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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Kentucky

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

In addition to passing both the written and oral exams, interpreters must also complete a workshop, obtain a set number of court observation or work hours, and clear a background check.

Classification of Interpreters in Kentucky

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

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored 80 percent or above on the English Proficiency Exam and at least 70 percent overall on the Certification Exam, completed a two-part orientation workshop, obtained the the required number of hours of court observation or work, 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 has scored 80 percent or above on the English Proficiency Exam and between 65-69.9 percent overall on the Certification Exam, completed a two-part orientation workshop, obtained the the required number of hours of court observation or work, read and agreed to abide by Kentucky’s Code of Professional Responsibility, taken Kentucky’s Interpreter Oath and passed a criminal background check.
  • 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-part orientation workshop, obtained the the required number of hours of court observation or work, 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.

Common Languages Spoken in Kentucky

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 4.56% of the Kentucky population speakers a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 77% of the non-English speaking population in Kentucky speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Chinese*
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Vietnamese
  • Japanese
  • Arabic
  • Tagalog
  • Korean

Other languages spoken in Kentucky include Pennsylvania Dutch, Russian, Hindi, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Turkish, Cushite, Telugu, Greek, Persian, Polish, Gujarathi, Nepali, Tamil, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Urdu 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 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.