The Court Interpreter Certification Board (the Board) has filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court proposing amendments to the Florida Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters. The amendments are in response to the Commission on Trial Court Performance and Accountability’s November 2010 Recommendations for the Provision of Court Interpreting Services in Florida’s Trial Courts, at 26, which suggested rule amendments may be needed in order to: (1) encourage interpreters to become certified; (2) strengthen the provision of court interpreting services; (3) better assist judges in ensuring the most qualified interpreters are selected for court proceedings; and (4) eliminate the disparity and variance in standards that currently apply to state certified interpreters versus duly qualified interpreters and other lesser skilled individuals.
The Court invites all interested persons to comment on the proposed amendments, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/proposed.shtml. All comments must be filed with the Court on or before May 15, 2013, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the Board Chair, Ronald N. Ficarrotta, 401 North Jefferson Street, Room 122, Tampa, Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The Board Chair has until June 5, 2013, to file a response to any comments filed with the Court. If filed by an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar, the comment must be electronically filed via the Portal in accordance with In re: Electronic Filing in the Supreme Court of Florida via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC13-7 (Feb 18, 2013). If filed by a non-lawyer or a lawyer not licensed to practice in Florida, the comment must be electronically filed via e-mail in accordance with In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004). Electronically filed documents must be submitted in Microsoft Word 97 or higher. Any person unable to submit a comment electronically must mail or hand-deliver the originally signed comment to the Florida Supreme Court, Office of the Clerk, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1927; no additional copies are required or will be accepted.
IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES FOR CERTIFICATION AND REGULATION OF COURT INTERPRETERS, CASE NO. SC13-304
FLORIDA RULES FOR CERTIFICATION AND REGULATION
OF SPOKEN LANGUAGE COURT INTERPRETERS
Rule 14.100. Definitions
(a) Certified Court Interpreter. An interpreter who has completed
(b) Language Skilled. A designation reserved for interpreters who have completed all requirements in accordance with these rules, but who are seeking certification in a spoken language for which there is no state-certifying examination, such persons holding a valid certificate issued by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(c) Provisionally Approved. A designation reserved for interpreters of spoken languages for which a state-certifying examination is available, who, although not yet certified, have passed the oral performance exam at a lesser qualifying prescribed level and hold a valid certificate issued by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(d) Duly Qualified Interpreter. An interpreter who
(f) Compliance Period. The two-year period beginning upon official designation as a certified, language skilled, or provisionally approved court interpreter.
(h) State-Certifying Examination. A full or abbreviated board-approved oral performance examination designed to objectively measure whether candidates possess the minimum levels of language knowledge and fluency and interpreting skills required to perform competently during court proceedings.
(i) Written Examination. An initial qualifying or screening examination designed to measure a candidate’s literacy in English, familiarity with, and usage of, court-related terms, and/or knowledge of matters regarding interpreter ethics and related professional conduct.
(j) Full Oral Performance Examination. An oral examination which measures language knowledge and fluency in both English and non-English languages, as well as the ability to successfully render meaning in target and source languages in simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation, and sight translation of documents.
(k) Abbreviated Oral Performance Examination. An oral examination assessing functional proficiency to competently interpret simultaneously in court from English to a non-English language, and prerequisite to which candidates must satisfy board-approved oral proficiency interviews in both English and non-English languages.
(l) Oral Proficiency Interview. A standardized language proficiency interview assessing functional speaking ability in both English and non-English languages.
(m) Modes of Court Interpretation. Simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation, and sight translation of documents in a court setting.
Rule 14.110. Court Interpreter Certification Board
(a) Board Composition. The Court Interpreter Certification Board is created to supervise
(2) three circuit court judges;
(3) three trial court administrators;
(5) one state certified court interpreter.
