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

In addition to statewide requirements, some legal venues in Illinois require that legal interpreters be certified by specific organizations. 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.

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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Illinois

The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) administers a statewide training and certification program. The components of the Illinois Language Access Program are based on model policies developed by the Council of Language Access Coordinators, but were modified to meet Illinois’s needs.

Illinois offers certification in 22 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Lao
  • Mandarin
  • Marshallese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Illinois

Illinois classifies legal interpreters in the following 3 ways:

  • Unregistered Interpreter: An interpreter who has only completed the two-day orientation program.
  • Registered Interpreter: An interpreter who has completed the two-day orientation program, received a passing grade on the NCSC written exam, and signed the Oath of Office.
  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has completed the two-day orientation program, received a passing grade on both the NCSC written exam and the NCSC oral exam, passed a criminal background check, and signed the Oath of Office.

Not all venues in Illinois 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 Illinois

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 21.74% of the Illinois population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 82% of the non-English speaking population in Illinois speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • Polish
  • Tagalog
  • Chinese*
  • German
  • Korean
  • Arabic
  • Urdu
  • Russian
  • Italian

Other languages spoken in Illinois include Gujarathi, Greek, Hindi, French, Vietnamese, Romanian, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Lithuanian, Cantonese, Telugu, Syriac, Japanese, Malayalam, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Tamil and Mandarin.

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

Judicial Districts in Illinois

There are 5 judicial districts in Illinois that encompass 102 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Illinois
    Counties: Cook
  • 2nd Judicial District of Illinois
    Counties: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Winnebago
  • 3rd Judicial District of Illinois
    Counties: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside, Will
  • 4th Judicial District of Illinois
    Counties: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglass, Edgar, Ford, Greene, Jersey, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Vermillion, Woodford
  • 5th Judicial District of Illinois
    Counties: Alexander, Bond, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Shelby, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Washington, White, Williamson

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