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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Rhode Island

Rhode Island recognizes certification from the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT), The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam (FCICE), and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Certification Exams.

Rhode Island Judiciary provides proficiency examinations for certification through the NCSC in the following 20 languages:

  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Rhode Island

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

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a one-day training session, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, scored at least a 70% on the four-part oral certification exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Qualified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a one-day training session, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, completed an oral proficiency interview, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

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

Common Languages Spoken in Rhode Island

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 20.82% of the Rhode Island population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 88% of the non-English speaking population in Rhode Island speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • French
  • Italian
  • French Creole
  • Chinese*
  • Mon-Khmer/Cambodian
  • Laotian
  • Polish
  • Kru/Ibo/Yoruba

Other languages spoken in Rhode Island include Tagalog, Arabic, German, Russian, Armenian, Greek, Korean, Vietnamese, Mande, Hmong, Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai, Japanese, Nepali, Tamil, Hebrew and Gujarathi.

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

Judicial Districts in Rhode Island

There is 1 judicial district in Rhode Island that encompasses 5 counties.

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