Legal Language Services ranks Washington, DC, as a district with moderately regulated legal interpreting requirements.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Washington, DC

Court systems in Washington, DC periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification in Spanish.

Washington, DC also recognizes certified interpreters from states offering federal certification as well as that based on the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts.

Classification of Interpreters in Washington, DC

The Washington, DC Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following three ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has passed a written exam as well as a three-part oral exam and who has completed an orientation seminar.
  • Professionally Qualified Interpreter: An interpreter who has successfully passed an interpreter examination or an individual who is in good standing in a professional interpreter association and has the sponsorship of three active members of the same association.
  • Language-Skilled Interpreter: An interpreter who is not certified or considered professionally qualified, but who can demonstrate to the sanctification of the court their ability to effectively interpret from the fore language into English and vice versa in court proceedings.

A certified interpreter is always the first choice in courtroom settings, however, if a certified interpreter is not available, an interpreter who has not achieved certification but has met minimum requirements to be approved by the court will be considered for legal interpreting assignments.

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Washington, DC, interpreters who meet interpreting rules for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.

Common Languages Spoken in Washington, DC

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 14.53% of the Washington, DC population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, more than 78% of the non-English speaking population in Washington, DC speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Amharic
  • German
  • Chinese*
  • Kru/Ibo/Yoruba
  • Italian
  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • Portuguese

Other languages spoken in Washington, DC include Korean, Russian, Tagalog, French Creole, Japanese, Vietnamese, Persian, Cantonese, Polish, Mandarin, Swahili, Greek, Bengali, Turkish, Danish, Hebrew, Swedish, Gujarathi and Dutch.

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

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 Washington, DC, is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.