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

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Virginia

Virginia does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding, but all courts are encouraged to utilize certified interpreters first. However, the judge is the final arbiter of every interpreter’s qualifications.

Virginia state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification. The state of Virginia also accepts interpreters who have completed the full federal court certification exam as well as those who achieved certification from member states of the State Court Interpreter Certification Consortium.

Virginia offers certification in six languages:

  • Arabic
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Virginia

Virginia state authorities define interpreters in the following way:

Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored 80 percent or above on one part of a written exam, passed the second part of a written exam, scored 70 percent or above on an oral exam, and attended a two-day orientation.

Non-certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has not passed a certification exam but who has demonstrated the skills necessary to work in the courts.

Common Languages Spoken in Virginia

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 14.13% of the Virginia population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, more than 76% of the non-English speaking population in Virginia speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Chinese*
  • French
  • Arabic
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Persian

Other languages spoken in Virginia include Urdu, Amharic, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Russian, Telugu, Japanese, Italian, Panjabi, Bengali, Greek, Portuguese, Thai, Mandarin, Gujarathi, Tamil, Turkish, French Creole, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian and Polish.

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

Judicial Districts in Virginia

There are 31 judicial districts in Virginia that encompass 95 counties. Certification requirements in Virginia are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

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