Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Arizona

Legal Language Services ranks Arizona 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 in Arizona 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 Arizona.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Arizona

Arizona does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding, however, all court interpreters in Arizona are strongly encouraged to participate in Arizona’s credentialing program.

The Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program (ACICP) divides court interpreter certification using a tier system.  There are Tiers 1-4, but you must be a Tier 3 or 4 to work as a certified court interpreter in the state.

Arizona offers certification in the following 20 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmon
  • Ilocano
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Marshallese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Arizona interpreters for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.

Classification of Interpreters in Arizona

The State of Arizona defines interpreters in the following ways:

Tier 1: An interpreter who has completed an ethics class, passed the English Written Exam with a score of 80% or better, scored an advanced level or higher on the oral proficiency interview, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

Tier 2: An interpreter who as completed an ethics class, passed the English Written Exam with a score of 80% or better, received a score of 60-69% on each component of the oral court interpreter exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics. The tier 2 credential is valid for 24 months from the date it is issue. When the tier 2 credential expires, the interpreter now possesses a tier 1 credential.

Tier 3: An interpreter who as completed an ethics class, passed the English Written Exam with a score of 80% or better, received a score of 70-79% on each component of the oral court interpreter exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics. Tier 3 is a permanent credential.

Tier 4: An interpreter who as completed an ethics class, passed the English Written Exam with a score of 80% or better, received a score of 80% or higher on each component of the oral court interpreter exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics. Tier 4 is a permanent credential.

Tier A*: An interpreter who has completed an ethics class, passed the English Written Exam with a score of 80% or better, achieved the highest level on the oral proficiency interview, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

*Tier A credential is only available for languages in which there is no Oral Court Interpreter Exam.

Common Languages Spoken in Arizona

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 27.1% of the Arizona population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 91% of the non-English speaking population in Arizona speaks one of the following 10 languages:

Common Languages Spoken in Arizona

  • Spanish
  • Navajo
  • German
  • Tagalog
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Other specified North American Indian languages
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Apache
Arizona state flags - interpreting guidelines

Other languages spoken in Arizona include Korean, Italian, Hindi, Russian, Polish, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian and Persian.

Judicial Districts in Arizona

Legal interpreting requirements can vary by district in Arizona. This state has 3 judicial districts that encompass 15 counties:

Phoenix Division
Counties: Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Pinal, Yuma

Prescott Division
Counties: Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo, Yavapai

Tucson Division
Counties: Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Santa Cruz

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