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Exams for Language Access Providers in the California Courts

California court language access providers have important jobs serving the needs of limited English proficiency (LEP) court users: they assist them speaking in the LEP’s language or interpret court proceedings for parties and witnesses with limited English skills. As a California court language access provider, you can help make justice more accessible for millions of people by working at one of three levels within a language access career pipeline, depending on your language, skills and interest. These three categories of language access providers who serve the courts are: bilingual staff, registered interpreters, and certified interpreters.

California courts employ many bilingual staff members and according to the Strategic Plan for Language Access in the California Courts, all bilingual staff must meet a minimum standard of “Intermediate” competency as tested on the Oral Proficiency Exam (OPE).

One resource available for testing bilingual staff members’ speaking proficiency is the OPE available in 70 languages. The OPE measures the ability of an individual to communicate in the language being tested.


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Registered court interpreters have passed the Written Exam and Oral Proficiency Exams in English and the non-English language(s). You can take these exams in any order. OPE’s are available in 70 languages. If there is not an OPE in your working language, you still must take and pass the Written Exam and the English OPE.

Important information for Farsi Registered court interpreters already on the Master List: The Farsi exam grace period begins on September 1, 2016, and ends 18 months later on February 28, 2018. During this time, Farsi Registered court interpreters will have three opportunities to take and pass the Certification exam within an 18-month period, while maintaining their status and continuing normal work as Farsi Registered court interpreters.


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Certified court interpreters have passed the Written Exam and the Bilingual Interpreting Exams which test their ability in simultaneous and consecutive interpreting and sight translation skills. Currently, there are certification exams in 12 spoken languages.


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