Spanish Interpreter

Federal Defender Office   Fresno, CA   Full-time     Education
Posted on March 22, 2024

Fully Certified Spanish Interpreter

The Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California is accepting applications for a Spanish Interpreter in its Fresno Office. The Federal Defender Office operates under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to defend persons unable to afford counsel in federal criminal cases and related matters in federal court.

Primary Job Duties: The Spanish Language Interpreter must be fully fluent in the Spanish language and fully able to accurately interpret/translate all forms of verbal and written communications. Proficiency in consecutive and simultaneous communications is required, including some familiarity with geographically based slang and colloquialisms. Case-related interpretation includes, but will not be limited to, letters, court documents, transcripts, expert reports, and audio recordings. Oral interpretation requirements include communications during client and client family visits, jail visits, phone calls, and witness interviews. The Spanish Interpreter is required to maintain all client and case confidences.

Our Spanish Language Interpreter is a critical part of the defense team, working closely with our attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and assistant paralegals. They must demonstrate considerable resourcefulness, initiative, creativity, self-motivation, tact, and discretion. They may meet with clients, family members, and witnesses in the office, in jails or by telephone, and help review discovery by interpreting/translating:

  • Legal documents, correspondence, transcripts, treaties, psychological, medical and other forensic reports and records, foreign documents, statutes, rules and guidelines, and other case-related documents;
  • Audio and video recordings; and
  • Expert interviews such as by psychologists, psychiatrists, polygraph examiners, sociologists, and other forensic experts retained by the Office on the client’s behalf.

You may need to draft and write reports, evaluate translations and Spanish-speaking skills of others based on your experience (including the idioms and dialects), and effectively use electronic and computer tools in your work. Additionally, you may help the team develop sentencing evidence by identifying cultural, mental health, environmental, and social mitigating factors. We expect our interpreters to remain impartial in all situations, interpreting accurately and completely, without regard to the content of the communication. Occasional overnight travel may be required.

Requirements and Qualifications: Candidates must possess excellent oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work well in a team. Candidates must also work independently and take initiative. Candidates must possess skill using electronic investigative tools and technology.

Spanish fluency is required. California Court Certification and/or American Translator Association certification and at least 3 years specialized experience is required. Federal Court Certification is strongly preferred. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license. The position occasionally requires spending extended periods driving or riding in a car or sitting in court.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship. Selected candidate will be subject to a background check as an employment condition. Applicant must be able to analyze, evaluate, apply, and follow relevant policies and procedures to office operations, exercise good judgment, and possess general knowledge of office practices and legal processes.

Salary and Benefits: Contingent on experience and type of certification, the starting salary range is between JSP grades 11 and 14, currently $72,758 - $122,544. Federal Defender employees are considered “at-will” and are not covered by the Civil Service Reform Act. This is a full-time permanent position. Federal government benefits apply, including retirement, health, life and long-term insurances, Thrift Savings Program and flexible spending accounts. Direct deposit of pay required.

To apply, please submit in a single Adobe pdf file a cover letter, résumé, all interpreter certifications/licenses, three references, a writing sample, and a completed Application for Judicial Branch Employment form (AO78),, to the following email:

The Office of the Federal Defender is an equal opportunity employer. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.

Applicants will need to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations (per the Centers for Disease Control’s definition of “up to date,” by their start date, with proof provided.