Legal Interpreting Guidelines in North Dakota

Legal Language Services ranks North Dakota as a state with lightly 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 in North Dakota 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 North Dakota.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in North Dakota

North Dakota does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding, nor does the state offer certification in any language.

The North Dakota Federal Clerk of Courts office reports that if legal interpreters are not available locally, individual judges may request the presence of a certified interpreter from outside the state if it is deemed necessary in court proceedings, arbitrations or depositions.

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find North Dakota interpreters for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.

Classification of Interpreters in North Dakota

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.

Common Languages Spoken in North Dakota

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 5.14% of the North Dakota population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 79% of the non-English speaking population in North Dakota speaks one of the following 10 languages:


  • German
  • French
  • Norwegian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Chinese*
  • Japanese
  • Other specified N.A. Indian languages
  • French
  • Dakota
  • Vietnamese
North Dakota field - court interpreting guidelines

Other languages spoken in North Dakota include Cushite, Russian, Czech, Arabic, Tagalog, other Indo-European languages, Swahili, Urdu, Bengali, other specified African languages, Algonquian, Polish, Serbian, Mande, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, American Indian, Nepali, Portuguese and Swedish.

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

Judicial Districts in North Dakota

This state has 8 regional judicial districts that encompass 53 counties:

  • District: Northwest
    Counties: Divide, McKenzie, Williams
  • District: Northeast
    Counties: Benson, Bottineau, Cavalier, McHenry, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Renville, Rolette, Towner, Walsh
  • District: North Central
    Counties: Burke, Mountrail, Ward
  • District: Northeast Central
    Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson
  • District: East Central
    Counties: Cass, Steele, Traill
  • District: Southeast
    Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman, Wells
  • District: South Central
    Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, Sioux
  • District: Southwest
    Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope, Stark

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