Court Interpreters

• The following information pertains to licensed court interpreters who provide language interpretation services. For information on deaf or hard of hearing interpreters, click here.

The Licensed Court Interpreters program transferred from TDLR to the new Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC) within the Office of Court Administration (OCA). Effective September 1, 2015, all new licensed court interpreter applicants and those licensed court interpreters renewing under the JBCC are required to obtain a one-time electronic fingerprinting through the Texas Department of Public Safety Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) Program.

The one-time cost for this fingerprinting service is a $41.45 fee for the State and National Criminal History Record Information.

View instructions for submitting fingerprints to FAST, and the Licensed Court Interpreter fingerprint application for in-state and out-of-state applicants.

For additional information on the JBCC, please visit their site.

S.B. 966 (83rd Regular Legislature) took effect September 1, 2015 redesignating provisions of the Government Code into newly added Chapter 157, relating to the licensure of court interpreters for individuals who can hear, but who do not comprehend English or communicate in English, to reflect the transfer of the functions of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) related to such licenses to the Judicial Branch Certification Commission.

What does this mean for licensed court interpreters? Since September 1, 2014, licensed court interpreters are licensed by the new Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC), not by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

S.B. 966 removed the definition of “licensed court interpreter” from Section 57.001(5) of the Government Code, and made a conforming change to Article 38.30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The new definition is in Section 157.001 of the Government Code, and the rest of Subchapter C of Chapter 57 of the Government Code (Court Interpreters for Individuals Who Do Not Communicate in English) is relocated to new Chapter 157.

S.B. 966 does not change any of the current rules or procedures for examinations, licensing, continuing education, or the basic/master license designation that took effect in September 2011. The bill does say that a court interpreter’s license issued by TDLR is continued in effect as a license of the Commission, effective September 1, 2014.

H.B. 4445 (81st Regular Legislature) took effect September 1, 2011, creating two license designations: basic and master. A "basic" designation will permit the interpreter to interpret court proceedings in justice and municipal courts that are not municipal courts of record, other than a proceeding before the court in which the judge is acting as magistrate. A "master" designation will permit the interpreter to interpret court proceedings in all courts in this state, including justice and municipal courts.

Interpreters who score at least 60% on each part of the oral examination will be issued the basic designation license. Interpreters who score at least 70% on the oral examination will be issued the master designation license and will be permitted to interpret in court proceedings in all courts in the state. All interpreters must pass the written examination with a score of at least 80%.

According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), those licensed court interpreters who held an active court interpreter license should have been issued a replacement license with the "master" designation on or before August 31, 2011.  If you did not receive your replacement license, contact TDLR at or call at 512.463.6599 or 800.803.9202 with your name, license number, and current address.

Any appointments made prior to January 1, 2012 need not discriminate between the basic or master designation. Appointments made on or after that date must reflect the designations. Section 57.002, G.C.

Court Interpreter's Pre-Certification Orientation

At this time, we do not have an orientation scheduled, but please check back for updates.

TMCEC will no longer be offering 8-hour Court Interpreter programs for already licensed court interpreters.  If you are looking for another provider for your continuing education, the JBCC maintains a list of approved providers.  It can be accessed through JBCC's website here.

TMCEC will continue to offer a listserv for Licensed Court Interpreters.  If you would like to be added to the listserv, you can contact Hope Lochridge by email.  Please indicate in your message that you would like to be added to the Court Interpreter listserv.

Court interpreters provide an essential connection between foreign language-speakers, and the hearing and language impaired, and their access to the judiciary. As of January 1, 2007, licensed court interpreters in Texas are required to present proof of attendance at eight hours of continuing education in order to maintain licensure through the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC).

Two hours must be dedicated to ethics, while the remaining six hours may be taken in one or more of the following topics:

  • Laws and rules affecting the practice of a licensed court interpreter;
  • Ethics;
  • Business practices; and
  • Practice topics (etiquitte, vocabulary, technology, grammar, translation, spelling, etc.). 

Licensed court interpreters are regulated by the JBCC.  Questions about licenses should be addressed to:

Judicial Branch Certification Commission
P.O. Box 12066
Austin, Texas 78711-2066


Looking for a licensed court interpreter?

Click here to search for a licensed court interpreter by city or county. Read Chapter 57 of the Government Code for laws regarding licensed court interpreters. Click here for relevant Code of Criminal Procedure and Government Code sections pertaining to the court's use of a licensed court interpreter. 

Additional resources for Spanish interpreters:

TMCEC has created a Spanish legal glossary for use by municipal courts. It is a combination of the glossary and definitions provided by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for those studying to be licensed court interpreters in Spanish. Some modifications were made to be municipal court specific. Although by no means an exhaustive glossary of all applicable legal terms or the only possible choices for translation, TMCEC hopes this publication will provide a solid base from which our constituents can study, understand basic legal terminology, and improve their communication skills in Spanish. To order this publication, click here.


Waiver of Registration Fees

If an individual, city, or court is unable to pay the registration fee, please write a letter explaining the financial difficulty to the Board of Directors for consideration 45 days prior to the event. Address your letter to TMCEC Board of Directors, c/o Hope Lochridge, Executive Director, 2210 Hancock Drive, Austin, Texas 78756.