Florida and most states have a court interpreter certification program. Notice that this program only certifies and provides a list of interpreters as opposed to translators. This means that these individuals will be able to orally interpret in court proceedings, but not necessarily able to translate documents (which is a very different skill set).
Now, even though other countries may enjoy a regulated authority that mandates who can interpret at court proceedings and though this “Court Interpreter Certification Board” does seem to be headed in the direction of it being the centralized authority on interpreter regulation, it is not yet as powerful as it may one day come to be.
What do I mean?
The regulations or proposals established by this Certification Board, which functions as a dependency of the Supreme Court of Florida are taken very much as suggestions by the Judges and not as a rule. Their administrative rules seem to govern and impose on any individual that wants to work as an interpreter. Its rules state things like, the interpreter shall do this, the interpreter shall do that, yet it never states any obligation whatsoever on the courts.
Maybe this is a good thing, in that excessive regulation in the field may render judges powerless. Even following the existing regulation, judges would be left without any interpreters for hundreds of proceedings statewide. I explain.
Currently, there are hundreds of civil and criminal court proceedings in languages of lesser diffusion, meaning languages that are not very common. There are no registered or certified interpreters in these languages.
If interpreters were to follow existing regulation and register and pass an orientation to only then be able to interpret at a single hearing, then the judiciary would come to a standstill. It would not be cost-effective to register a single interpreter for a one-time event and the process would take months or even years while waiting for the next published orientation and/or examination date.
Perhaps it is a good thing that judges have been given ample flexibility as to the selection of interpreters.