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Court Interpreter Program

The Court Interpreter Program supports the Minnesota Judicial Branch goal of ensuring that people who cannot speak English or are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to participate in cases in Minnesota state courts.

Overview

If you speak limited or no English and are a party to a case (litigant, defendant, witness, parent, or legal custodian of a juvenile), you have a right to a court-appointed interpreter during court proceedings at no cost to you. Minn. Stat. § 480.182.

If you need a spoken language interpreter to assist during a scheduled hearing or trial, contact court administration at the court where you are scheduled to appear. 

If you are deaf or hearing impaired, you have a right to an interpreter or other accommodation to assist with any communication at no cost to you. This right is a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Minn. Stat. § 363A.11. Please visit ADA Accommodation for more information.

Interpreters in Civil Cases

When a litigant or witness, because of a hearing, speech, or other communication disorder, or because of difficulty in speaking or comprehending the English language, is unable to fully understand the proceedings in which the person is required to participate, or when a party to a legal proceeding is unable by reason of the deficiency to obtain due process of law. Minn. Stat. §§ 546.42-.43.

Interpreters in Criminal Cases

At any stage of proceedings in which a person because of a hearing, speech or other communication disorder, or because of difficulty in speaking or comprehending the English language, cannot fully understand the proceedings, or charges, or seizure of property, or is incapable of presenting or assisting in the presentation of a defense. Minn. Stat. §§ 611.31-.32.
 

Court Interpreter Program Overview

The Court Interpreter Program supports the Minnesota Judicial Branch goal of ensuring that people who cannot speak English or are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to participate in cases in Minnesota state courts.

The program coordinates court interpreter testing and training, as well as assists in developing and implementing interpreter policy and best practices.  It also performs various administrative duties, such as maintaining and publishing an online roster of court interpreters who have completed the minimum requirements to become eligible to work in the state court system. 

Court personnel refer to the statewide roster to locate and schedule court interpreters for court hearings. Court interpreters are hired at the county-level directly by the Minnesota district courts. The roster is also available to public agencies, attorneys, and others requiring interpretation services as they search for qualified interpreters for out-of-court work.
When you conduct an interpreter search, you will first be directed to the screen of certified interpreters.  To view the non-certified interpreters, click the appropriate button at the bottom of that screen.  Please note that there are currently certified court interpreters in the following foreign languages: Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Russian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, French, Portuguese and Lao.

 

 

Understanding the Roster

A telephone symbol to the right of the person's name on the roster indicates the interpreter has completed basic remote interpreting education programs.

All Sign Language interpreters on the roster hold a certification. However, when searching for interpreters, you will first be prompted to a screen demonstrating those with a legal certification. Other interpreters can be found by using the "View Generalist Certified Interpreters" button at the bottom of the screen. An ITV icon to the right of the person's name indicates the ASL interpreter has completed the video remote interpreting (VRI) training.
This content has moved to the new Interpreter Resources page.

Minnesota Statutes and Court Rules

Minnesota Statutes

  • For use, appointment and qualification of court interpreters in civil proceedings, see Minn. Stat. §§ 546.42, 546.43, 546.44
  • For use, appointment and qualification of court interpreters in criminal proceedings, see Minn. Stat. §§ 611.31, 611.32, 611.33

Minnesota Court Rules

Resources for Attorneys

Videos

The Judicial Branch has created, "Going to Court: Tips for Minnesotans who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing," a 20-minute video providing essential information to help ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to participate in cases in Minnesota state courts. The video is presented in American Sign Language and is captioned.

Courts of law can be confusing and intimidating for people unfamiliar with legal rules and practices. They can be especially so for people with particular communication needs.

The video will help those who are deaf or hard of hearing prepare for a court appearance, including what to expect and how to request communication assistance.



Other "Going to Court in Minnesota" Videos:
Minnesota's courts want to provide the best possible service to all individuals receiving interpreter services.  The State Court Administrator’s Office has established a procedure for the filing of formal complaints about interpreter services and conducting formal complaint investigations. 

These procedures apply only to interpreters who are included on the Statewide Roster of Court Interpreters maintained by the State Court Administrator.  The interpreters on the roster include certified and non-certified interpreters who have passed the Ethics Examination administered by the State Court Administrator and who have filed with the State Court Administrator a written affidavit agreeing to be bound by the Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters in the Minnesota state court system. 

Enforcement Procedure for the Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters.

Complaints can be submitted using the Court Interpreter Complaint Form and mailed or delivered to the following address: 
Minnesota Court Interpreter Program
State Court Administrator's Office
Court Services, Suite 105
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Complaints can also be submitted to the Court Interpreter Program via the Feedback tab on this page or by calling the office directly at (651) 297-5300.

Contact Us:

MN Court Interpreter Program
State Court Administrator's Office
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-5300
Email »​
 

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