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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Minnesota

Certified interpreters are not mandatory in most Minnesota courts, but courts are encouraged to use them. In addition, some Minnesota trial courts use only certified interpreters.

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

Minnesota state authorities periodically offer exams for certification based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

Minnesota offers certification in 18 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • Filipino
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Minnesota

The Minnesota Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following two ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a two-day orientation seminar, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, scored at least a 70% on a three-part oral exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Non-Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a two-day orientation seminar, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

Not all venues in Minnesota 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 Minnesota

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 10.26% of the Minnesota population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 75% of the non-English speaking population in Minnesota speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • Hmong
  • Cushite
  • German
  • Vietnamese
  • French
  • Russian
  • Chinese*
  • Laotian
  • Amharic

Other languages spoken in Minnesota include Arabic, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, Hindi, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Korean, Norwegian, Swahili, Algonquian, Tagalog, Polish, Telugu, Finnish, Tamil, Urdu, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Portuguese, Thai and Czech.

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

Judicial Districts in Minnesota

This state has 10 judicial districts that encompass 87 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Caver, Dakota, Goodhue, LeSueuer, McLeod, Scott, Sibley
  • 2nd Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Ramsey
  • 3rd Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Ride, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Winona
  • 4th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Hennepin
  • 5th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Watonwan
  • 6th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Carlton, Cook, Lake, St. Louis
  • 7th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, Wadena
  • 8th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine
  • 9th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau
  • 10th Judicial District of Minnesota
    Counties: Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, Wright

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