Spanish Interpreter

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Education
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Posted on April 6, 2021

The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides high-quality legal representation to indigent clients. DPD practices in several areas, including felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitment, and contempt of court. DPD also works to address racial disproportionality in the criminal legal system, the collateral consequences of system involvement, and other structural and systemic issues that undermine the rights of our clients. We employ not only attorneys, but also skilled investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and other support staff.

About the Position 
Public Defense Spanish Interpreters perform interpretation and translation services to clients, enabling them to navigate the criminal legal system with their attorney. They perform interpretation of client/attorney jail visits and may provide sight translations as needed. This position requires in-person work with clients who are detained in either the King County Correctional Facility (Seattle) or the Maleng Regional Justice Center (Kent).

To learn more about DPD, please visit our website at:

Who May Apply
This recruitment is open to the public and will be used to fill one Term-Limited Temporary (TLT) position through December 31, 2021. Applicants for the SDA assignment must be current King County employees who have passed their initial probationary period. Special duty applicants must have approval from their current supervisor to accept an acting assignment.
This position will provide services to all four divisions. DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants, such that if you work or have worked for one of DPD's divisions, you may be ineligible for this position. 
Work Schedule
The typical workweek is 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This position is non-exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is eligible for overtime pay with approval from the supervisor.
For more information, contact:
Falisha Forgash
Human Resource Analyst

Job Duties

  • Accurately interprets from and into English and Spanish at client/attorney jail visits, including translating both written and verbal communication. 
  • Provides interpretation services as required in-person and by phone interview conferences at both the King County Correctional Facility (Seattle) and the Maleng Regional Justice Center (Kent).
  • Communicates with attorney and client concerning court proceedings at all stages.
  • Leads two-way telephonic interpretations between attorney and client as required.
  • Performs sight translation of documents that occurs when an interpreter is given a written document in one language and asked to read it aloud in another language.
  • Interprets in consecutive and simultaneous modes from and into English and Spanish in a non-courtroom setting. 
  • Researches and understands terminology used in court and functions of the court, which may include but not be limited to legal, technological, scientific, and/or medical terminology.
  • Maintains absolute confidentiality of work-related issues, client records, and restricted County information.
  • Performs other related duties as required.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • Two years of experience interpreting in a legal environment.   
  • Ability to speak English and Spanish fluently.
  • Advanced knowledge and skill in precise and accurate simultaneous and consecutive interpretation and sight translation, as well as knowledge of which interpreting mode is appropriate for each situation.
  • Ability to accurately convey meaning without editing, summarizing, adding, or omitting meaning, using correct grammar and vocabulary.
  • Familiarity with the general range of regional and cultural variations in Spanish.
  • Ability to interpret accurately and remain impartial, including in adversarial and emotionally charged situations.
  • Advanced knowledge of federal, state and local legislation (RCWs) pertaining to interpreters.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of court procedures, rules, regulations, and practices, including criminal case processes.
  • Advanced knowledge and skill in applying principles, practices, and codes of interpreter ethics, protocol, guidelines, standards, and methodology.
  • Excellent public speaking and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Knowledge and skill in the use of proper English grammar and spelling.
  • Skill in working with diverse populations and/or emotional situations with cultural sensitivity.
  • Knowledge of ability to apply conflict resolution and problem-solving techniques, including resourcefulness, creativity, and quick thinking.
  • Advanced ability to work under pressure, managing multiple priorities to meet competing demands and deadlines and to handle emergencies. 
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with attorneys, employees, other agencies, and the public.
  • Skill in using computers and a variety of software, such as Word, Adobe Pro, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
Desirable Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree in a foreign language or the equivalent in study and experience. 
Licensing, Certification and Other Requirements:
  • Court interpreter certification in Spanish through the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
  • Must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Washington State Driver's License or ability to travel to required destinations.

Supplemental Information

Application Process
Interested individuals should submit a complete online King County application (all blanks must be filled out and may not direct the reader to reference an attached resume or other document. Answers that say "see resume" will be considered as incomplete), a cover letter, and resume.
Selection Process
Materials will be reviewed for qualifications, and the most competitive candidates may be invited to participate in a panel interview process. Applicants may be required to demonstrate their qualifications at the time of the interview and/or skills assessment. Personnel file reviews and references may be conducted for the most competitive candidates prior to a placement decision.
Offer of employment is contingent on: 
The successful completion of references and ability to pass a security clearance and/or background check to secure access to correctional facilities.
Union: The position is represented by Service Employee's International Union, Local 925.

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.
Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.
Guided by our "True North," we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.
King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

Are you a current and/or former King County, Department of Public Defense employee?
  • Yes
  • No
If yes to the above, in which divison(s)? Otherwise, please indicate N/A.
  • Associated Counsel for the Accused
  • Northwest Defenders
  • Society of Counsel Representing the Accused Persons
  • The Defender Association
  • Director's Office
  • N/A
Are you applying to this position as an eligible Current or Previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant AND Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff AND Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County AND I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. AND The position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff

Required Question