Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Alabama

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

In general, your legal interpreter must have the appropriate level of certification that meets your language needs. This is especially true if you require an interpreter who will be working in a courtroom. This does not mean, however, that you should hire a certified interpreter for every situation.

Whether or not an interpreter is certified — let alone the level of certification — will have an effect on how much you are charged for legal interpreting services.

Do You Need a Certified Interpreter?

Due to the added cost of certified professionals, it may not be a sound strategy to use certified legal interpreters if certification is not legally required for your proceeding.

In fact, some situations may not benefit from certified interpreters. In particular, where subject matter expertise and/or special skills are required, certification may be a secondary consideration in securing a competent interpreter.

As previously noted, non-certified legal interpreters can provide professional interpreting services at a more affordable price. As in other states, a certified interpreter will command a higher fee for legal interpreting services. Prices will be affected based on the level of certification.

Legal Language can help you determine the best interpreter, certified or otherwise, for your legal interpreting needs in Alabama.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Alabama

Alabama does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding. However, Alabama’s Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) periodically offers exams, both written and oral, for certification based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

Classification of Interpreters in Alabama

The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts defines legal interpreters in the following ways:

  • Certified Master Level Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 80 percent on a four-part oral exam, and scored a minimum 80 percent on the sight translation exam..
  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 70 percent on a four-part oral exam, and scored a minimum 65 percent on the sight translation exam.
  • Journeyman Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 60 percent on a four-part oral exam, and scored a minimum 55 percent on the sight translation exam.

Common Languages Spoken in Alabama

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 4.95% of the Alabama population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, more than 86% of the non-English speaking population in Alabama speaks one of the following 10 languages:

Common Languages Spoken in Alabama

  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Hindi
  • Tagalog
Alabama state capitol building

Other languages spoken in Alabama include Italian, Persian, Telugu, Russian, Hmong, Mandarin,* Portuguese, Gujarathi, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Turkish, Laotian, Greek, India, Urdu, Swahili, Bengali, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, Dutch, Hebrew, and South/Central American Indian.

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

Judicial Districts in Alabama

There are 41 judicial districts in Alabama that encompass 67 counties. However, certification requirements in Alabama are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

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

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