Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Oklahoma

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

Legal Language Services ranks Oklahoma 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 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.

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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Oklahoma

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma has approved a credentialing program for interpreters in the Oklahoma courts, as recommended by the Board of Examiners of Certified Courtroom Interpreters.

Written exams for certification are offered periodically based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification. The oral examination (which is provided by the National Center for State Courts) is not currently administered in Oklahoma, but will be in the near future.

At this time, only Oklahoma residents are able to apply for certification. However, Oklahoma will also recognize federal certification, Consortium certification and certification from most state programs.

Common Languages Spoken in Oklahoma

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 8.85% of the Oklahoma population speaks a language other than English.

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

Spanish 66.55%
Vietnamese 4.63%
German 3.50%
Other specified N.A. Indian languages 2.82%
Chinese* 2.03%
French 1.58%
Korean 1.47%
Cherokee 1.24%
Arabic 1.24%
Tagalog 1.02%

 

Other languages spoken in Oklahoma include Hmong, Malayalam, Hindi, Persian, Japanese, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Russian, Thai, Urdu, Laotian, other Pacific Island languages, Italian, Portuguese, Gujarathi, Chamorro, Mandarin, Hebrew, Algonquian and Cantonese.

*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 Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following two ways:

  • Certified Courtroom Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored 80 percent or above on the English Proficiency Exam and at least 70 percent overall on the Certification Exam, completed a two-part orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Oklahoma Courts, and passed a criminal background check.
  • Registered Courtroom Interpreter: An interpreter who has passed both the Court Interpreter Written Examination as provided by the National Center for State Courts and a basic proficiency written translation test in the foreign language, completed a two-part orientation workshop, read and agreed to abide by the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Oklahoma Courts, and passed a criminal background check.

Judicial Districts in Oklahoma

This state has 26 judicial districts that encompass 77 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Beaver, Cimarron, Harper, Texas
  • 2nd Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Beckham, Custer, Ellis, Roger Mills, Washita
  • 3rd Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Tillman
  • 4th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Alfalfa, Blaine, Dewey, Garfield, Grant, Kingfisher, Major, Woods, Woodward
  • 5th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson, Stephens
  • 6th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Caddo, Grady
  • 7th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Oklahoma
  • 8th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Kay, Noble
  • 9th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Logan, Payne
  • 10th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Osage
  • 11th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Nowata, Washington
  • 12th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Craig, Mayes, Rogers
  • 13th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Delaware, Ottawa
  • 14th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Tulsa, Pawnee
  • 15th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Adair, Cherokee, Muskogee, Sequoyah, Wagoner
  • 16th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore
  • 17th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Choctaw, McCurtain, Pushmataha
  • 18th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: McIntosh, Pittsburg
  • 19th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Bryan
  • 20th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Murray
  • 21st Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Cleveland, Garvin, McClain
  • 22nd Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Hughes, Pontotoc, Seminole
  • 23rd Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Lincoln, Pottawatomie
  • 24th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Creek, Okfuskee, Okmulgee
  • 25th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Atoka, Coal
  • 26th Judicial District of Oklahoma
    Counties: Canadian

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