Court Certified Languages

The Judicial Council of California currently grants court certification for only fourteen (14) spoken languages. These designated languages are Arabic, Armenian (Eastern/Western), Cantonese, Farsi (Persian of Iran), Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

A certified court interpreter (“certified”) is an individual who has passed the state’s required Written and Bilingual Oral Interpreting Examinations in any of these certified languages, and subsequently is eligible to enroll with the Judicial Council.

Registered Languages

A registered language (“registered”) is a spoken language that has not been designated as a certified language. Registered Interpreters must pass a Written Exam, an Oral English Proficiency Exam, and an Oral Proficiency Exam in the non-English language to become registered with the Judicial Council of California and to allow them to conduct themselves in legal and judicial settings.

Certification Compliance

Certification establishes the minimum competency standards that are required in certain sectors of the language industry. It assures not only that a language professional has met all eligibility criteria and requirements to earn a specific credential in the state, but also that he or she possesses bilingual proficiency, cultural understanding, theoretical knowledge, and the skill set needed for the job.


To maintain their certification active and in good standing, as it has been established by the Judicial Council of California, both court certified and registered interpreters must satisfy and comply with continuing education requirements and complete a minimum number of professional assignments periodically. The purpose of this is to ensure that interpreters preserve and improve their level of knowledge, skill, and ability to carry out their duties accurately. Also, all newly-certified interpreters are required to complete a Professional Standards and Ethics workshop to promote adherence to the highest standards of professional conduct and to assist them in helping to uphold the integrity and neutrality of the judicial system.


TLP can provide a court certified or registered interpreter for any type of legal assignment including assignments conducted in quasi-legal and non-legal settings, depending on the client’s needs or requirements. We advise our clients to reserve an interpreter when the need arises since some certified and registered languages have a limited number of language professionals available in certain geographical areas.


If you are unsure of your project requirements or case needs with regards to certification, TLP can assist you in finding the right licensed language professional that you need.

Modes of Interpretation


This is the most common interpreting technique utilized and requested by our clients in Southern California. The interpreter listens to the speaker in the source language and, without disruption, instantaneously interprets what was said in the target language. This is the fastest mode of interpretation. It is typically used in conferences, public events, court hearings, depositions, meetings, etc.


The interpreter listens to the speaker in the source language, either memorizes or takes notes of what was said, and then proceeds with the interpretation into the target language once the speaker pauses. This mode is typically used more during immigration interviews, some court proceedings, and in medical settings. Note that this technique also takes about twice the amount of time as the simultaneous mode since the interpreter must wait until each party finishes speaking before starting the interpretation.


The interpreter renders a condensed or shortened version of what has been said. This mode of interpretation is not appropriate for legal or quasi-legal settings.

Sight Translation

The interpreter renders a true and accurate verbal translation of written material into the target language. This mode of interpreting usually applies when there are exhibits or foreign documents in a proceeding that need to be translated on the spot for all parties present.


Generally, this involves two or more interpreters working side by side during a proceeding and utilizing simultaneous and/or consecutive interpreting techniques depending on the specific dialect.One interpreter speaks the common language, and the other one(s) speak(s) the LLD or indigenous language.For example, a K’iche’ source message first is rendered into Spanish, then from Spanish into English and vice versa.