Interpreter Services

Seattle Municipal Court provides interpreter services, free of charge, to limited English proficient (LEP), deaf and hearing-impaired persons.

Language Assistance Plan

The court is guided by Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 2.42 and 2.43 and the Language Assistance Plan (LAP) for the Municipal Courts of King County. 

Washington State law secures the rights of deaf persons and of other persons who because of impairment of hearing or speech are unable to readily understand or communicate spoken English and who consequently cannot be fully protected in legal proceedings unless qualified interpreters are available to assist them.

Washington State law secures the rights of persons who because of a non-English speaking cultural background are unable to readily understand or communicate in English and who consequently cannot be fully protected in legal proceedings unless qualified interpreters are available to assist them.

Code Of Ethics

Per General Rule (GR) 11, the use of qualified interpreters is authorized in judicial proceedings involving hearing impaired or non-English speaking individuals.

The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to establish and maintain high standards of conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of the adjudicative system.

Washington State Interpreter Commission

The Washington State Interpreter Commission serves as a policy making and advisory body to Washington Courts, including the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), concerning court interpreters and language assistance in general. The Commission sets policy for the courts and the Court Interpreter Program, which is responsible for interpreter certification, registration, testing, continuing education, training, and discipline. The Commission is also responsible for strategic planning and working with educational institutions and other interpreter program stakeholder groups to develop resources to support court interpreting in Washington.

How To Become a Court Interpreter

Being a credentialed (certified or registered) interpreter shows courts that the interpreters have demonstrated their ability and competency to interpret in a court setting. To become credentialed, interpreter must:

  • Pass a written exam
  • Attend an orientation class
  • Pass an oral exam in 3 modes of interpreting (to become Certified)
  • Pass language proficiency interview (to become Registered)
  • Attend a class on ethics and protocol
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Take the interpreter oath

You will find additional information on becoming a Certified or Registered Court interpreter by going to the Washington Courts website.