Interpreter FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Federally Certified Interpreter?
A Federally Certified Court Interpreter, or FCCI, has passed a federal court interpreter certification exam for the Spanish language and has met requirements (if any) to maintain certified status.
Who pays for the services of an interpreter in federal court?
In all judicial proceedings instituted by the United States that require the appointment of an interpreter, the cost of the court-appointed interpreter will be paid by the United States from appropriations available to the judiciary, except that the Office of the United States Attorney is responsible for securing the services of such interpreters for government witnesses. For a detailed description of which proceedings qualify for appointed interpreters, please refer to sections (a) and (j) of the Court Interpreters Act. When defense counsel require the services of an interpreter away from the courthouse, they should make arrangements to contact, contract, and pay the interpreter themselves.
When does a case qualify for a court-appointed interpreter?
Interpreters may be appointed only for defendants (or defense witnesses) in proceedings instituted by the United States. Interpreter services for all other proceedings must be provided and paid for by the parties to the case.
What about interpreters for Languages Other Than Spanish, or LOTS?
For information on securing the services of an interpreter for a language other than Spanish, please contact a Staff Interpreter in the division where the case is set.