The professional knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a federal court interpreter are complex. In addition, communication in courtroom proceedings may be more complicated than in other settings or everyday life. Brookdale Community College alumni Jorge Puerto has been on staff at Mercer County Superior Court for the past six years and has recently passed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination. He is among many students receiving a Judicial and Medical Interpreting Certificate and building a career.

“This is a great accomplishment, and we are proud to say he started his journey at Brookdale,” said Beatriz Craney, an instructor of interpreting courses at Brookdale and founder of Craney Interpreting Services. “Statistics show that only 10% of applicants pass these tests. His vicinage uses our former students to do superior court cases.”

Man with a blue suit and blue tie standing in front of a cement court house building
Jorge Puerto standing in front of the courthouse.

Using competent federal court interpreters in proceedings involving speakers of languages other than English is critical to ensure that justice is carried out fairly for defendants and other stakeholders. Accordingly, fees were raised for court interpreters beginning January 1, 2023. For Federally Certified Interpreters, a full day will be $566, and a half day $320. Professionally Qualified Interpreters will earn $495 for a full day and half a day $280.

“This whole journey has been a most rewarding experience,” said Puerto. “I was able to have a career and I’ve been successful.”

Brookdale is gaining quite a reputation around the municipal courts and even the superior courts for having good, trained students who are now full-time interpreters.

Monmouth County Superior Court Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton was present while some of Brookdale’s former students were interpreting in a county municipal court. Craney received a note from the Deputy Court Administrator that said, “Our county’s top Judge dropped into our courtroom today to see how our session was going with multiple interpreters. She thought it went very well and is going to spotlight us to all of the Judges and court administrators and deputies in Monmouth County.”

Court interpreters work in various legal settings, such as attorney-client meetings, preliminary hearings, arraignments, depositions, and trials. Medical interpreters help patients communicate with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

Since Astrid Ferrer received her certificate as Judicial Medical Interpreter from Brookdale, she began working in the courts and in several hospitals. She has been working full-time for the past three years as a Medical Interpreter, has a National certification for Medical Interpreter, and is a member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).

“Not only was the course both fun and challenging but the teachers’ feedback for improving my interpretation skills was invaluable,” said Ferrer. “They use logical methods of teaching that truly connected and inspired me.”

Before the last class, instructors, depending on schedules, bring in diplomat interpreters, conference interpreters, federal and state interpreter senior managers, language access coordinators, federal renown instructors, and former students to encourage and inspire current students.

Sonia Marcos wanted a career change after being an office manager for 15 years. After hearing excellent comments about the program and meeting the instructors, she knew she was in the right place. Additionally, New Jersey Superior and Municipal Courts judges constantly request Marcos.

She said, “At Brookdale, I learned the Code of Ethics and was trained to go into the field as a professional interpreter. Obtaining my certification with Brookdale opened the door to many job opportunities.”

If you speak Spanish or Portuguese, career opportunities using your understanding of English and a second language are possible through Brookdale’s Continuing and Professional Development certificate programs.

To learn everything you need about the Judicial and Medical Interpreting certificate program at Brookdale Community College, visit or contact Chris Carroll at 732-224-2380 or email