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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Hawaii

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

Hawaii offers certification in 12 languages:

  • American Sign Language
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Ilocano
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Hawaii also offers a registration credential to interpreters of the following languages:

  • Bulgarian
  • Burmese
  • Cebuano
  • Chuukese
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Khmer (Cambodian)
  • Kosraean
  • Marshallese
  • Pohnpeian
  • Samoan
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Tongan

Classification of Interpreters in Hawaii

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

  • Certified Master Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 80 percent on a three-part oral exam, passed a written exam, passed a basic ethics test, passed a criminal background check and attended a two-day basic orientation workshop.
  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 70 percent on a three-part oral exam, passed a written exam, passed a basic ethics test, passed a criminal background check and attended a two-day basic orientation workshop.
  • Approved Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 60 percent on a three-part oral exam, passed a written exam, passed a basic ethics test, passed a criminal background check and attended a two-day basic orientation workshop.
  • Conditionally Approved Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 60 percent on an abbreviated oral exam, passed a written exam, passed a basic ethics test, passed a criminal background check and attended a two-day basic orientation workshop.
  • Registered Interpreter: An interpreter who has passed a written exam, passed a basic ethics test, passed a criminal background check and attended a two-day basic orientation workshop.

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

Common Languages Spoken in Hawaii

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 25.59% of the Hawaii population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 86% of the non-English speaking population in Hawaii speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Tagalog
  • Ilocano
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Hawaiian
  • Korean
  • Other Pacific Island Languages
  • Samoan
  • Vietnamese

Other languages spoken in Hawaii include Cantonese, French, Tongan, German, Bisayan, Mandarin, Laotian, Thai and Portuguese.

Judicial Districts in Hawaii

There are five judicial districts in Hawaii, one for each county: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai and Maui. Certification requirements in Hawaii are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Hawaii interpreters who 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 Hawaii is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.