(b) - (d) [No Change]
(f) Duties. The duties of the board shall include:
(6) performance of such other assignments relating to provision of spoken language court interpreting services as may be directed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
(g) Fees. The board shall have the authority to recommend to the supreme court such fees as the board may deem necessary to permit it to carry out its duties, including, but not limited to, orientation fees, examination fees, application fees,
(h) Records; Registry. The board shall maintain records and minutes of its meetings and all other official actions. It shall also maintain a record of all continuing education
(i) [No Change]
Rule 14.200. Qualification
(a) Exclusive Designations. Individuals providing court interpreting services shall be designated certified court interpreters, language skilled, or provisionally approved upon qualifying in accordance with these rules. As a descriptive term employed in relation to the provision of court interpreting services, “duly qualified” refers exclusively to those persons who are certified or language skilled, or, if a certified or language skilled interpreter is unavailable, a provisionally approved interpreter.
(b) General Prerequisites. Unless otherwise provided, all applicants completing prerequisites for
(7) submit an application for certification, language skilled, or provisionally approved designation and enclose an initial application fee in an amount set by the supreme court.
Rule 14.205. Certified Court Interpreter Designation
(a) Preferred Appointment. The certified court interpreter designation represents the highest qualified state-level interpreter designation and shall be the preferred designation when selecting court-appointed interpreters, arranging for contractual interpreter services, and making staff hiring decisions.
(b) Requirements. Applicants seeking designation as a certified court interpreter must:
(1) pass a full oral performance examination approved by the board, unless qualifying for a waiver of the examination requirement under rule 14.210, or, in the event a full oral performance examination is unavailable, pass a board-approved abbreviated oral examination and demonstrate functional speaking ability in English and non-English languages through oral proficiency interviews as a prerequisite to taking the abbreviated examination and qualifying for certification;
(2) meet all general prerequisites under rule 14.200; and
(3) complete the process leading to designation within two years following the orientation required under rule 14.200(b)(1), unless extended by the board in exceptional circumstances.
(c) Court-Employed Interpreters. Applicants who are selected as employee interpreters, but who are not certified at the time of court employment, shall become certified within one year of being employed in a court interpreting position. The one-year requirement may be modified by the board on a case-by-case basis, if necessary, only in exceptional circumstances.
Rule 14.210. Waiver of Examination Requirement
(a) Federal Certification. Upon presentation of proof satisfactory to the board, the oral
(b) Reciprocity. Upon presentation of proof satisfactory to the board, the examination requirement shall be waived for anyone who has passed an equivalent examination in another state, if in accordance with board-approved requisites.
Rule 14.215. Language Skilled Designation
(a) Preferred Appointment. The language skilled designation represents the highest qualified state-level interpreter designation next beneath full certification and shall be the preferred designation over non-designated interpreters when selecting court-appointed interpreters in the area of the language skilled individual’s linguistic expertise.
(b) Requirements. Applicants skilled in a spoken language for which there is no state-certifying examination may seek designation as language skilled interpreters upon:
(1) passing an approved oral proficiency interview in English and the non-English language as an assessment of functional speaking ability; and
(2) meeting all general prerequisites under rule 14.200.
(c) Conditional Designation. In the event a language-specific state-certifying examination becomes available, language skilled interpreters shall be required to take and pass the certifying examination within two years of notice of its availability. Failure to become certified within this two-year period shall result in loss of the language skilled designation, unless the board approves an extension in exceptional circumstances.
(a) Requirements. Individuals not yet certified in spoken languages for which a state-certifying examination is available, but who have taken the oral performance exam, may be designated as provisionally approved upon:
(1) scoring a minimum 60 percent on each section of the oral exam and an overall 65 percent or greater;
(2) meeting all general prerequisites under rule 14.200; and
(3) completing the process leading to designation within two years following the orientation required under rule 14.200(b)(1), unless extended by the board in exceptional circumstances.
(b) Loss of Designation. Following designation as a provisionally approved interpreter, if the interpreter fails to become certified within two years, or within one year if the individual is employed in a court interpreting position, the interpreter will forfeit the designation unless the board approves an extension in exceptional circumstances.
