Legal Language Services ranks Arkansas as a state with moderately regulated legal interpreting requirements.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Arkansas

With the exception of misdemeanor and felony arraignments, certified interpreters are required in Arkansas courts.

Please be aware that some counties in Arkansas may have specific legal interpreting regulations in addition to the statewide requirements.

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

There are certified interpreters on the Arkansas registry in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • French
  • Hmong
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Marshallese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Arkansas

The Arkansas Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following three ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has earned a passing score on the Basic Written Language Exam and a minimum score of 70 percent on the Oral Proficiency Exam for Certification, completed orientation and training, and agreed to adhere to the Arkansas Code of Professional Responsibility.
  • Non-Certified Interpreter/Candidate: An interpreter who has completed all the steps toward becoming an interpreter and received a minimum score of 60 percent on the Oral Proficiency Exam for Certification. Candidates may interpret for short, non-evidentiary hearings only.
  • Registered Interpreter: An interpreter who has completed all the steps toward becoming an interpreter except for the Oral Proficiency Exam for Certification.

Common Languages Spoken in Arkansas

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 6.61% of the Arkansas population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 90% of the non-English speaking population in Arkansas speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Vietnamese
  • Laotian
  • Tagalog
  • Hmong
  • Other Pacific Island languages
  • Chinese*
  • Arabic

Other languages spoken in Arkansas include Korean, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Urdu, Portuguese, Telugu, Dutch, Romanian, Tamil, Cherokee, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Pennsylvania Dutch, Persian, Russian, Malayalam, Polish and Turkish.

*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”

Judicial Districts in Arkansas

In addition to the statewide requirements, some counties in Arkansas may have additional legal interpreting regulations.

There are 28 judicial districts in Arkansas that encompass 75 counties:

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

  • 1st Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, St. Francis, Woodruff
  • 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Mississippi, Poinsett
  • 3rd Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp
  • 4th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Madison, Washington
  • 5th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Franklin, Johnson, Pope
  • 6th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Perry, Pulaski
  • 7th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Grant, Hot Spring
  • 8th North Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Hempstead, Nevada
  • 8th South Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Lafayette, Miller
  • 9th East Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Clark
  • 9th West Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Howard, Little River, Pike, Sevier
  • 10th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Desha, Drew
  • 11th West Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Jefferson, Lincoln
  • 11th East Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Arkansas
  • 12th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Sebastian
  • 13th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Ouachita, Union
  • 14th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Baxter, Boone, Marion, Newton
  • 15th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Conway, Logan, Scott, Yell
  • 16th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Stone
  • 17th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Prairie, White
  • 18th East Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Garland
  • 18th West Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Montgomery, Polk
  • 19th East Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Carroll
  • 19th West Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Benton
  • 20th Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Faulkner, Searcy, Van Buren
  • 21st Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Crawford
  • 22nd Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Saline
  • 23rd Judicial District of Arkansas
    Counties: Lonoke

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 Arkansas is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.