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Court Interpreters


 2018 Testing and Training Schedules


Interpreter Orientation Program

The next two-day orientation program will be held on Saturday April 28th and Sunday 29th, 2018. Attendees must attend both dates of the orientation. The orientation will be held in room UC01-124 of the DMACC Urban Campus1100 7th St, Des Moines, IA 50314. Registrations are coordinated by the Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association ( The deadline for registration for the orientation is 5:00pm on Friday, April 13, 2018.


Written exam schedule (to qualify for Iowa’s roster of court interpreters)

The Spring 2018 Court Interpreter Written Examination will be held on Friday, June 8, 2018. The written test will be held in room UCO1-126 of the DMACC Urban Campus, 1100 7th St., Des Moines, IA 50314. Applications to take the June 8, 2018, written examination must be received by the Office of Professional Regulation no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 25, 2018.

Written Examination Registration Form


Oral Certification exam schedule

The Spring 2018 Court Interpreter Oral Certification exam will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018, at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Ave, Des Moines, Iowa. Applications to take the May 18th exam must be received in the Office of Professional Regulation no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 20, 2018.

Oral Exam Registration Form

The current roster of interpreters may be found by clicking here.

Why Be a Court Interpreter?

Imagine you are residing in a country where the common language is one that you do not natively speak. Now imagine that you have some legal matter which requires you to interact with court staff, lawyers, judges and a legal process that might be completely different than what you are used to. That is the position that most non-native speakers of English find themselves in matters before the judicial branch of the State of Iowa. Iowa courts need knowledgeable and skilled court interpreters to help the judicial system provide help and access to justice for persons with limited English proficiency. The person might be a witness, a party to a proceeding, or even a victim of a crime. Regardless of which it is, they need to be able to understand what is happening and what is being said. That is where a court interpreter comes in. A competent court interpreter should be able to completely and accurately interpret everything that is said in court, without adding or omitting anything.

To achieve this level of expertise, it is not enough that a person speak both languages. Being an approved court interpreter is not a simple job. To be an interpreter you need to have a: 

  1. Native-like mastery of both English and a second language

  2. Wide general knowledge--for example, that which is characteristic of a person with at least two years of college

  3. Extensive vocabularies, including legal terms and slang, in both languages

  4. Excellent memory skills, plus mental and verbal agility

  5. At least some training and experience 

At last count Iowa had more than eighty-five (85) court interpreters on its official roster, yet there is always room for more. If you think you have what it takes to be an interpreter then why not give it a try?  You can learn more how to be trained to be an interpreter and/or translators at Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association or Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters.

If you need additional information or have a question about anything on this website, please feel free to contact us:  

Office of Professional Regulation
Court Interpreter Division
Phone: (515) 725-8029

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