Requirements for Sign Language Interpreters

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Requirements for Sign Language Interpreters to Work in Arkansas Courts

Sign Language interpreters who want to be listed on the Arkansas Registry of Certified Court Interpreters must be able to work and provide interpreting services to Arkansas state courts and are required to complete the following requirements before being eligible to interpret in any Arkansas court proceeding.

 

An applicant must hold one of the following certifications from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID): SC:L, NIC, NIC-A, NIC-M CI, CT, NAD V, CDI, and/or Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) Court Interpreter Certification and/or Level V Intermediary, and provide documentation of at least 30 hours of formal legal interpreter training.

 

1) Application Process

 

An applicant must be at least 21 years old and have the legal right to live and work in the United States. Applicant must complete and submit to the AOC a notarized copy of the Personal Information Form for Arkansas Court Interpreters and must attach:

 

  • a recent passport photo;

 

  • current Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) membership and/or Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) annual certificate renewal; and,
     
  • Arkansas license as pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §20-14-801. 

 

Any applicant whose application is denied shall be promptly notified.

 

2) Orientation

 

Upon completing application process requirements, an applicant must register for the Orientation. Each applicant must successfully complete an orientation training. The Orientation is designed to familiarize the applicant with the Arkansas court system and provide instruction on the role of the interpreter and the skills and ethics required of an interpreter in the courtroom. The Orientation is one of several steps involved in the initial training of a court interpreter.

 

Participants will attend the Orientation at their own expense and must pay a non-refundable registration fee of $200.00 to cover materials and the processing costs for the exams. Dates and locations will be announced well in advance.

 

3) English Language Assessment Exam 

 

On the final day of the Orientation, the applicant must take the English Language Assessment Exam, which is an objective, multiple choice test developed under the auspices of the National Center for State Courts.

 

Before coming to the Orientation, each applicant will receive a copy of Administrative Order No. 11, Arkansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Foreign Language Interpreters in the Judiciary and the Overview of the English Language Assessment Exam. These documents should be studied in preparation for taking the English Language Assessment Exam. The Code is an important component of the test.

 

English Language Assessment Exam:

Part I - English Proficiency

Part II – Court-Related Terms & Usage and Ethics and Professional Responsibility

 

A passing score is a combined score of 80% on Parts I through II of the English Language Assessment Exam.

 

This exam will be waived for those applicants who possess the following certifications: RID SC:L and/or BEI Court Interpreter Certificate and/or Level V Intermediary.
 

4) Background Check Release Form

 

Interpreters who achieve a passing score on the English Language Assessment Exam must complete and submit a notarized Background Check Release Form, allowing the AOC to request a background check of the applicant from the Arkansas State Police.

 

5) Code of Professional Responsibility 

 

Applicants who pass the Background Check and have successfully completed Section II, steps 1 through 4 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.

 

6) Classification of Sign Language Interpreters

 

An applicant who has successfully completed Section II, steps 1 through 5 will be considered an Arkansas Court Qualified Sign Language Interpreter and may be added to the Arkansas Registry of Certified Court Interpreters.

 

7) Renewal of credentials

 

It is the responsibility of an Arkansas Court Qualified Sign Language Interpreter to update the OCIS with his or her annual RID membership and/or BEI annual certificate renewal and annual Arkansas license. Lapse of any of these will result in removal of the interpreter’s name from the Registry of Interpreters.