Virginia's Judicial System

Translation Section Overview - Written Screening Examination

A court interpreter is considered a "language expert." Therefore, it is important that candidates for the oral State Court Interpreter Certification Exam have a college-level command of both languages.

The translation portion of the written test consists of 10 items that the candidate is required to translate into the target language.

The written translation test is graded on a pass/not pass basis and each test is rated and reviewed by two federally-certified interpreters. Candidates who do not pass will receive a comment sheet with examples their errors.

The legal vocabulary on the translation exam is limited to those legal terms with which the general public would be familiar.

Important Instructions to Remember:

Please print your translations. If a word is illegible it will be marked incorrect.

  • Do not give more than one translation for any word.
  • Do not write in all upper case letters.

What areas are considered when the exam is rated?

  • grammar and syntax
  • accuracy of translation
  • command of general and legal vocabulary
  • spelling and correct placement of accents

Sample items

  • The following are representative of the length and difficulty of the translation exam items.
  • The truck sideswiped the car while the motorist was trying to jumpstart his vehicle on the shoulder of the highway. He was told at the body shop that it would cost over $1,500 to pound out the dents.
  • The victim's family identified his corpse in the morgue on the night of the drive-by shooting. The witnesses will receive subpoenas to appear in court for the first hearing.
  • There were many things missing from my carport when I returned home. They included an electric screwdriver, a sawhorse, a dolly and some sheets of plywood. A police report has been filed
  • Many women suffer from the so-called "battered woman syndrome." Courts are becoming more sensitive to these kinds of cases. The county has set up several shelters for abused women.
  • Ms. Myers said that she observed the defendant pull the trigger of the gun before he fled. She also testified that she remembers that the barrel of the gun was about eight inches long.