General Information

Parties and witnesses involved in Sacramento County Superior Court cases may ask Court staff to make court interpreters available to them for courtroom proceedings in all case types and for case related activities such as mediation and self-help workshops in some case types. Court interpreter services are free.

Court interpreters help parties and witnesses understand what is taking place in court so they can fully participate. Court interpreters do not help parties complete or file court documents, provide legal advice or refer parties to attorneys.

Court interpreters should be requested as early as possible to make sure that they are available when needed. Waiting to request a court interpreter may result in court proceedings being postponed because an interpreter is not available.

Languages for Which Interpreters are Regularly Available in this Court

The Sacramento Superior Court employs court certified / registered interpreters that are fluent in the following languages. Its Court Interpreter's Office also contracts with over 125 contract interpreters who provide interpreter services in over 60 other languages.

  • American Sign Language*
  • Armenian
  • Dari
  • Hmong
  • Lao
  • Mandarin
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese

*The Court provides sign language interpreters, real time reporting and assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired for jury duty and for all other proceedings, regardless of the type of court case.

Obtaining Interpreter Services

Interpreters are available to assist you in the court proceedings identified below. It is recommended that you request a court interpreter as early as possible before the proceeding the interpreter is needed for, to ensure interpreter availability. Untimely requests for interpreters may result in interpreter unavailability and unnecessary delays in your court proceedings.

  • Appeals Cases
  • Civil Cases
  • Criminal Cases
  • Family Law Cases
  • Jury Service Center
  • Juvenile Delinquency Cases
  • Juvenile Dependency Cases
  • Probate Cases
  • Restraining Order Cases
  • Small Claims Cases
  • Traffic Cases
  • Unlawful Detainer (Landlord/Tenant) Cases)

If an interpreter is required outside the court, you may obtain the services of a court certified or registered interpreter who is authorized to provide interpretation services in California by selecting one from the list available at - external link. Payment for these services is the responsibility of the party requesting the interpreter.

Types of Interpreters

Court interpreters may be certified, registered, or provisionally qualified.

  • Certified: State certification for court interpreters requires the ability to meet minimum performance standards in consecutive and simultaneous interpretation of both English and the foreign language of certification, the ability to perform sight translation of written material and knowledge of correct usage of legal terminology. The Judicial Council of California has designated fourteen languages as "certified" languages: Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. To become a Certified Interpreter, an interpreter must pass the Court Interpreter Certification Exam and must fulfill corresponding Judicial Council Requirements.
  • Registered: The court requires interpreters of languages for which there are no state certification examinations to complete an extensive questionnaire, provide letters of reference regarding their skills, submit a resume and demonstrate skills in simultaneous, consecutive interpretation and sight translations. Registered Interpreters are required to pass a written exam, the Oral Proficiency Exam in English and the Oral Proficiency Exam in their non-English language.
  • Provisionally Qualified: A Judge approves a need for exotic languages such as Mongolian, Marshallese, etc. Interpreters must have completed the written exam, ethics training, and qualified under Rule 2.893 California Rules of Court - external link.

How to Become a Court Interpreter

If you are interested in becoming a court interpreter, please see the information available at - external link. You may also contact the Court's Interpreter Coordinator at (916) 874-8455.

The Complaint Process

If you have a complaint about access to language services, you may submit a complaint by visiting - external link, where you will find instructions and forms in several languages.

The Language Access Representative will review and respond to all interpreter and language access complaints. The Court takes all complaints about language access very seriously and will address the concerns in an appropriate manner.

Please be aware that the Interpreters’ Office of Sacramento Superior Court does not have the authority to change or modify any decision made by a judicial officer and that its review of the complaint does not, in any way, affect or extend any applicable deadlines or procedural requirements such as filing motions, appeals, modifications, etc.