Court interpreters ensure language barriers do not morph into legal barriers for people whose primary language is not English. The Nevada Court Interpreter Program was established in 2002 to provide consistent guidelines for access to court interpreters in the state. As the population of Nevada grows and diversifies, and as the economy becomes increasingly global, the demand for legal interpreters is expected to grow.
Nevada courts use interpreters during court proceedings where a witness, defendant, or litigant has Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The role of the court interpreter is to provide written translation of documents or oral interpretation related to a case. Interpreters must not provide legal advice or deviate from direct translation.
Legal interpreters must be highly skilled in multiple areas. A robust knowledge of legal processes and terminology is essential. Interpreters must be fully aware of all laws and ethical considerations governing legal interpretation in Nevada. An ability and willingness to research topic areas relevant to a case to become familiar with terms that may come up in legal proceedings is also valuable. Legal interpreters must be able to complete sight translation (translating orally from a written document) work with extreme accuracy. They also must be able to perform both simultaneous interpretation (speaking at the same time as the client) and consecutive interpretation (speaking after the client) services both from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. The UNLV Legal Interpreter Certificate curriculum offers opportunities to learn and practice all these skills in preparation for state certification exams.
For additional information about state requirements, please visit Nevada's Court Interpreter Program site.
Earn your UNLV Legal Interpreter Certificate
Students must be bilingual in English and Spanish, and proficient enough in both speaking and writing to be cleared for enrollment by the instructor. A pre-program language assessment will be conducted to ensure candidates can fluidly move information from English into Spanish and vice versa, both orally and in writing.
- Introduction to Legal Interpreting
- Legal Sight Translation
- Legal Consecutive Interpreting I
- Legal Simultaneous Interpreting I
- Legal Consecutive Interpreting II
- Legal Simultaneous Interpreting II
Students must be fluent in Spanish and English and must provide proof of proficiency in both languages. Documentation of at least one the following from each list is needed to demonstrate proficiency. Please scan and email all documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. To avoid any potential security risks transferred through unsecured email, please remove references to social security numbers or confidential information on your documents prior to email submission. If you have several documents for one language, please scan them as one file for upload. Files must be received three business days prior to course start. Once documents are accepted, students will be added to the application course 183LA9999A so registration can occur.
If students do not have documents from the list(s) to demonstrate proficiency, students can take the Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc) placement exam through Language Testing International. The ACTFL OPIc is a 30-minute speaking test delivered online or over the phone. The OPIc assesses proficiency across the entire ACTFL scale. The cost of the proficiency test is $95 for each language tested and can be done conveniently from home and on your schedule. Students must have access to a computer with internet, microphone and video capability to take the exam. Download directions on how to access and schedule the exam. Please note, you must choose Exam Level 4 to be evaluated for an advanced-mid level rating. If you do not have this capability but still need to take the exam, please contact us by email at email@example.com or by phone at 702-895-5099.
Students who started the program prior to August 2018 and have earned a passing grade in any of the six courses are exempt from the proficiency requirements.
Evidence of English Proficiency
- A high school diploma, or its equivalent, from an English speaking country.
- Successful completion of extensive coursework at the post-secondary level, resulting in a degree, with the majority of classes conducted in English.
- Time spent studying and/or working in an English speaking country, where you were required on a daily basis to perform tasks at a professional level in English.
- Successfully passing any English language proficiency test from a reputable testing organization
- Successful passage of an established interpreter/translator certification exam (that includes a language-specific performance test), such as:
- The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam (FCICE)
- Any National Center for State Court (NCSC) exam
- Other national or state certification exams, e.g., ATA, BEI, NAJIT, NBCMI, RID, State of Washington Medical Interpreter Certification.
Evidence of Spanish Proficiency (documents must be translated into English)
- A high school diploma, or its equivalent, with classes taught in Spanish (diploma or transcript as long as the country of origin can be established).
- Successful completion of extensive coursework at the post-secondary level, with the majority of classes conducted in Spanish.
- Time spent studying and/or working in a country where the applicant was required on a daily basis to perform tasks at a professional level in Spanish.
- Successfully passing a language proficiency test in Spanish from a reputable testing organization.
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