ALABAMA’S FOREIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER PROGRAM
I. THE ALABAMA ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF COURTS
The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts (“AOC”) is an office created by
Alabama’s Constitution with many responsibilities including the general
administration of Alabama’s Unified Judicial System (UJS). The AOC is located in
The AOC, under the direction of the Administrative Director of Courts, is
responsible for providing centralized administrative support for the proper
operation of Alabama’s state court system. This support includes the development
of procedures and systems necessary for the state courts’ efficient operation,
and the collection and dissemination of information needed for the continued
development of these procedures and systems.
The AOC carries out these responsibilities through a network of specialized
divisions, including the AOC Legal Division. The AOC Legal Division has been
given the opportunity to develop and implement the Foreign Language Interpreter
Program for Alabama’s Unified Judicial System.
II. ALABAMA’S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS
Alabama’s laws and rules require its courts to provide qualified foreign
In 2008, the Administrative Office of Courts adopted Policies and Procedures for
Foreign Language Interpreters. These policies and procedures are not unlike
those adopted and enforced by numerous other states. The AOC’s Policies and
Procedures, found at AOC’s website (www.alacourt.gov) and attached as Exhibit 1,
addresses many interpreter issues, including eligibility, registration,
certification, appointment, responsibilities, compensation, conduct, ethics and
III. CERTIFIED FOREIGN LANGUAGE COURT INTERPRETERS
Under Alabama law, Alabama’s courts appoint qualified foreign language court
interpreters. Alabama’s Policies and Procedures for Foreign Language
Interpreters further identifies the method by which an interpreter becomes
certified, outlines interpreter qualifications and responsibilities, and gives
best practices for providing foreign language court interpreter services.
To become certified, provide court interpreter services and be properly
compensated by the State, the interpreter must first register with the AOC.
IV. HOW DOES AN INTERPRETER REGISTER WITH THE AOC?
An individual who wishes to provide foreign language interpreter services in
Alabama’s courts must register with the AOC by completing and returning a
Foreign Language Interpreter Registration Form and a Criminal Background Check
Form to the AOC (See Exhibit 1).
After an interpreter properly registers with the AOC, the interpreter’s name and
contact information is listed on the AOC’s Foreign Language Services Registry.
This Registry is maintained on the AOC’s website and available to Alabama’s
courts, attorneys and the general public.
An interpreter who wishes to change any personal information on the AOC
Registry, or who wishes to be removed from the AOC Registry, must send a request
in writing to the AOC at the following address:
Administrative Office of Courts Attn: Winthrop (Win) E. Johnson 300 Dexter
Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104
V. HOW DOES AN INTERPRETER BECOME A CERTIFIED INTERPRETER FOR ALABAMA’S COURTS?
A. The following information outlines the steps necessary in becoming a
certified interpreter for Alabama’s courts:
1. REGISTRATION and BACKGROUND CHECK
● An interpreter must register with the Administrative Office of Courts by
completing and returning (1) the registration form and (2) the criminal
background check form. (A Registered Interpreter is paid $25/hour). (See Exhibit
2. WRITTEN EXAM and ORIENTATION SEMINAR
● After registration, a registered interpreter must pass the written exam and
attend an interpreter orientation seminar. After passing the written exam and
attending the interpreter orientation seminar, the interpreter is recognized by
the AOC as a Conditionally Approved Interpreter and is paid $30/hour.
3. ORAL CERTIFICATION EXAM Upon passing the written exam, attending an
interpreter orientation seminar and taking and passing the oral certification
exam, an interpreter will be recognized by the AOC as having achieved one of the
following interpreter certification levels:
● Journeyman Interpreter A Journeyman Interpreter has scored 60% or higher on
the oral exam and 55% or higher on the sight translation portion of the exam. (A
Journeyman Interpreter is paid by the State at the rate of $35/hour).
● Certified Interpreter A Certified Interpreter has scored 70% or higher on the
oral exam and 65% or higher on the sight translation portion of the exam. (A
Certified Interpreter is paid by the State at the rate of $40/hour).
● Certified – Master Level Interpreter A Certified – Master Level Interpreter
has scored 80% or higher on the oral exam and 80% or higher on the sight
translation portion of the exam. (A Certified – Master Level Interpreter is paid
by the State at the rate of $45/hour).
VI. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A CERTIFIED INTERPRETER FOR ALABAMA’S
A. AOC currently charges the following to individuals seeking to become a
certified interpreter for Alabama’s Courts. These costs may increase.
Registration No Cost
2. Written Test $35.00
3. Orientation Seminar $50.00
Oral Certification Test $350.00
VII. WHAT IS A BENEFIT OF BEING A CERTIFIED INTERPRETER?
The qualifications of a certified interpreter will be placed on the AOC’s
interpreter registry and made known to Alabama’s courts, attorneys and to the
general public. Also, Alabama’s courts appoint qualified interpreters and will
seek to appoint certified interpreters listed on AOC’s interpreter registry.