Legal Language Services ranks Missouri as a state with moderately regulated legal interpreting requirements.
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.
In addition to statewide requirements, some legal venues in Missouri require that legal interpreters be certified by specific organizations. 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. Please be aware that some counties in Missouri may have specific legal interpreting regulations in addition to the statewide requirements.
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 Missouri.
Missouri has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.
Missouri state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification in Spanish and several other languages based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.
In addition to Spanish, Missouri offers certification in 19 other languages, including:
In addition to these, abbreviated exams are offered in Bosnian, Croatian, Marshallese, Serbian and Turkish.
Despite offering certification in 20 languages, only legal interpreters who have taken the exam in Arabic, French, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish have passed in Missouri as of May 2016, according to Missouri Court Interpreter Services.
According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 5.88% of the Missouri population speaks a language other than English.
What’s more, almost 77% of the non-English speaking population in Missouri speaks one of the following 10 languages:
Other languages spoken in Missouri include Italian, Pennsylvania Dutch, Hindi, Japanese, Persian, Telugu, Dutch, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Urdu, Portuguese, Polish, Tamil, Gujarathi, Albanian, Greek, Cushite, Mandarin, other Pacific Island languages, and Romanian.
*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”
The Colorado Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following way:
Not all venues in Missouri require certified interpreters, even for Spanish-language cases. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.
There are 45 judicial districts in Missouri that encompass 114 counties, as well as the independent city of St. Louis, which seceded from St. Louis County in 1876:
Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Missouri interpreters who meet state interpreting rules for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.
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 Missouri is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.