Online Interpreter School: Immigration Vs. Legal Interpreting Classes


Online interpreter school can involve a specialization in any subject- from legal, to medical, to immigration interpreting classes. It can even be as general as specializing in community interpreting, or not selecting a specialty at all. It really all depends on what environments you want to work in and the work you want to accomplish. Do you want to help Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals seek justice? Or do you see yourself working in hospitals? The key here is playing to your strengths: if you are great at typing, you might be able to find a position in your home state as an interpreter who works as a court stenographer through an online 40-hour court interpreter course. If you are more interested in assisting LEP adults through their court proceedings, becoming a certified immigration interpreter would be better suited for the kind of work you want to accomplish.

Curious how to get started and become a certified interpreter? WATCH the video below:


If you already know the area you want to specialize in, you are one step closer in becoming an interpreter. While it is true that there is a lot of overlap between legal and immigration interpreting, the two are different for a few key reasons:


Immigration Interpreters Have a Different Set of Protocols

Online Interpreter School

The protocol- or rules- for immigration interpreters is different than in legal interpreting, and every interpreter must understand them well enough to explain to a Limited English Proficient (LEP) client. Quality certified immigration interpreters must have a clear and strong understanding of the government issued rules & requirements for green cards, citizenship, asylum seekers and so much more. Legal interpreters have a responsibility to understand the specific codes and regulations for legal proceedings. Think of it this way: a surgeon can specialize in cardiovascular, neuro, or trauma surgery. You wouldn't go to a heart surgeon if you had a brain tumor and vice versa. While there is a lot of overlap because both are surgeons, they have a different speciality and must have a deeper understanding of those particular organs and how they function.


Legal Interpreters Have Different Vocabulary

Our legal or court interpreting training involves mastering a different set of vocabulary than immigration interpreters. Bilingual folks who sign up for our online 40 hour legal interpreting class learn a different vocabulary than students in an immigration interpreting class because they are different subjects. Different subjects require a different vocabulary due to the fact that they are different areas of focus. Legal interpreters must understand general legal terminology, and immigration interpreters must understand immigration terminology.


Each Class Learns Different Procedures

With online interpreter school, there are different procedures that must be understood before becoming certified in legal interpreting or immigration interpreting. The courts have specific procedure that interpreters must follow just as immigration interpreters have a different set of procedures they must learn before taking on clients.


Although court interpreters are interpreting just like medical, immigration and community interpreters are, the syllabus is different because they are different areas of specialization. While a heart surgeon might do a good job, they hopefully wouldn't be a first choice for removing a brain tumor. They have different ares of speciality, different techniques to master on their respective organ. Interpreting is built on the same concept: while immigration interpreters are dealing with legal issues, immigration law is its own area of expertise. In addition to online training, we provide on-site interpreter training for small groups that can be customized to address your employees individual needs. If you or someone you know is interested in our online Legal or Immigration Interpreter Training Programs with live instructors or on-site, our classes are offered in SpanishPortugueseArabicRussianChineseHaitian Creole or Vietnamese languages.

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