Category Archives: Court interpreting


News flash! Court interpreting raise!

OSTI thanks the Oregon Courts for a rate increase for Court Interpreters!

Kelly Mills, Program Manager for Court Language Access Services (CLAS), recently announced that, “Based on the State of Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast (released on June 3, 2016), OJD court interpreters holding OJD Certification or OJD Registered credentials will receive an hourly rate increase of $3.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.”

Click here to see the letter sent by CLAS to Court Interpreters on June 13, 2016.

On June 23, Kelly Mills followed up with this clarification:
“Because there were no increases in 2014, 2015, or 2016, the $3.50 dollar amount is based on the application of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during those years. The implementation date is based on the state budget cycle and economic forecast. The OJD is committed to periodically reviewing rates and making regular adjustments based upon inflation, market competitiveness, and availability of state funds and resources.

OSTI thanks CLAS for acting on this issue in a timely fashion. Our first OSTI blog post, on July 13, 2013, was about the last rate increase, which had been the first one since 1995. We appreciate this commitment to a periodic review of rates paid to court interpreters. This commitment supports the sustainability of court interpreting as a profession.


How can I become a licensed translator or interpreter in Oregon?

Recently, one of our readers asked this question and we thought others might benefit from this answer.

In Oregon, the steps to obtaining health care interpreting certification are listed here while information on becoming a certified court interpreter is available here.

OSTI strives to announce all trainings available for interpreting and translation at the OSTI calendar page. It’s also worth pointing out that many courses offered by the Oregon Court interpreting program are beneficial not only to court interpreters, but to those wishing to improve their medical interpreting skills as well.

There is no translation license in the United States. The American Translators Association has a certification process of its own for translators interested in strengthening their resume in this way. OSTI has a study group that is preparing for the ATA certification exam, and we have put together a wealth of information on how to get ready for it here.

There is more information on translation and interpreting certifications on the OSTI website.


How to work with an interpreter

Both interpreters and users of interpreter services can take proactive steps to ensure that a session stays on track. Professional interpreters follow certain protocols to ensure this, and users of interpreting services can elicit these protocols when they are not followed. Interpreters provide their services in a variety of fields, so the examples provided come from several fields to illustrate these principles. Interpreting is interpreting, as Holly Mikkelson says.

I have interpreted the following exchanges in some sessions:
– You surely must have understood what you were doing when you signed this document. After all, you were working with an interpreter!
– Well, they interpreted for me, but I didn’t really understand that this is what it would mean!

How can we reduce the likelihood of this situation?

First, I introduce myself as an interpreter and make these statements:

– I am the voice of the interviewee in English and the voice of the investigator in Spanish.
– I am not there to explain or clarify anything, but I am there to help them both communicate clearly.
– I am there to interpret everything: insults, joy, side conversations, everything.

Continue reading


OSTI 2015 Conference coming soon!

Fall Greetings!

This is Erin, member of OSTI’s Continuing Education Committee and one of the organizers for our 2nd annual conference Building the Vocabulary of Success on October 9th (evening only) and 10th (all day). The big event is just three weeks away so you will want to act soon before prices go up. Continue reading


New! Victims have a right to a court interpreter

According to HB 2339, the Court is now required to appoint an interpreter when it is necessary to interpret open court proceedings for a victim who seeks to exercise his or her rights or to attend or participate in proceedings.

See the following memorandum, from the Court Language Access Services, regarding the court interpreters’ responsibilities.
2015 06 29 CLAS Interpreting for Victims

We applaud the Oregon Legislature, as it endorses quality language access for victims!


California Advocacy

The California Workers Compensation Intepreters’ Association is launching an advocacy drive. They are developing categories of interpreters similar to the Certified and Qualified categories we have in Oregon, to provide better service to their community. See their proposal on this page, and submit your feedback. They would like the support of their Oregon counterparts!


OSTI starts the year with a guest from Argentina

– Can we leave? I want to get there early to find a place to park…-

To start 2015 with a bang, the first translators and interpreters meeting was held on January 2nd on a cold and rainy typical Oregon´s afternoon. While we thought we would learn something of interest, we found that the evening there was fun, and a delicious dinner with warm soup helped us overcome the weather.

The inspiring words of Clelia Chamantropulos, a master in the art of language who turned those hours of conversation turn into seconds, left us with an appetite for linguistics. Colleagues and friends were very happy and enthusiastic since it was Friday.

We went through issues right away:

– Neutral Spanish or Neutral Castilian?
– We must not to get into unnecessary trouble: Avoid local jargon, slang, idioms and go from classical words to classical terms.
– Warning! Phrases like “Una mujer es como capullo de aparador” where the word “capullo” (rosebud) could be interpreted in different ways.
– The interpreter/translator must be multicultural and take the time to learn what the meaning of the word is “From here to Timbuktu”.

Well, we went from the colloquial oral and/or written language to the medical language, where the “Libro Rojo” (Red Book) by Fernando Navarro made its triumphant appearance and each one of us held it for a few moments… Even the “mulas” (mules) were subject of conversation and the language is not sexist!
Words kept coming, one after another.
The first ruling was made:
“People that are seeing a text think that the same number of words needs to be there to know the text is correct”.
And the game of confusion begins:
“Asesoría vs Consultoría” (Advice vs Counseling).
“El Suscrito vs Yo” (The undersigned vs I).
“Consideración vs Consideration”.
“Español vs Castellano” (Spanish vs Castilian).
“Empoderamiento vs Facultar/Atribuir” (Empowerment vs authorize/attribute).
“Sufragio efectivo no reelección” (“Effective suffrage, no re-election”)

So we had to go back to what we already know, and Sergio Viaggio, interpreter and Argentine UN translator, says: ”Depende del Contexto” (It depends on the Context)

At the end of the day we are guilty of “the social circumstances of the moment” with which we will respond to an unknown number of goof-ups (as Paty would say) that we deal with day in and day out.

The interpreter/translator needs a daily dose of updating in any manner that he wishes to take it: training, conferences, movies, magazines, general reading. “The meaning does not reside in the words but what the idea that is being transmitted with words”.

– Can we leave? I want to go to bed early because I work tomorrow…-

Guest post by Laura Orozco