San Bernardino County Superior Court provides an interpreter for all courtroom proceedings in: Criminal, Traffic, Juvenile delinquency/dependency, and currently (as grant funds allow) Family law cases where low-income parties have asked for, or the court has issued, a domestic violence restraining order.
These interpreters do not help parties fill out or file their court forms.
Whenever possible, the court provides a state certified and state registered interpreter to help non-English speaking parties in their court proceeding. Because there is a shortage of certified/registered interpreters statewide, the court may sometimes provide a provisionally qualified interpreter (non-certified, non-registered).
How can I get an interpreter assigned for my court case?
If you are involved in a proceeding for a criminal, traffic, juvenile, or domestic violence matter, you may ask the clerk at the counter or in the courtroom for an interpreter. If you need an interpreter in any language other than Spanish, please notify the court as soon as possible. If an interpreter is not available at the time of your hearing, your case may be continued until an interpreter can be assigned.
If you wait until your court date, you may have to wait until an interpreter can be contacted, or your matter may be continued to a future date.
What if I need an interpreter, but the court does not provide one?
The court will not provide you with an interpreter if you are involved in a civil, small claims, or family law case that does not involve a domestic violence restraining order. If you need an interpreter to help you understand what is said during one of these court proceedings, you may bring a relative or a friend to interpret for you. You may not bring your child to interpret for you during a family court services mediation session.
What is the Difference Between a Certified and a Registered Interpreter?
Certified Court Interpreters:
Currently, court interpreters in ASL and the following spoken languages must be certified: Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Only interpreters who pass the Court Interpreter Certification Examination and fulfill the corresponding Judicial Council requirements are referred to as certified interpreters. Certified languages may change periodically, depending on the results of studies of language use in the courts and other administrative factors.
Interpreters of languages not listed above can attempt the several step processes for be-coming a registered California court interpreter in a non-certified language. An interpreter cannot be “registered” or use registered exam scores for interpreting in one of the spoken certified languages.
Registered Court Interpreters:
Court interpreters of spoken languages other than Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are eligible to pursue status as “registered court interpreters.” Registered court interpreters are required to pass the Written Exam, and the Oral Proficiency Exam in English, and an Oral Proficiency Exam in their non-English language. The Oral Proficiency Exams in English and non- English languages assess the candidate’s functional ability to communicate in that language. All exams for both certified and registered status are administered under contract by an approved testing entity as required under Government Code §68562(b)
What if I need an interpreter that speaks sign language?
The court will provide you with a sign language interpreter for any court hearing you may have, including civil, small claims, and family cases. The court will also provide you with a sign language interpreter if you are called for jury duty. Please tell a clerk at the counter or in the courtroom as soon as possible if you will need a sign language interpreter. For more information on this and other Access and Accommodation needs please visit the American with Disabilities (ADA) page on this site.
Where can I get more information on becoming an Interpreter?
and the links on the left.