The SDNY Interpreters Office

The Southern District of New York Interpreters Office coordinates the provision of interpreters and/or translators as needed by the District Court, Pretrial Services Agency, Probation Department or other arm of the court.

Pursuant to the Court Interpreter's Act (28 USC 1827), each federal court is required to provide, at judiciary expense, a certified or otherwise qualified interpreter in judicial proceedings instituted by the United States for a party who speaks only or primarily a language other than English. According to the Act, the United States Attorney's Office is responsible for securing the services of interpreters for government witnesses.

Pursuant to Judicial Conference policy (September 1995), each federal court is required to provide, at judiciary expense, sign language interpreters or other appropriate auxiliary aids and services to participants in federal court proceedings (civil as well as criminal cases) who are deaf, hearing-impaired, or have other communications disabilities.

This site is intended to provide information about the field and practice of court interpreting —also known as judiciary interpreting or legal interpreting— to court personnel, members of the bar and bench, interpreters and the public.

Elena Rich, 1932-2020

We note with great sadness the passing of Elena Rich, who worked as an interpreter in the Southern District for over 20 years. Elena enjoyed a distinguished career as a conference and court interpreter of the highest calibre. Venerated for her matchless professional talent and skill, she was also loved throughout the interpreting community for her human qualities of warmth, kindness and decency. We at the SDNY are deeply grateful to have had her in our lives, and we will miss her always.

SDNY Response to COVID-19

Court operations, including those of the Interpreters Office, have been substantially modified in light of the corona virus pandemic. Official announcements and orders are posted on the Court's website at


Now Publicly Available:  SDNY Interpreter Management Software

Over a number of years, the SDNY Interpreters Office has been developing its own web application for managing a busy court interpreters office. This open-source project has now been published and is freely available to all.

For further information please see

Contract for FY 2021

There is a new contract for fiscal year 2021, which all contract interpreters working in the Southern District of New York are required to sign. Please download, print and complete the Rate and Information Sheet, and return it to:

U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl St.
Interpreters Office - Room 280
New York, NY  10007

The contract for FY2021 goes into effect as of October 1, 2020. The terms and conditions are identical with those of last year's contract.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates

The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced a decrease in the reimbursement mileage rates for privately owned automobiles, motorcycles, and airplanes when used for official travel. The new reimbursement mileage rates went into effect on January 1, 2018, for travel performed on or after that date.

Automobiles:   $0.545 per mile
Motorcycles:   $0.515 per mile
Airplanes:       $1.21 per mile


Per diem rates for contract interpreters

The current per diem rates went into effect on October 1, 2016.