Legal Language Services ranks Washington as a state with heavily regulated legal interpreting requirements.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Washington

Washington has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.

Washington state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

The state of Washington also accepts certification from the NJITCE (National Judiciary Interpreter & Translator Certification Examination) and the Oregon Court Interpreter Certification Program.

Washington offers certification in 13 languages:

  • Arabic (Egyptian or Levantine)
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Khmer (Cambodian)
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese

Washington also offers a registration credential to interpreters of the following languages:

  • Afrikaans
  • Akan-Twi
  • Albanian
  • Algerian
  • Amharic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Baluchi
  • Bambara
  • Bengali
  • Bulgarian
  • Burmese
  • Cebuano
  • Chavacano
  • Chechen
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari
  • Dutch
  • Ewe
  • Finish
  • Fulfulde (Fulani)
  • Ga
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hiligaynon
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Hungarian
  • Igbo
  • Ilocano
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Jamaican Patois
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kashmiri
  • Kazakh
  • Kikongo-Kongo
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Kirundi
  • Krio
  • Kurdish
  • Latvian
  • Lingala
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Mandingo-Bambara
  • Mongolian
  • Navajo
  • Nepali
  • Norewegian
  • Oromo
  • Pashto
  • Persian Farsi
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Samoan
  • Sindhi
  • Sinhalese
  • Slovak
  • Somali
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Tausug
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Tibetan
  • Tigrinya
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Uighur
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • Wolof
  • Wu
  • Yoruba

Classification of Interpreters in Washington

The Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts defines legal interpreters in the following two ways:

  • Registered Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a one-day orientation seminar, 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.
  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a one-day orientation seminar, 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.

Not all venues in Washington require certified interpreters. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Common Languages Spoken in Washington

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 17.49% of the Washington population speaks a language other than English.

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

  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Chinese
  • German
  • Japanese
  • French
  • Ukrainian

Other languages spoken in Washington include Mon-Khmer, Cambodian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Amharic, Cushite, Pajabi, Arabic, Laotian, Samoan, Romanian, Persian, Italian, Polish, Thai, Tamil, other Pacific Island languages, Portuguese and Norwegian.

Judicial Districts in Washington

There are 31 judicial districts in Washington that encompass 39 counties. Certification requirements in Washington are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

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