So you took the new federal exam?

August 1, 2009

So, once again, like a rare comet, the federal court interpreter oral examination has come and gone. It won’t be back again for another two years. To those who braved the experience (I myself made an attempt many, many years ago) don’t ruminate about it too much. You won’t have the results for several weeks so it’s no good fretting.

I heard through the grapevine that the test has changed. Now, apparently, instead of three solemn exam raters, a lone proctor administers the test armed with a recorder and a CD player.

Maybe the new method is easier on test-takers, less nerve wracking. If you took the new test, share your experience here. Don’t give away any details (that would be innapropriate)  but feel free to share your experience in general terms. Did you feel you were treated fairly?

6 Responses to “So you took the new federal exam?”

  1. amelia12 Says:


    The legal domain is a very delicate one. So it is understandable that there are examinations.

    We have written about the legal translations in the translations blog of TRUSTED TRANSLATIONS.

    Best regards,


  2. Hmm…

    “I’m not going to tell you whether I am state or federally certified because all you rabid truth-seekers out there would pounce on that clue and try to make something of it.”

    I, for one, would certainly make something of it if you didn’t pass the exam, yet are interpreting in federal court. Your attitude bugs me. There is a reason people are made to take exams. We are talking about people’s lives here, not traffic tickets. I have two functional hands; it doesn’t make me a concert pianist.


  3. Um, I respect certification requirements. I never implied that I don’t.

  4. Stealth interpreter Says:

    A bit late on this post but anyway. I did take the Fed Oral exam (my second time). And yes, the grapevine is right, one proctor and a CD player. Now I have to wait two years to take it again, I guess the feds have so many certified interpreters that they can afford to wait two years to get new blood in their ranks. I was treated fairly, however I think that despite the fact that interpreters reach the mental saturation point at about 20 minutes (see NAJIT paper on team interpreting) the triathlon exam (simultaneous, consecutive and sight) lasts about 40 minutes. You go figure!

    • Ana Vander Leek Says:

      Yes… nothing ever makes sense! I have registered to take the CA oral in January and I am kind of nervous about it. Ana

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