Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Maryland

Legal Language Services ranks Maryland 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 Maryland.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Maryland

Maryland state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification.

The state of Maryland also accepts certification from interpreters living in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, provided that the interpreter takes a 1-day mandatory Introductory Workshop.

Maryland offers certification in 15 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Maryland

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

  • Certified Interpreter: Interpreters who have passed an oral interpreter certification examination that tests their language and interpreting skills in 3 modes: sight, consecutive and simultaneous. Interpreters must have earned a score of 70 percent or higher on the oral and written examinations.
  • Eligible Interpreter: Interpreters who have passed a written examination, and many have passed an oral proficiency interview in the foreign language and English.

All venues in Maryland require certified interpreters for languages in which a full certification exam is available. For languages that do not have a full certification exam, interpreters must be classified as “eligible.” Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Common Languages Spoken in Maryland

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 15.96% of the Maryland population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, 72% of the non-English speaking population in Maryland speaks one of the following 10 languages:

Common Languages Spoken in Maryland

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Chinese*
  • Korean
  • Kru/Ibo/Yoruba
  • Tagalog
  • German
  • Russian
  • Vietnamese
  • Amharic
Baltimore City Hall - Maryland interpreting guidelines

Other languages spoken in Maryland include Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Italian, Persian, French Creole, Greek, Gujarathi, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, Bengali, Telugu, Hebrew, Polish, Swahili, Tamil, Thai and Cantonese.

*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”

Judicial Districts in Maryland

There are 12 judicial districts in Maryland that encompass 24 counties. Certification requirements in Maryland are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

  • 1st Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Baltimore City
  • 2nd Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester
  • 3rd Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot
  • 4th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s
  • 5th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Prince George’s
  • 6th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Montgomery
  • 7th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Anne Arundel
  • 8th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Baltimore
  • 9th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Harford
  • 10th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Carroll, Howard
  • 11th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Frederick, Washington
  • 12th Judicial District of Maryland
    Counties: Allegany, Garrett

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