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Arizona Judicial Branch

Oral Exam Information

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 For tips on preparing for the Oral Court Interpreter Exam, visit our How to Prepare for the Oral Court Interpreter Exam page.

Eligibility

To be eligible to take the oral court interpreter exam, candidates must have completed all of the elements of the Tier 1 Credential (registry profile, online class(es), English written exam, and the oral proficiency interview).

To pass the oral court interpreter exam, interpreters must possess a mastery of the English language and the target language equivalent to a highly educated native speaker, and have a thorough understanding of legal concepts in both languages. In addition, interpreters must be highly proficient in specialized cognitive skills required to perform in the three modes of interpreting: sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting. They must also be able to convey messages accurately, completely, and promptly.

For a full description of the oral court interpreter exam, please see the Court Interpreter Oral Examination Overview published by the National Center for State Courts. A summary of information about the exam is provided below.

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Available Languages

An oral exam is available in the following languages:

  • Arabic*
  • Bosnian/ Croatian/ Serbian**
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Marshallese**
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish**
  • Vietnamese
*The oral court interpreter exam in Arabic uses Modern Standard Arabic for the Sight Translation and Simultaneous portions of the exam and offers a choice of either Arabic Egyptian Colloquial OR Arabic Levantine Colloquial for the Consecutive portion.
**This language uses an abbreviated oral court interpreter exam. The abbreviated exam contains a simultaneous exercise (English into the target language) and a test of English proficiency.

 

Candidates who wish to progress beyond the Tier 1 Credential but who speak languages where no oral court interpreters exam exists may take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) if one is available. Candidates in this category must achieve the highest score available on the OPI to progress beyond the Tier 1 Credential. A candidate who already earned the highest score possible on the OPI as part of the Tier 1 Credential will not be required to retake the OPI. Learn more about the OPI requirement by visiting the Oral Proficiency Interview page.

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Oral Court Interpreter Exam Description

Sight translation: For this part of the exam, the candidate is asked to read a document written in English, while interpreting it aloud into the target language, and to read a document written in the target language, while interpreting it aloud in English. Each document is approximately 225 words in length. The candidate is given 6 minutes per document to review the content and perform the sight translation while being recorded. This is a timed exercise. Total time allotted: 12 minutes (6 min. per document). Time for instructions is not counted as part of the 12 minutes.

Consecutive Interpreting: During this segment of the exam, the candidate listens to a recording of an English-speaking attorney who is questioning a non-English speaking witness. The candidate must interpret aloud the English questions into the target language and the witness’s answers into English while being recorded. The questions and answers are of various lengths ranging from one word to a maximum of 50 words. A candidate may request a maximum of two (2) repetitions during this portion of the exam. This is a timed exercise. Total time allotted: 22 minutes, including repetitions, from the time the recording begins.

Simultaneous Interpreting: With this part of the exam, the candidate listens to a recording in English of an attorney’s opening statement or closing argument to a jury or judge. This passage is recorded at a speed of 120 words per minute and is approximately 900 words in length. The speech continues for about 7 to 10 minutes without stopping. While listening through headphones, the candidate simultaneously interprets aloud all statements into the target language while being recorded. This segment takes about 12 minutes all together, including instructions and equipment preparation.

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Passing Score

Credential Tier
Sight Translation
 Consecutive
Interpreting
Simultaneous
Interpreting
 21
 60%
(Neither section below 55%)
 60%  60%
3 70%
(Neither section below 65%)
 70%  70%
4 80%
(Neither section below 75%)
 80%  80%




 

 

 

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Fees and Exam Dates

Please visit the Fee Schedule page for the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program fee information.

Visit the Schedule and Calendar page for the latest exam schedules and deadlines. Please note, for the oral court interpreter exam a candidate may select up to three preferences for dates/locations. The exam time for a particular date and location will be set by the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program.

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Registering for the Oral Court Interpreter Exam

To register for the oral court interpreter exam, submit the Oral Court Interpreter Exam Registration Request Form by the appropriate deadline. You will then be contacted with instructions for payment. Upon submission of the completed application and payment prior to the published deadline, a confirmation e-mail with logistical information will be sent to you, including the date, time, and location of your exam. All communications with the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program are conducted electronically. Please make sure your e-mail address is up to date in the Arizona Court Interpreter Registry.

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Wait-Lists

Some exam venues may have limited appointment times. If there are more registrants than appointments available, a candidate may be wait-listed, or opt at his/her own choosing to take the test on a different date and/or at a different location. Should these issues arise, the candidate will be contacted via e-mail with the pertinent details. All communications with the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program are conducted electronically. Please make sure your e-mail address is up to date in the Arizona Court Interpreter Registry.

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Retaking the Oral Court Interpreter Exam

If a candidate does not meet the minimum score for the exam and wishes to retake it, or if a candidate wishes to progress to a higher tier level, he/she must wait a minimum period of six (6) months before retaking the exam.

It may be possible to sit for only certain portions of the oral court interpreter exam. However, if you are taking the exam for the first time, you must sit for the full exam to cover all three modes of interpreting. Contact the ACICP for more information.

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Reciprocity with Other Tests

Interpreters who have passed the Administrative Office the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) exam, or another state’s NCSC-designed interpreter certification exam may be exempt from taking the oral court interpreter exam and should inquire with the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program about the possibility of reciprocity or component transfer. To learn more about reciprocity, visit the Reciprocity and Transfer of Components page.

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1  The Tier 2 credential expires after twenty-four (24) months if the interpreter fails to progress into Tier 3 or Tier 4. In said event, the credential reverts to a Tier 1 credential. An interpreter may not retest into the Tier 2 category. Return