Court Interpreters and Translators


Court Interpreters and Translators


Court interpreters and translators work in federal, state, and local courts and in other legal settings throughout the United States to assist in the communications of non-English speaking participants in the legal process including defendants, litigants, and witnesses in criminal and civil cases. They are bilingual, and proficient in English as well as another language, or in American Sign Language. Court interpreters translate verbal communications in court proceedings, while translators are generally called on to transla...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Any experience interpreting or translation is helpful



Foreign Language


Personality Traits



Earnings for court interpreters vary greatly, with differing rates for those working in federal courts, different state courts, or for agencies such as public defenders, district attorneys, or private attorney’s offices, and significantly higher rates for those with certification.

Most interpreters are self-employed (independent contractors), and are paid on a per diem (day) basis. Work ...

Work Environment

Court interpreters do most of their work in public settings such as courtrooms, jails, juvenile facilities, or in the offices of prosecutors, public defenders, or private attorneys. As part of the criminal or civil justice system, interpreters work side-by-side with attorneys, court personnel, and judges. The high stakes in criminal and civil litigation can make the work environment stressful. ...


Employment for all interpreters and translators is expected to grow 19 percent (much faster than average for all careers) from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). It offers the following employment predictions by job sector:

  • local government: +10.8 percent
  • legal services: +10.7 percent
  • state government: +6.2 percent
  • federal gove...