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How did you get started as an interpreter?

I started court interpreting when I worked as a legal researcher at the regional trial courts in the Philippines. These courts are similar to the superior courts in California. These are so-called courts of record and English is the language used.

A court interpreter in Tagalog is a regular job position in the regional trial courts. The court interpreter calls the cases and is crucial during trials when there are testimonies to be heard and recorded. Interpreting is done in the consecutive mode. Sight translations are also needed to translate the complaint/information from English to Tagalog to the defendant, who either does not speak any English or has limited English proficiency.

As a legal researcher, there were numerous times I had to interpret in the courtroom, from arraignment and trial to sentencing, whenever the court interpreter was not available. I am grateful to the late Judge Maximiano Asuncion who gave me the opportunity to train and develop my skills on the job. Since almost all of the Philippine lawyers are bilingual, you can expect corrections every now and then from the fiscal/prosecutor, public defender and the judge.

If you would like information on interpreting, different modes of interpretation, skills-enhancing techniques, and how to become certified/registered as a court interpreter in California, please visit: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/courtinterpreters/documents


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