Legal Language Services ranks New York 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.
In addition to statewide requirements, some legal venues in New York 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 New York 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 New York.
New York has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.
New York 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 New York also offers federal court certification and accepts certification from NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) and the ATA (American Translators Association).
In addition to Spanish, New York offers certification in 23 languages:
According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 29.28%% of the New York population speaks a language other than English.
What’s more, more than 76% of the non-English speaking population in New York speaks one of the following 10 languages:
Other languages spoken in New York include Mandarin, Bengali, Arabic, Tagalog, Hebrew, Greek, German, Urdu, Hindi, Portuguese, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Albanian, Japanese, Panjabi, Malayalam, Persian, Vietnamese, Gujarathi and Ukrainian.
*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”
The New York Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following six ways:
Not all venues in New York require certified interpreters, but all interpreters are required at minimum to pass a written, multiple choice English proficiency examination. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.
Legal interpreting requirements can vary by district in New York. This state has 13 judicial districts that encompass 62 counties:
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 New York is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.