Facts about the Office of Interpreter Services

Learn some facts and statistics from OCIS about the language access it provides.
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Provided languages from OCIS interpreters

Over 60 languages are generally offered by interpreters

The Office of Court Interpreter Services uses the services of approximately 175 interpreters, of which 24 are full-time staff interpreters. Languages served by staff and per-diem interpreters include Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Cape Verdean, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), Creole/French, Ethiopian, Farsi, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Indian (Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu), Italian, Khmer, Korean, Nepalese, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somalian, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tigrina, Turkish, Twi, and Vietnamese.  

OCIS fills daily requests for foreign language interpreters from approximately 140 court divisions in Massachusetts, including district, juvenile, housing, probate and family, land, and superior courts. It provides interpreters in approximately 35 languages on a daily basis and generally has interpreters in over 60 languages on its list.

OCIS interpreter staffing

Most OCIS interpreters undergo rigorous screening, introductory orientation and mentoring before being assigned to court. They are first assigned to interpret in court as Screened Interpreters. OCIS certification process requires they work for at least one year as professional court interpreters before they apply for certification.

The other requirements for certification are:

  • Observation of interpreting in court
  • Confirmed compliance with their Code of Professional Conduct
  • Passing grade in a written diagnostic test (80%)
  • Passing grade in an oral interpreting proficiency exam, if available (70%) 

Certification is not available in all languages. Some interpreters who meet all certification criteria, but for whom no oral exam is available, are “qualified” as Certified Interpreters.

If an interpreter isn't available in a requested language, the Trial Court has contracted with LanguageLine, a service that provides interpreters over the telephone in many foreign languages. LanguageLine may be used for intake interviews at the probation department, at clerk and registry counters, and for arraignments or other simple, short proceedings. It takes only a few minutes to set up the conference call, and all you need is a speaker telephone. Please email the OCIS at languageaccess@jud.state.ma.us for assistance with the call number and user ID you will need to set up the call, or for additional information.

The OCIS at times contracts the services of previously approved interpreter companies in cases where an interpreter is needed in person, but none is available on the OCIS list.

Contact

Phone

(to leave a message)

Online

For general questions: languageaccess@jud.state.ma.us
For requests for Spanish language access: spanishaccess@jud.state.ma.us
For requests for language access for Languages Other Than Spanish (LOTS): lotsaccess@jud.state.ma.us

Address

Two Center Plaza, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

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