For The Public

Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) is committed to providing equal access to court services for all, including Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind (D/HH/DB) individuals, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, ensuring equal access to justice, better outcomes for defendants, and a safer community.

To request an interpreter, please contact the court at (206) 684-5600.

Language Assistance Plan (LAP)

How to Become a Court Interpreter?

What is the Difference Between an Interpreter and Translator?

An interpreter is orally conveying a message from one language to another.  Interpretation is spoken or signed.

A translator is transferring a written text (books, articles, forms) from one language to another. Translation is written.

Court Interpreters are Not

  • Advocates
  • Consultants on culture or customs
  • Helpers with forms and instructions
  • Translators

Code of Conduct for Court Interpreters

Modes of Interpreting

  • Simultaneous Interpreting

The rendering of a speaker's or signer's message into another language while the speaker or signer continues to speak or sign.

  • Consecutive Interpreting

The rendering of a speaker's or signer's message into another language when the speaker or signer pauses to allow interpreting.  

  • Sight Translation

The rendering of a written document directly into a spoken or signed language, not for purposes of producing a written document.

Transcription/Translation

Transcriber/translator is a language specialist proficient in two languages who produces a document that comprises both a source-language transcription and a target-language translation of an audio- and /or video-recorded communication.