Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Kentucky

Regulations for legal interpreters in Kentucky differ from those in other states. Legal Language Services ranks Kentucky as a state with moderately regulated legal interpreting requirements.

Your legal interpreter must have the appropriate level of certification that meets your language needs. This is especially true if you require an interpreter who will be working in a courtroom. This does not mean, however, that you should hire a certified interpreter for every situation.

Whether or not an interpreter is certified — let alone the level of certification — will have an effect on how much you are charged for legal interpreting services. Due to the added cost of certified professionals, it may not be a sound strategy to use certified legal interpreters if certification is not legally required for your proceeding.

In fact, some situations may not benefit from certified interpreters. In particular, where subject matter expertise and/or special skills are required, certification may be a secondary consideration in securing a competent interpreter.

As previously noted, non-certified legal interpreters in Kentucky can provide professional interpreting services at a more affordable price. As in other states, a certified interpreter will command a higher fee for legal interpreting services. Prices will be affected based on the level of certification.

Legal Language can help you determine the best interpreter, certified or otherwise, for your legal interpreting needs in Kentucky.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Kentucky

Kentucky has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.

Kentucky state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification in Spanish based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

While Spanish is the only language in which a legal interpreter can be certified, Kentucky has exams to qualify legal interpreters in eight other languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

Classification of Interpreters in Kentucky

The Kentucky Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored at least 70 percent on both a three-part oral exam and a two-part written exam, completed a two-day orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility, taken Kentucky’s Interpreter Oath and passed a criminal background check.
  • Qualified Level I Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored at least 60 percent on both a three-part oral exam and a two-part written exam, completed a two-day orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility, taken Kentucky’s Interpreter Oath and passed a criminal background check.
  • Qualified Level II Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored at least 60 percent on some portions of the three-part oral exam and a two-part written exam, completed a two-day orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility, taken Kentucky’s Interpreter Oath and passed a criminal background check.
  • Registered Interpreter: An interpreter who works in a language other than Spanish and has not achieved qualified status but has met minimum requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified or qualified interpreter is not available.
  • Provisional Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored 80 percent or above on the English Proficiency Exam and between 55 and 64.9 percent overall on the Certification Exam, completed a two-day orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility, taken Kentucky’s Interpreter Oath and passed a criminal background check.

Not all venues in Kentucky require certified interpreters, even for Spanish-language cases. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Judicial Districts in Kentucky

There are 60 judicial districts in Kentucky that encompass 120 counties. However, certification requirements in Kentucky are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Kentucky interpreters that meet state interpreting rules for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.

Please Note

The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information about legal interpreting guidelines in Kentucky is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.