Phase I - Orientation & English Language Assessment (ELA)

Application for Spoken & Sign Language

An applicant must be at least 21 years old and have the legal right to live and work in the United States. 

Spoken Language RequirementsAn applicant is required to complete the following. 

  • Personal Information Form;
  • a recent passport photo; and,
  • proof of education (copy of G.E.D., high school diploma, or post-secondary transcript).

Sign Language RequirementsSign Language interpreters who want to be listed on the Arkansas Registry of Certified Court Interpreters must be able to work and provide interpreting services to Arkansas state courts and are required to complete the following requirements before being eligible to interpret in any Arkansas court proceeding. 

  • An applicant must hold one of the following certifications from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID): SC:L, NIC, NIC-A, NIC-M CI, CT, NAD V, CDI, and/or Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) Court Interpreter Certification and/or Level V Intermediary, and provide documentation of at least 30 hours of formal legal interpreter training;
  • Personal Information Form;
  • a recent passport photo;
  • current Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) membership and/or Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) annual certificate renewal; and,
  • Arkansas license as pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §20-14-801.


Upon completing application process requirements, an applicant must register for the Orientation. Each applicant must successfully complete an orientation training. The Orientation is designed to familiarize the applicant with the Arkansas court system and provide instruction on the role of the interpreter and the skills and ethics required of an interpreter in the courtroom. The Orientation is one of several steps involved in the initial training of a court interpreter.

Participants will attend the Orientation at their own expense and must pay a non-refundable registration fee of $200.00 to cover materials and the processing costs for the exams. Dates and locations will be announced in advance.

English Language Assessment Exam

Before coming to the Orientation, each applicant will receive a copy of Administrative Order No. 11, Arkansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Foreign Language Interpreters in the Judiciary and the Overview of the English Language Assessment Exam . These documents should be studied in preparation for taking the English Language Assessment Exam. The Code is an important component of the test.

On the final day of the Orientation, the applicant must take the English Language Assessment Exam (ELA), which is an objective, multiple choice test developed under the auspices of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

  • Part I - English Proficiency
  • Part II- Court-Related Terms & Usage, and Ethics and Professional Conduct.

A passing score is a combined score of 80% on Parts I and II of the English Language Assessment Exam. Scores will remain valid for two (2) years from the date an applicant is notified that he/she achieved a passing score. Any applicant who does not achieve a passing score shall be notified.