Spoken language interpreters play a vital role in ensuring due process and helping court proceedings function efficiently and effectively. The Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC), of the Office of Court Administration (OCA), licenses court interpreters.
While the courts are responsible for locating and scheduling language interpreters, the OCA Language Access Department can provide resources and information to facilitate the courts' use of interpreters. OCA also operates the Texas Court Remote Interpreter Service (TCRIS), which provides licensed court interpreters in Spanish, French, Portuguese and German at no cost to courts, via telephone and videoconference.
Please contact the OCA Language Access Department at (512) 463-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a Licensed Court Interpreter in Texas
Search for licensed court interpreters from JBCC's online certification and licensing system. You may search for interpreters by county by clicking on (+) Address information, and results can be exported to Excel by clicking on Generate Excel.
State Statutes & Rules
See the Texas Constitution and Statutes website for applicable state statutes:
- Texas Government Code, Ch. 57 - Subchapter A addresses appointment of court interpreters for foreign language speakers upon a party's motion, a witness' request, or the court's own motion. Subchapter B establishes the program for certifying court interpreters for hearing-impaired individuals at the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.
- Texas Government Code, Ch. 157 - Establishes the program for licensing court interpreters for spoken languages at the Judicial Branch Certification Commission.
- Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 38.30 - Addresses appointment of an interpreter in a criminal proceeding when a person charged or a witness does not understand and speak English.
- Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 38.31 - Addresses appointment of an interpreter in a criminal case when a defendant or witness is deaf.
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code - Chapter 21 addresses interpreters for signed and spoken languages.
See Texas Judicial Branch Rules & Standards for the following documents:
- Texas Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 183 addresses appointment and compensation of an interpreter.
- Texas Rules of Evidence - Rule 604 states, "An interpreter must be qualified and must give an oath or affirmation to make a true translation."
Texas Court Remote Interpreter Service
OCA's Texas Court Remote Interpreter Service (TCRIS) provides licensed court interpreters in Spanish, French, Portuguese and German at no cost to Texas courts. The services are available for use in all case types for short, non-contested and non-evidentiary hearings that would typically last 30 minutes or less.
Please visit the Self-Help section of our website for information for persons who do not have a lawyer. The information is not legal advice and does not take the place of talking to a lawyer.
- Texas Law Help - Information about different areas of the law for people who are handling their own simple civil legal matter. It also has a Chat service that allows the user to chat with someone who can help.
- Texas Court Help - Videos and other information in English and Spanish about going through the court system, including information about how to find a lawyer, where to find forms, and how to get ready to go to court.
- Texas State Law Library Consumer & Self-Help Information - The State Law Library web site has Self-Help information, forms, and links. Its Ask a Librarian feature allows users to get legal information from a librarian by email.
Federal Laws, Regulations & Guidelines
- Federal Department of Justice's Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, 67 Fed. Reg. 41,433 (June 18, 2002)
- Advises recipients of federal financial assistance to take "reasonable steps to provide meaningful access" to their programs and activities by persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
- Sets out four factors that recipients should consider in determining the steps to take and mix of services and states that "[a]t a minimum, every effort should be taken to ensure competent interpretation for LEP individuals during all hearings, trials, and motions during which the LEP individual must and/or may be present."
- Encourages recipients to develop a written plan on language assistance for LEP persons and suggests elements of an effective plan.
- Limited English Proficiency web site (LEP.gov) - Federal interagency web site with information and resources on providing language assistance to LEP individuals
Language Access Plans
Model Language Access Plans
The plans adopted in various Texas counties may serve as models for development of a language access plan.
Texas Census Information
These links may be used to obtain census data for the entire State and/or a county:
- Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC) - The Judicial Branch Certification Commission licenses court interpreters and maintains a current list that can be used to find an interpreter in a particular area of the state.
- Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) - State agency resource for interpreting and translating services if a Texas licensed court interpreter on the JBCC list of licensed court interpreters is unavailable. (Use their Search box to search for "Interpreter".)
- Interpreter Locator Listserv for Courts (OCA) - This free OCA resource helps court personnel find spoken language interpreters when there is none available from the JBCC Licensed Court Interpreters list. Any Texas judge, court coordinator, administrator or other court staff member who is responsible for scheduling interpreters can e-mail the OCA Language Access Program at email@example.com to join. Please title your e-mail "Join Listserv," and in the body of the message include your name, title/position, court, city, ZIP code, county, e-mail address and phone number. A reply e-mail with instructions will be sent.
- Judges' Guide to Standards for Interpreted Proceedings (NCSC) - This guide for judges can be found in Chapter 6 of Court Interpretation: Model Guides for Policy and Practice in the State Courts, published by the National Center for State Courts.
- I Speak card - A tool for identifying the language of individuals who do not speak English.
- Limited English Proficiency web site (LEP.gov) - Federal interagency web site with information and resources on providing language assistance to LEP individuals.
- State Interpreter Certification (NCSC) - The Consortium for Language Access in the Courts' section of the NCSC web site.
- Standards for Language Access in Courts (ABA) - Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates on February 6, 2012.