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The Licensed Court Interpreter examinations may be taken at several locations around the state. Once you meet all eligibility requirements, you will receive an eligibility postcard from PSI. The postcard contains instructions for registering and scheduling examinations. You should obtain the Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) which provides you with detailed information about the examination administered by PSI.Licensed Court Interpreter exam information for Fiscal years 2003-2012 (34kb PDF)
A Practice Oral Examination Kit is now available through the National Center for State Courts. The kit includes an instruction manual, a CD with audio files containing the practice exam and a sample passing performance on the examination and hard copies of the test scripts.
The kit is designed to provide candidates with a step-by-step process to increase their understanding of what a real Consortium examination is like and to increase a person's level of skill and readiness to take a Consortium exam.
- Examination Descriptions
- Exercises to Aid Interpreters
- Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB)
- Examination Languages and Other Examinations
- Interpreters' Impact on Legal Proceedings (from Michigan Courts)
Psychological Services Inc. (PSI) administers LCI examinations for TDLR. Written examinations are offered at 17 locations in Texas. Oral examinations are offered at 4 locations in Texas. For general information about PSI, go to the company’s website at www.psionline.com. For information about the PSI testing program, go to www.psiexams.com.
Licensed Court Interpreters must take written and oral examinations which are developed by the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification part of the National Center for State Courts. The written examination measures the candidates' English comprehension and knowledge of court terms. The oral examination measures the candidates' interpreting skills and is given at one sitting in three parts which are recorded.
The written examination is a 3-hour exam with 135 multiple choice questions. The exam consists of three sections:
- general language proficiency,
- court related terms, and
- ethics and professional conduct.
The examination is designed to test your proficiency in the English language and does not contain any foreign language questions. Your foreign language proficiency will be tested during the oral examination. Candidates should study the Overview of the Written Examination to be fully prepared for the written examination. To help you become familiar with the types of questions you will see on the examination, we have provided you with some sample questions.
Part 1 - Sight Interpretation
You will be given six minutes to review and interpret a typewritten page from English into the target language.
You will be given six minutes to review and interpret a typewritten page from the target language into English.
The exercises outlined below will help you develop skills in sight translation. Practice them in all your working languages.
Part 2 - Consecutive Interpretation
You will be given 22 minutes to complete this portion of the exam. This part of the examination is administered as a role-play of the questioning of a witness by a lawyer.
The consecutive portion will simulate a trial setting in which an English-speaking attorney asks questions of a witness speaking in their targeted language. The candidate will be the interpreter from English to the targeted language and from the targeted language back to English. Parts of this portion of the examination always include examples of lower register speech, including profanity and idiomatic usage.
Consecutive interpreting requires intense listening of a few sentences followed by an accurate interpretation of what was said. The interpreter will often take notes to help in the interpreting process, especially if the utterances are long. Consecutive interpreting is usually bi-directional between two languages, for example interpreting Spanish to a listener in English and then interpreting the English reply back into Spanish.
Part 3 - Simultaneous interpretation
This part of the examination is 8 minutes long and requires the candidate to listen to and simultaneously interpret a recorded speech of a Lawyer. The candidate wears a set of headphones to listen to the recording and speaks aloud so that her or his performance can be recorded.
The speech is entirely in English, and the interpreter interprets into the target language as would be required to assist a defendant during a trial that only speaks the target language.
- Enroll in university level courses in a country where the language is spoken;
- Read widely, using a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words;
- Read any of the following:
- Major newspaper editorials and articles, as well as news items related to legal matters and law enforcement,
- Laws, codes, international treaties and conventions, contracts, and other legal writings,
- U.S. court documents such as indictments, sentences, probation and police reports,
- Notarized documents such as wills, contracts, powers-of-attorney, birth and death certificates,
- Practice translating texts related to legal matters,
- Brush up on grammar,
- Expand your vocabulary,
- Become familiar with court proceedings,
- Take a court interpreting course.
Stand in front of a mirror and read passages aloud from any book, newspaper, or magazine. A legal textbook, code book, or other legal text is useful for familiarizing yourself with legal language. Record or videotape yourself and analyze the outcome critically. Pay attention to your voice, pitch, tone, hesitations, signs, projection, enunciation, and posture.
Practice controlling your emotions while reading aloud texts with high emotional content, such as fear, anger, humor, etc. Make sure you convey the author's intended emotions and not your personal reaction to the subject matter.
Practice speaking before a group of people at every opportunity. People you know will constitute a less threatening audience and will allow you to ease your way into public speaking and build your confidence. Court interpreting is an ongoing exercise in public speaking.
Build up your reading speed and your vocabulary by reading as much as possible in many different fields.
Analyze the content of each text and practice picking out the subject and verb to determine the core meaning.
Example: Although less influential than in Argentina, migration from Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries affected the development of Chilean political culture. Subject: migration; Verb: affected.
The following exercises are designed specifically to build the dual tasking skills involved in simultaneous interpreting. They should be practiced daily for about a half hour at a time. Simultaneous interpreting skills must be acquired over time to allow for maximum familiarity.
Have someone record passages from magazines or newspapers on tape, or record radio or television talk shows or interview programs (news broadcasts are not suitable for these exercises because the pace is too fast and the content is too dense). The subject matter of these passages is irrelevant, but it should not be too technical or contain too many statistics and proper names. Essays and opinion columns are good sources of texts for recording. As you play back the tape, "shadow" the speaker: repeat everything the speaker says verbatim. Try to stay further and further behind the speaker, until you are lagging at least one unit of meaning behind.
Once you feel comfortable talking and listening at the same time and are not leaving out too much, begin performing other tasks while shadowing. First, write the numerals 1 to 100 on a piece of paper as you repeat what the speaker says (make sure you are writing and speaking at the same time, not just writing during pauses). When you are able to do that, write the numerals in reverse order, from 100 to 1. Then write them counting by 5s, by 3s, and so on. Note what happens whenever numbers are mentioned in the text you are shadowing.
When you are able to do exercise 2 with minimal errors, begin writing out words while shadowing. Begin with your name and address, written repeatedly. Then move on to a favorite poem or a passage such as the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (always choose a passage in the same language as that which you are shadowing). When writing this text, you should copy from a piece of paper placed in front of you. Do not try to write the passage from memory while shadowing the tape.
While shadowing the tape as in the previous exercises, write down all the numbers and proper names you hear. Then play the tape back and check to see if you wrote them correctly.
Information on testing and how applicants may schedule an exam at PSI is listed in the Licensed Court Interpreter Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) available for download in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format from PSI's web site.
The Department is a member of the National Center for State Courts Consortium and offers the examinations that are developed by the Consortium. Currently the Consortium has developed examinations for:
- Turkish, and
If you wish to become licensed in a language other than those shown above, the Department accepts oral examinations offered by the following entities as satisfying the oral examination requirements:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
- Language Line Services (800) 752-0093,
- Lionbridge (888) 241-9149, extension 3966.
If you have already taken an interpreting examination, the Department accepts the written and oral examinations offered by the following entities:
- Member states of the National Center for State Courts Consortium,
- National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT),
- Federal Court Interpreter Certification (916) 263-3494.