Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Nebraska

Nebraska US mapRegulations for legal interpreters in Nebraska differ from those in other states.

Legal Language Services ranks Nebraska 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 a court interpreter.

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. Please be aware that some counties in Nebraska may have specific legal interpreting regulations in addition to the statewide requirements.

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 Nebraska.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Nebraska

Nebraska has several levels of classification for legal interpreters. However, excepting Spanish-language and ASL cases, Nebraska does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding.

Nebraska 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.

The state of Nebraska also offers federal court certification and accepts Court Interpreter Certification Certificates from any state which is a member of the National Center for State Court’s Consortium for Language Access in the Court.

In addition to Spanish, Nebraska offers certification in 20 other languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Cantonese
  • Chuukese
  • Croatian
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Mashallese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Serbian
  • Somali
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Common Languages Spoken in Nebraska

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 9.55% of the Nebraska population speaks a language other than English.

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

Spanish 65.55%
German 3.98%
Vietnamese 3.46%
Arabic 2.83%
French 2.41%
Chinese* 1.88%
Other specified African languages 1.78%
Czech 1.57%
Cushite 1.26%
Tagalog 0.94%


Other languages spoken in Nebraska include Hindi, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Tamil, Russian, Dakota, Kurdish, Thai, Ukrainian, other specified North American Indian languages, Mandarin, Portuguese, Bengali, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Telugu and Dutch.

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

Classification of Interpreters in Nebraska

The Nebraska Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following four ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has achieved a passing score on a written English comprehension examination, passed a three-part oral examination, and attended a two-day orientation program.
  • Registered Interpreters: An interpreter who has achieved a passing score on a written English comprehension examination, scored a 50 percent or better on each section of the three-part oral legal interpreting examination, and attended a two-day orientation program.
  • Other Interpreters: An interpreter who is not certified and has not satisfied the requirements.

Not all venues in Nebraska require certified interpreters, except in Spanish-language and ASL cases. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Judicial Districts in Nebraska

There are 12 judicial districts in Nebraska that encompass 93 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Clay, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline, Thayer
  • 2nd Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Cass, Otoe, Sarpy
  • 3rd Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Lancaster
  • 4th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Douglas
  • 5th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Boone, Butler, Colfax, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Saunders, Seward, York
  • 6th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Burt, Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Thurston, Washington
  • 7th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Antelope, Cuming, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Stanton, Wayne
  • 8th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Holt, Howard, Keya Paha, Loup, Rock, Sherman, Valley, Wheeler
  • 9th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Buffalo, Hall
  • 10th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Adams, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Webster
  • 11th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Arthur, Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Keith, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Perkins, Red Willow, Thomas
  • 12th Judicial District of Nebraska
    Counties: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Grant, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sioux

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