Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Oregon

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

Legal Language Services ranks Oregon 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.

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 Oregon.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Oregon

Oregon state authorities offer annual 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 Oregon also offers federal court certification and accepts certification from member states of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

In addition to Spanish, Oregon offers certification in 19 other languages:

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

Common Languages Spoken in Oregon

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 14.37% of the Oregon population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 85% of the non-English speaking population in Oregon speaks one of the following 10 languages:

Spanish 60.06%
Vietnamese 4.73%
Russian 4.24%
German 3.41%
Chinese* 3.13%
Korean 2.23%
Japanese 2.23%
French 2.09%
Tagalog 1.53%
Arabic 1.25%

 

Other languages spoken in Oregon include Romanian, Ukrainian, Hindi, Cantonese, Persian, Italian, Mandarin, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, other Pacific Island languages, Thai, Cushite, Laotian, Dutch, Portuguese, Hmong, Telugu, Polish, Hebrew and Panjabi.

*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 Oregon

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

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has passed a criminal history check with no barriers to certification, passed a written English proficiency screening exam, attended an interpreter orientation workshop, passed an ethics exam, observed and documented  at least 20 hours of hearings in courts of record in Oregon, federal, immigration, or consortium member states, registered for and passed all three parts (sight, consecutive and simultaneous interpretation) of a consortium interpreter oral exam, paid all of the appropriate fees, and completed an application to obtain the Oregon certified court interpreter status.
  • Registered Credential Interpreter: Interpreters who have been conditionally approved and who speak a certified language but are not prepared to become fully certified, have failed segments of the certification cycle, or have missed the deadline for the year to begin the certified cycle.

Please note that state law requires that an Oregon Certified Court Interpreter must be called to interpret first. If no certified interpreter is available, the court may use a non-certified interpreter who presents qualifications that are acceptable to the court according to ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes).

Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Judicial Districts in Oregon

There are 27 judicial districts in Oregon that encompass 36 counties. However, certification requirements in Oregon are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

  • 1st Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Jackson
  • 2nd Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Lane
  • 3rd Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Marion
  • 4th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Multnomah
  • 5th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Clackamas
  • 6th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Morrow, Umatilla
  • 7th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco, Wheeler
  • 8th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Baker
  • 9th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Malheur
  • 10th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Union, Wallowa
  • 11th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Deschutes
  • 12th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Polk
  • 13th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Klamath
  • 14th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Josephine
  • 15th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Coos, Curry
  • 16th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Douglas
  • 17th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Lincoln
  • 18th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Clatsop
  • 19th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Columbia
  • 20th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Washington
  • 21st Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Benton
  • 22nd Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Crook, Jefferson
  • 23rd Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Linn
  • 24th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Grant, Harney
  • 25th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Yamhill
  • 26th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Lake
  • 27th Judicial District of Oregon
    Counties: Tillamook

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