Legal Interpreting Guidelines in South Carolina

South Carolina US MapRegulations for legal interpreters in South Carolina differ from those in other states.

Legal Language Services ranks South Carolina as a state with lightly 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 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 South Carolina.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in South Carolina

South Carolina does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding. However, court systems in South Carolina 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 South Carolina also recognizes certified interpreters from states offering Consortium-based certification as well as federal certification.

In addition to Spanish, South Carolina offers certification in 12 other languages:

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

Common Languages Spoken in South Carolina

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 6.61% of the South Carolina population speaks a language other than English.

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

Spanish 63.99%
French 4.69%
German 4.39%
Tagalog 2.27%
Vietnamese 2.12%
Chinese* 2.12%
Arabic 1.82%
Russian 1.36%
Korean 1.21%
Greek 1.06%

Other languages spoken in South Carolina include Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Gujarathi, Hindi, Polish, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, Mandarin, Telugu, Kr/Ibo/Yoruba, Ukrainian, Thai, Dutch, Hebrew, Laotian, Hmong, Hungarian and Persian.

*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 South Carolina

A certified interpreter is an interpreter who has scored a minimum of 70 percent on an oral exam as well as a minimum of 80 percent on a written exam and who has also completed a two-day orientation seminar.

If a certified interpreter is not available, an interpreter who has not achieved certification but has met minimum requirements to be approved by the court will be considered for legal interpreting assignments.

Judicial Districts in South Carolina

There are 46 judicial districts in South Carolina that encompass the state’s 46 counties. However, certification requirements in South Carolina are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

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