Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Rhode Island

Regulations for legal interpreters in Rhode Island differ from those in other states. Legal Language Services ranks Rhode Island 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.

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.

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 Rhode Island.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island accepts federal court certification (Spanish only) and certification from NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) (Spanish only).

In addition to Spanish, Rhode Island accepts certification from the Consortium for State Court Interpreters in 12 other languages:

  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Rhode Island

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

  • State Certified Interpreter: One who is able to interpret simultaneously and consecutively and sight translate from English to the language of the person needing an interpreter, and from said language to English, and who has been certified.
  • Qualified Interpreter: A person who through experience and training is able to translate a particular foreign language into English but who does not have a state certification.

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

Judicial Districts in Rhode Island

There is 1 judicial district in Rhode Island that encompasses 5 counties. However, certification requirements in Rhode Island are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

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