Remote Interpreting Services.

The official representative of the agency must also submit additional information requested in the appropriate link below to be included in the Registry of Telephone Interpreting Agencies, the Registry of VRI Agencies for Sign Languages, and/or the Registry of VRI Agencies for Spoken Languages:

Changing Agency Info

Approved agencies can email for the following changes:

  • Telephone numbers.
  • Cell numbers.
  • Languages.
  • Email address(es).
  • Availability.

Changes to the agency name, tax ID, or mailing address must first go to NJ Division of Revenue and NJSTART. Agencies must also email LSS to notify them of the changes. Once LSS confirms them with Division of Revenue, the changes will take effect in the registry. 

Resources for Interpreters

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has a Language Access Services Section (LASS) and website that includes a Resource Guide for Court InterpretersNCSC resources and additional resources below help interpreters:

  • Improve proficiency and level of interpreting ability.
  • Gain more interpreting opportunities.
  • Increase compensation level.

NCSC Resource Guides

The Resource Guide for Court Interpreters is geared towards all court interpreters, regardless of language. It contains:

  • An overview of interpreting.
  • Test taking strategies.
  • Glossaries.
  • Practice exam kits and sample tests.
  • Practice sites for idioms.
  • Professional organizations. 

NCSC Resource Guides

Spanish court interpreters can find additional resources in the Spanish Resource guide

Interpreters for all other languages can find additional resources in the Non-Spanish Resource Guide

Wisconsin Courts provides A Handbook for Court Interpreters Working in Teams

Glossaries and Translation Guides

While interpreters are fluent in their given language(s), legal terms and phrases could present a challenge. The following glossaries help translate specific legal terms you will need to know in court. 

The Superior Court of California provides detailed glossaries in various language. It is also good to know American idioms sometimes used in court. There might not be a direct translation for certain expressions. Knowing the definition of the expression will help translate the message accurately. 

Spanish Glossaries:

Non-Spanish Glossaries:

Interpreter Training Courses

Rutgers University provides a Translation and Interpreting Program. They also feature a World Languages Institute with language courses. Both are good training resources for interpreters.

The New Mexico judiciary provides a Language Access Learning Management System. It contains courses such as Intro to Court Interpreting, Ethics and Best Practices, and Justice System Interpreting. The program is in partnership with the NCSC.

Florida International University offers a certificate program in Legal Translation and Court Interpreting. There is also a certificate program for Translation Studies. Courses comprising the programs are listed on the website. 

Practices Exercises and Exams

The NCSC offers several training resources. You can get self-assessment tools and overviews of the written and oral exams. The site also contains court interpreter practice materials

The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam could also be a resource for development.

For practice at simultaneous interpreting:

Professional Associations

Professional associations offer opportunities to network with others in your field. They are also good resources for latest developments. Some associations to consider:

Advocacy Groups

Statistics

The following statistical reports help inform and improve the Judiciary’s Language Access Plan. 

Demographic Statistics for Persons with Limited English Proficiency

New Jersey

United States

All data was collected from the 2000 and 2010 Census, the American Census Survey 2009-2013, and the American Community Survey 2016-2019.

Interpreted Activities

Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2022-2023  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2021-2022  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2020-2021  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2019-2020  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2018-2019  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2017-2018  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2016-2017  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2015-2016  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2014-2015  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2013-2014  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2012-2013  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2011-2012  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2010-2011  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2009-2010  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2008-2009  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2007-2008  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2006-2007  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2005-2006 Telephone Interpreting 2005-2006
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2004-2005 Telephone Interpreting 2004-2005
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2003-2004 Telephone Interpreting 2003-2004
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2002-2003 Telephone Interpreting 2002-2003
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2001-2002 Telephone Interpreting 2001-2002
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 2000-2001  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 1999-2000  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 1998-1999  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 1997-1998  
Statewide Completed Interpreting Activities 1996-1997  

Testing Statistics

Written Exam

Oral Exam

Current Stats (2017 to Present)

Historical Stats (1987 to 2016)