Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts
Office of Court Interpreting Services (OCIS)

The District of Columbia Courts are committed to ensuring access to justice for individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The Office of Court Interpreting Services (OCIS) provides professional interpreting services at no cost to assist persons having business with the District of Columbia Courts who have limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Please note that OCIS does not schedule real-time captioning, or CART, services; instead, to arrange for those services, please see the contact information for Darlene Ellis at the bottom of the page.

Working with Court Interpreters

Court interpreters are experts in language and trained to render linguistically equivalent interpretation from one language into another. Court interpreters work solely for the Court; they are not parties to a case, they do not have any interest in the outcome of the case and they remain neutral in all matters.

Guidelines and Best Practices When Working with Court Interpreter Download
Language Access Plan Download
Request an Interpreter
If you are a court user, party or attorney in a case appearing in the DC Superior Court:

Please contact OCIS as far in advance as possible, preferably two weeks before the hearing that you wish to have the interpreter attend. It is important that OCIS receive advance notice as the number of available interpreters is limited.

Request an interpreter at: interpreters [at] dcsc.gov

Your request should include as much pertinent information as possible. This should include the language, the case number, the case name, the number of parties involved, and your best estimate as to the length of the proceeding. Requests are submitted through email.

 
If you are a private attorney, CJA/CCAN attorney or a private party seeking a courtesy interpreter referral:

Please see below the courtesy roster of Spanish interpreters and translators in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Please contact the interpreter directly to inquire about availability, rates and qualifications.

CJA/CCAN attorneys – as a further courtesy, the roster also identifies interpreters that are already on the CJA web voucher expert list.

For all other languages, please contact the OCIS at interpreters [at] dcsc.gov for courtesy referrals.

 
Spanish Interpreters and Translators - DC Metro Area Roster Download
Language Access Feedback/Complaint

The Courts and non-English speakers rely heavily on an interpreter's skills, performance, and integrity. For this reason, the DC Courts appreciate your time in providing feedback on what the Court is doing well and about any problems or difficulties you encountered while working with an interpreter or accessing court services in your language.

Are you represented by an attorney?*
Information in Other Languages

 

DC Courts Information Brochure Translations:

Information Brochure: Amharic Download
Information Brochure: Arabic Download
Information Brochure: Chinese Download
Information Brochure: English Download
Information Brochure: French Download
Information Brochure: Korean Download
Information Brochure: Spanish Download
Information Brochure: Swahili Download
Information Brochure: Vietnamese Download
Interpreters

OCIS maintains a roster of qualified freelance interpreters for contract on an as-needed basis. Interpreters must fulfill the following minimum requirements in order to work for OCIS:

Spanish Interpreters

OCIS contracts with interpreters who hold the Federal Court Interpreter Certification administered by the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AOC). Please visit the Administrative Office of the US Courts website for information on the federal certification program.

American Sign Language Interpreters

OCIS contracts with hearing Sign Language Interpreters who hold a national generalist certification recognized by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) with priority given to SC: L. Please visit the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website for information on the certification program.

OCIS contracts with deaf interpreters who hold a CDI with priority given to CLIP-R. Please visit the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website for information on the certification program.

Interpreters of Spoken Languages other than Spanish

Interpreters for languages other than Spanish must hold State Court Interpreter Certification. Please visit the National Center for State Courts for information about the State Certification Program.

OCIS also contracts with interpreters of languages other than Spanish who have passed the US Department of State seminar or conference exams.

If State Court Interpreter Certification or the US Department of State’s seminar or conference exams are not available in your language, you must take and pass a skills assessment administered by OCIS. Please see Requirements for Qualification and Exercises to Prepare for a Skills Assessment for additional information.

Interested persons should send letters, résumés and proof of certification to the attention of James Plunkett, III, Coordinator of Interpreting Services and Language Access at james.plunkett [at] dcsc.gov.

OCIS contracts with hearing Sign Language Interpreters who hold a national generalist certification recognized by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) with priority given to SC: L. Please visit the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website for information on the certification program.

OCIS contracts with deaf interpreters who hold a CDI with priority given to CLIP-R. Please visit the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf website for information on the certification program.

Additional Information

Certification Programs:

 

Associations:

 

Contact
Office of Court Interpreting
Services

(202) 879-4828

500 Indiana Ave NW #6000
Washington, DC 20001

Get Directions
Real-time Captioning

The OCIS does not schedule real-time captioning, or "CART", services. Instead, please see contact:

Darlene Ellis
(202) 879-1016

Assisted Listening Devices

You can obtain assisted listening devices by contacting one of the following:

Alvin Milton or Michael Simms
(202) 879-1016