This page concerns interpretation in the courts. There are details of when and how interpretation takes place and how to become a court interpreter.

In order to deal with cases correctly and fairly, the court can appoint an interpreter. This can be necessary when one or more of the principals in the case speak a minority language.  The costs will be paid at public expense in cases with free process and in all criminal cases. The interpreter’s costs will be paid in other civil cases when the court finds it necessary to use an interpreter in pursuance of section 35 of the Courts of Justice Act (link to because one or more of the parties cannot speak Norwegian if that party is not a Norwegian citizen or a foreign citizen resident in Norway.

Who pays?

The costs for an interpreter can also covered at the public expense if the court deems it reasonable. This applies when the court has found it necessary to use an interpreter because one or more of the witnesses or experts cannot speak Norwegian, or because one or more of the parties cannot speak Norwegian and is a foreign citizen non-resident in Norway.

How interpretation is performed

Interpretation in court can be performed in several ways. For example, the interpreters can be seated in a separate interpreter box and provide simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings in court. If the accused in a criminal case does not understand Norwegian, he can hear the interpreter's translation using earphones (simultaneous interpretation). Another option is the interpreter standing by the side of a witness giving evidence, for example. If the witness does not speak Norwegian, he can speak a sentence at a time in his own language which the interpreter will then translate into Norwegian (consecutive interpretation).

Want to become a court interpreter?

The Norwegian Courts Administration (NCA) service works with the Directorate of Integration­ and Diversity (IMDi) on quality assurance for interpretation. This is organised by the IMDi through enrolment tests for interpretation training and specialist subject interpreter courses.

If you want to be enrolled in the National Register of Interpreters, please contact the IMDi for details of courses. For information on the qualifications necessary to be registered in the National Register of Interpreters, please refer or the IMDi.

The NCA encourages anyone who wants to be a court interpreter to apply for details of training courses in this field. Remember that suitably qualified interpreters are given priority for court assignments above unqualified interpreters.

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