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HOW DO I BECOME A FEDERALLY CERTIFIED INTERPRETER?
To become certified, an interpreter must complete a criterion-referenced performance examination which shall be administered under the supervision of the Administration Office of the U.S. Courts. The examination shall consist of written and oral parts. At the present time, languages for which certification have been established are: Haitian-Creole, Navajo, and Spanish.
WHO DO I CONTACT TO INQUIRE ABOUT INTERPRETER CERTIFICATION EXAMS?
Visit the U.S. Courts website: www.uscourts.gov.
WHAT DO I SAY IF A DEFENDANT OR A FAMILY MEMBER ASKS ME A QUESTION I DON'T FEEL IS APPROPRIATE FOR ME TO ANSWER?
Inform the party that you have been hired by the Court and it is inappropriate to engage in general conversation with anyone other than court officials without permission of the Court.
IF I AM UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE COURT TO TRANSLATE FOR A DEFENDANT AND THEN ASKED BY THE PROBATION/PRETRIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT TO ASSIST THEM PRIOR TO COURT, WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT?
If you have assisted someone from the Probation/Pretrial Services Department prior to the court proceeding during the same half-day period, you will still be paid by the Court.
IF I AM UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE COURT TO REPRESENT A DEFENDANT AND THEN ASKED BY AN ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY TO ASSIST THEM AFTER COURT, WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT?
If an Assistant U.S. Attorney requests your assistance after court, then the U.S. Attorney's office is responsible for paying you for that time. Please refer to the U.S. Attorney's Office for information.
IF I AM SCHEDULED TO INTERPRET FOR THE COURT, APPEAR AT THE COURTHOUSE AS REQUESTED, AND THE PROCEEDING IS CANCELLED, WILL I BE COMPENSATED FOR MY TIME?
If the contract court interpreter receives notice of cancellation of a court proceeding at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled proceeding, excluding weekends or federal holidays, no cancellation fee will be paid. If the contract court interpreter is notified of the cancellation less than 24 hours before the scheduled proceeding, excluding weekends or federal holidays, the court will compensate the interpreter with a cancellation fee equal to the applicable half-day rate.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET PAID FOR MY SERVICES?
It usually takes 2-3 weeks to receive payment for services rendered. Interpreters must complete a W9 form in order for the invoices to be processed.
ARE INCOME TAXES OR SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES DEDUCTED FROM MY COMPENSATION?
Income taxes and social security taxes shall not be deducted from a contract interpreter's compensation. Social security benefits for the contract interpreter shall be based entirely on the interpreter's contributions as a self-employed individual, and the Government shall make no contribution as an employer.
DO I HAVE TO CLAIM MY EARNINGS AS AN INTERPRETER ON MY TAX FORM?
Yes. However, you will only receive an Internal Revenue Service 1099-Misc Form from the Court if you have earned $600 or more.
IF I AM REQUESTED BY A COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY TO TRANSLATE AT A JAIL OR ELSEWHERE, HOW DO I GET PAID?
The court appointed attorney should have a CJA-21 voucher for you to fill out. Keep track of your time and mileage. Only one CJA-21 voucher should be submitted per defendant at the conclusion of the case, and not for each occasion that you interpret. After you have filled out the voucher, the appointed attorney will need to sign it, too. The voucher should be submitted to the courtroom clerk of the assigned Judge in the case for approval. The courtroom deputy will then forward it to the financial department for payment. (See Appendix D)