Federal Court Interpreters

The use of competent federal court interpreters in proceedings involving speakers of languages other than English is critical to ensure that justice is carried out fairly for defendants and other stakeholders. The professional knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a federal court interpreter are highly complex.

Qualification Guidelines

AO Certified Interpreters

An interpreter who has successfully completed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination. At this time, there are certified interpreters in Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole. (See Guide, Vol. 5 § 320.10)

Otherwise Qualified Interpreters

When a certified interpreter is not reasonably available, the court may use an "otherwise qualified interpreter". (See Guide, Vol. 5 § 320.20.20)

Professionally Qualified Interpreters

The category of professionally qualified interpreters applies only to languages other than Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole. Credentials for professionally qualified interpreters require sufficient documentation and authentication. (See Guide, Vol. 5 § 320.20.30)

Language Skilled/Ad Hoc Interpreters

An Interpreter who does not qualify as a professionally qualified interpreter, but who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court the ability to interpret court proceedings from English to a designated language and from that language into English, will be classified as a language skilled/ad hoc interpreter. (See Guide, Vol. 5 § 320.20.40). Certified and professionally qualified interpreters are paid at a higher rate than language skilled/ad hoc interpreters. (See Guide, Vol. 5 § 420.30)

Contact Information

Contact Douglas Holmes, Interpreter Liaison/Contracting Officer by phone at 617-748-9079 or by email douglas_holmes@mad.uscourts.gov for information and/or assistance.