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. 

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

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Become a 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

  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 for available dates and what to expect. 
    • Seminar Waiver: Send your request and documentation for comparable training to Language Services Section (LSS). LSS will review the request and let you know their decision via email. 
       
  3. Pass the Oral Exam. Start with oral exam overview, which includes the exam application. You can review the current list of oral exams offered at the NCSC website.

Step 3 – Register

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

  1. Register as a business with the N.J. Division of Revenue. Independent contractors with no employees should complete 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 (PSSW). The form specifies the contractual agreement, including compensation and cancellation. Review the Sample PSSW to know what to expect.

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. 

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 vides 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. 

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

Registry of Interpreting Resources

LSS maintains registries of all approved interpreting freelancers and agencies. Courts should contract individuals or agencies only when there are no on-site, full-time interpreters available. 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:

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Sign Language Agencies 

Language Agency Name/Contact Info
American Sign Language (ASL) Sign Language Resources Inc.
Ms. Mary Darrah-MacLean
Day: 1-888-964-5553
Evening: 1-888-964-5553
Email: slr@slrconnect.com
 

Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre, Inc.
Mr. Neil McDevitt
Day: 610-604-0450
Evening: 610-604-0450
Email: IRD@DHCC.org

Idiosyncratic Gestural System (IGS) Sign Language Resources Inc.
Ms. Mary Darrah-MacLean
Day: 1-888-964-5553
Evening: 1-888-964-5553
Email: slr@slrconnect.com
  Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre, Inc.
Mr. Neil McDevitt
Day: 610-604-0450
Evening: 610-604-0450
Email: IRD@DHCC.org

For Interpreting Agencies


Interpreting agencies can apply to be approved and listed in the Registry of Interpreting Resources. Contracted agencies should only be used when the court does not have an available staff interpreter. 

The following resource are available: 

Follow these steps to become an approved interpreting agency:

  1. Register with the Judiciary. An official agency representative must complete and submit the following to [email]:
  2. Register as a Business. Agencies must be registered with the NJ Division of Revenue and NJSTART. If you are an agency owner and wish to also be listed as a freelancer, you will need a different Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the one you use as a freelancer.
  3. Attend the Orientation Seminar. At least one agency representative must attend. Most common agency attendees include the owner, CEO, or a high-level manager. See the Overview for Orientation Seminar for dates and more info.
  4. Submit Additional Information for Remote Interpreting Services.
    The official representative of the agency must also submit additional information requested 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.

Agencies looking provide telephone interpreting must complete all of the above steps first. Once approved for on-site interpreting, the agency must answer these questions and submit them to the Judiciary. 

Agencies looking to provide video remote interpreting (VRI) must follow the procedures in VRI agency registration guide. 

Changing Agency Info

Approved agencies can email [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

Court interpreters help the Judiciary fulfill its goal of equal justice for all. The court, therefore, is invested in development of interpreters. This also helps interpreters:

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

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. 

Court interpreters specializing in Spanish can get additional information in the Spanish Resource guide

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

Wisconsin Courts provides a resource guide for working 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.

On-site interpreting

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)