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Is It a Scandal? Federal Court Certification Takes a Hit

The title of Tony Rosado’s latest blog for The Professional Interpreter is: 2017: The Biggest Stain in U.S. Court Interpreting History.

True? Exaggerated? Or an impassioned screed?

The facts, as far as we can tell, are these.

  1. The U.S. court interpreter certification exam is the toughest certification test for interpreters in the country—and perhaps the world. (Official pass rate? Between 4 and 5 percent…)
  2. A vendor named Paradigm got the contract to administer these exams through the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC).
  3. In 2017, Paradigm botched the testing process. Independent analysis shows that nearly one-third of the exams could not be accurately scored.
  4. AOUSC was silent on the matter for months.
  5. AOUSC then sent out a first letter to 2017 candidates last February, and a second letter on April 27, 2018, explaining the situation and offering a free retake to candidates whose results were botched and those who failed.

However, no one is reimbursing the travel costs or other expenses for those candidates.

I hear conflicting stories about the events from experts “in the know.” One feels that Rosado is too harsh. Another states that the situation, regarding the vendor, is even worse than the blog reports.

Just wait. Soon we’ll know more…


Article originally found in INTERSECT weekly update from May 11, 2018.

Related to: Interpreter/Translator News, Legal Interpreters

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