Rule 14.225. Issuance of Certificates
Upon satisfactory completion of the specified requirements, the board shall issue a certificate for each official designation which shall include an
Rule 14.230. Renewal of Certificates
(a) Renewal. Once issued, the certificate for certified court interpreters shall remain renewable unless suspended or revoked by the board. The language skilled designation may also be renewed conditioned upon continued unavailability of a state-certifying examination in the language for which this designation has been granted. Absent an extension of time granted only in exceptional circumstances, failure to become certified within two years, or one year for anyone employed in a court interpreting position, will result in forfeiture of a provisionally approved designation.
(a) Assignments. Each certified, language skilled, and provisionally approved court interpreter shall complete 20 law-related professional interpreting assignments, or a lesser number of assignments totaling no fewer than 40 hours, every two-year compliance period. Interpreters unable to complete this requirement because of a limited need for interpreting services in their language may be eligible, upon written request and board approval, for an extension of time or exemption. Officially designated state-level court interpreters who are employed by the courts in court interpreting positions may, in lieu of reporting discrete law-related professional assignments, provide proof of court employment and an affidavit averring compliance with this requirement.
Rule 14.300. Professional Conduct
Each certified, language skilled, and provisionally approved court interpreter, as well as court-appointed individuals providing interpreting services because of the unavailability of officially designated state-level court interpreters, shall act in a professional manner in keeping with the Code of Professional Conduct as set forth herein. Failure to adhere to the Code may lead to disciplinary action. Disciplinary action is at the discretion of the board.
Each certified, language skilled, and provisionally approved court interpreter, as well as court-appointed individuals providing spoken language interpreting services on a regular or recurring basis because of the unavailability of officially designated state-level court interpreters, shall be subject to the disciplinary provisions under this part.
Disciplinary action may be undertaken against a court-appointed interpreter holding no official state-level designation only in circumstances suggesting intentional disregard for impartiality or fairness of the proceeding. A presumption of bias arises if, having been apprised of his or her role and having subsequently been cautioned by the court, an interpreter persists in altering or omitting statements made on the record or otherwise acts in a manner potentially prejudicing the proceeding.
Rule 14.405. Suspension or Revocation
A certificate issued
(a) - (d)
(e) fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining or renewing
(f) noncompliance with rule provisions directing completion of law-related professional interpreting assignments or continuing education requirements; or
Rule 14.410. Disciplinary Procedures
(a) [No Change]
(b) Facial Sufficiency. If a majority of the investigative committee, after an in-person or conference call meeting, finds that the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of these rules, it shall send a copy of the complaint identifying the rule or rules alleged to have been violated to the
(c) Response. Within 30 days of the issuance of a finding of facial sufficiency, the
(g) No Hearing Demanded. A proposed disposition issued pursuant to subdivision (f)(ii) shall become final unless the
(h) Hearing Demanded. If the
more than 90 days from the date of notice pursuant to subdivision (f)(iii) or of the court interpreter’s demand pursuant to subdivision (g).
(i) Legal Representation. The
Rule 14.420. Disciplinary Hearings
(a) - (c) [No Change]
(d) Hearing Procedure. At the hearing, both the hearing panel and the
(e) [No change]
(f) Finality of Decision; Rehearing. Unless the
written decision, a copy of which shall be sent to the
Rule 14.430. Disciplinary Dispositions
(a) Burden of Proof. If the hearing panel finds that there is clear and convincing evidence that the
(b) Vote Required; Notification. All decisions of the hearing panel shall be by majority vote, in writing and, if adverse to the
(c) Sanctions. Sanctions may consist of one or more of the following:
(1) - (4) [No Change]
(5) a requirement that specified continuing education courses and/or additional law-related professional interpreting assignments be
(6) - (8) [No Change]
(9) suspension of
(10) revocation of
Rule 14.440. Confidentiality of Disciplinary Proceeding
Rule 14.450. Reinstatement