Kentucky’s Court Interpreter Certification Process consists of a series of steps that must be completed in sequential order; candidates may only advance to a new step after successfully fulfilling the requirements of each preceding step. All steps may be completed in as little as 6 months during what is called a “Testing Cycle”. The AOC offers two full Testing Cycles per calendar year (January-June, July-December). If a candidate is unable to complete the certification process within one full Testing Cycle, the candidate has the option of participating in the following Testing Cycle in order to continue working towards certification. If a candidate in unable to complete the entire certification process after two consecutive Testing Cycles, the candidate must return to Step 1 of the process and fulfill all requirements again starting from the beginning.
STEP 1. Pass a Background Check
To begin the certification process, interpreter candidates must pass a background check conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). In order to initiate the background investigation, candidates must fill out and send in the forms entitled “Criminal Background Check” (AOC-INT-4) and ‘Information Form’ (AOC-INT-5), both of which can be found on our website.
This is the first step in the process, and applicants will not be able to advance to step 2 until receiving clearance from the AOC. AOC background checks are typically completed within one month from the time of submission of the appropriate form.
STEP 2. Submission of Professional Credentials
Submit proof of RID Certification and Kentucky Interpreter License
Submit proof of Passing the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) ***only applies to interpreting students interested in Legal Interpreting***
- SLPI Advanced or better required to proceed onto Step #3 only
- Applicants with RID Certification and KY Interpreter License move onto Step #4
STEP 3. Complete Part 1 of the Orientation Workshop
Part 1 of the orientation workshop is designed to introduce all interpreter candidates to the profession of court interpreting in a language-neutral setting. Topics covered during this initial, 1-day orientation include a general overview of the profession of court interpreting, a high level overview of the Kentucky Court of Justice, an in-depth discussion about becoming a court interpreter in Kentucky, the three modes of interpreting and materials for continued development, and Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility for practicing interpreters. There is a $50.00 participation fee to attend Part 1 of the orientation workshop. Interpreter candidates can find the dates for upcoming orientations and make payment online. Applicants may only attend part 1 of the orientation workshop after successfully completing steps 1 and 2.
STEP 4. Submit proof of RID Certification AND full Kentucky Interpreting License per KRS 309.301
Only submit proof if it was not completed in Step 2
STEP 5. Complete Part 2 of the Orientation Workshop
Part 2 of the orientation workshop is designed as a last-minute prep course for individuals that are expected to begin interpreting in Kentucky’s courts in the very near future. While many of the topics will be presented in a language-neutral format, specific content and hands-on exercises may also be offered using a language-specific approach when feasible. Topics covered during this 1-2day training include a general overview of the Kentucky Court of Justice and interaction with a judge, pragmatic protocols and procedures for court interpreters, court interpreter ethics, including the role of the interpreter. Participants will also take part in several hands-on training exercises geared towards helping them use their linguistic and court interpreting knowledge in real-life applications. There is a $50.00 participation fee to attend Part 2 of the orientation workshop. Part 2 of the Orientation Workshop will also count towards the required hours of Court Observation.
Interpreter candidates can find the dates for upcoming orientations and make payment online Applicants may only attend part 2 of the orientation workshop after successfully completing steps 1 through 5.
STEP 6. Complete the required Hours of Court Observation
After successfully fulfilling the requirements outlined in steps 1 through 5, interpreter candidates may then complete the remaining hours of court observation under the supervision of a certified staff interpreter. This final round of court observation is intended to be similar to ‘on-the-job training’, and it is during this time that interpreter candidates really learn what the job entails and how to perform their duties efficiently within the scope of the parameters set by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Depending upon the needs of the Kentucky Court of Justice, the AOC may allow interpreter candidates to accumulate their final 20 hours of court observation (or some portion thereof) while working (and receiving remuneration) as a certified court interpreter. After completion of this step, and upon verification of completion of steps 1 through 6, the AOC shall classify the interpreter candidate as a ‘Certified Interpreter’ and list any such individual in the AOC Directory of Interpreters.
Depending upon the needs of the Kentucky Court of Justice, the AOC may allow interpreter candidates to accumulate their final hours of court observation (or some portion thereof) while working (and receiving remuneration) as a certified court interpreter.
Interpreter candidates must also complete and submit the forms entitled “Acceptance of the Kentucky Certification Policy” (AOC-INT-3) and the “Acceptance of Interpreter Oath and Code of Professional Responsibility” (AOC-INT-6), both of which can be found on our website.
The AOC Directory of Interpreters includes the name and contact information of all Certified and Registered court interpreters. If you wish to have your name and contact information listed on this directory you must submit a completed “Release Form” (AOC-INT-7). The form is found on our website.
If you have questions regarding Kentucky’s Certification Process for American Sign Language Interpreters, please feel free to contact Court Interpreting Services at (502) 573-2350.
We wish you the best of luck as you work towards certification!