Classification of Foreign (spoken) Language Court Interpreters
a) Certified Court Interpreter
An applicant who has successfully completed Section I and achieves the 70% minimum passing score on each of the three parts of the OPECC pursuant to Section I, step 8 will be considered an Arkansas Certified Court Interpreter.
An individual who achieves Court Interpreter Certification may use the title “certified” in conjunction with his or her name, and his or her name will be listed on the Certification Roster of Arkansas Certified Interpreters and may be added to the Registry of Certified Court Interpreters.
b) Candidate for Court Interpreter Certification
An individual who achieves a minimum score of 60% on each of the three parts of the OPECC will qualify as a Candidate for Court Interpreter Certification. For Arkansas scoring purposes, parts one and two of the sight translation mode are combined for one score; however, if one part of the sight translation is below 55%, even if the combined score is more than 60% the section will not be considered as passing for purposes of becoming a Candidate for Court Certification.
Upon obtaining the status of Candidate for Court Interpreter Certification, at the discretion of the AOC OCIS, a Candidate may be assigned to interpret in Arkansas district courts for short, non-evidentiary hearings. Assignments will be scheduled as close to the Candidate’s residence as possible. Whenever possible, the Candidate may be accompanied by an AOC staff interpreter who will observe the candidate. During this observation period, the AOC staff interpreter will provide the Candidate with interpreting techniques and/or vocabulary to improve skills and offer guidance on courtroom protocol and ethics. The AOC staff interpreter will provide written progress reports to both the Candidate and the AOC Office of Court Interpreter Services (OCIS).
c) Registered Interpreters
Applicants who wish to work in Arkansas state courts in a language for which there is no Oral Proficiency Examination for Court Certification (OPECC) developed by the NCSC, must successfully complete Section I, Steps 1 to 7 and take an Oral Proficiency Interview-computerized in English (OPIc). The OPIc-English is a valid and reliable testing method that measures how well a person speaks the language.
Applicants are required to achieve a minimum score of “Advanced High” on the proficiency scale established by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The fee for the OPIc English is $75.00. Examinees will be notified in writing of a pass or fail result. Testing dates and locations will be announced well in advance.
Once the NCSC has developed an Oral Proficiency Examination for Court Certification in the Registered Interpreter’s foreign language, the interpreter will be notified by the AOC that the test is available and will be eligible to sit for the OPECC at his or her earliest convenience.
Applicants who pass the background check and have achieved AOC court interpreter certification, Candidate for court interpreter certification or registered status must agree in writing to adhere to the Arkansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Foreign Language Interpreters in the Judiciary as established by Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 11.