Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Ohio

Legal Language Services ranks Ohio as a state with moderately 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 in Ohio 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 Ohio.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Ohio

While Ohio does not officially have any requirements for interpreting in legal proceedings, the state is developing its interpreter program and crafting policy recommendations for using interpreters in the state courts.

Ohio 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 Ohio also accepts certification from the NJITCE (National Judiciary Interpreter & Translator Certification Examination) and federal certification programs. Other state certification programs may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Ohio offers certification in 20 languages:

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

Classification of Interpreters in Ohio

Ohio ranks interpreters in the following three ways:

Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has passed either the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination or the Consortium test administered by a state judicial department.

Provisionally Qualified Interpreter: An interpreter who meets certain experience, training and testing criteria, but who has not taken or passed a state or federal certification examination.

Language-Skilled Interpreter: An individual who lacks the training and testing to be a qualified interpreter, but has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the court, the ability to interpret between English and a designated language and has met certain other criteria, such as attendance at a seminar on the Code of Ethics for Court Interpreters and court observation.

Common Languages Spoken in Ohio

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 6.31% of the Ohio population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 68% of the non-English speaking population in Ohio speaks one of the following 10 languages:


  • Spanish
  • German
  • Chinese*
  • Arabic
  • French
  • Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Hindi
  • Greek
Lukas County, Ohio courthouse - court interpreting guidelines

Other languages spoken in Ohio include Polish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Dutch, Cushite, Ukrainian, Japanese, Hungarian, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Telugu, Gujarathi, Romanian, Croatian, Serbian, Urdu, Tamil, Panjabi and Mon-Khmer/Cambodian.

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

Judicial Districts in Ohio

This state has 12 judicial districts that encompass 88 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Hamilton
  • 2nd Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery
  • 3rd Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Allen, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, Wyandot
  • 4th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, Washington
  • 5th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Ashland, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Guernsey, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Richland, Stark, Tuscarawas
  • 6th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, Wood
  • 7th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe, Noble
  • 8th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Cuyahoga
  • 9th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Lorain, Medina, Summit, Wayne
  • 10th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Franklin
  • 11th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Trumbull
  • 12th Judicial District of Ohio
    Counties: Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble, Warren

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 Ohio is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.