Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Hard Work Pays Off for Court Interpreters

These court interpreters are becoming certified during the Third Annual Court Interpreter Certification Ceremony at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

The certification ensures that interpreters working in the courts meet the minimum standards of language fluency and makes it possible for courts to provide the most qualified interpreters.

“It’s a great feat for me. It’s something I’ve worked really hard for. It’s something I’ve been longing to do. It represents the wonderful learning capacity that I once didn’t think I had,” said Marina Camacho, a newly certified court interpreter.

Marina Camacho said she grew up in Mexico City and used to teach English as a second language. Then she came to the United States and one day walked into a courtroom.

“I one day walked in and it was something the spur of the moment, they needed someone,” Camacho said. “I was authorized to interpret in that courtroom setting and I loved it.”

From there Camacho was hooked, and in 2010 she started working towards earning her court interpreter certification.

Bruno Romero, with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Interpreter Services Program, said Camacho’s experience was serendipitous.

He said most bilinguals begin this way as court interpreters and as they continue to be challenged by the profession, they begin to expand their skills and eventually get their skills tested. Romero said it takes about a year to become a certified interpreter.

“It is something they’ve been working for, for a long time actually. Passing the test is difficult so it takes a lot of work and preparation and for them it becomes a meaningful experience,” Romero said.

Romero said there are around 25,000 cases per year that require a court interpreter. He said the certified court interpreters help ensure due process for those who don’t understand English.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor spoke to the newly certified interpreters and noted how more than half of those receiving certificates missed the ceremony because their services were already needed in courtrooms across Ohio.

The Supreme Court began certifying court interpreters in 2010. A new rule requires all Ohio courts to use a certified language or sign language interpreter during court procedures if needed and when available. It went into effect on January 1.