How to Become a Volunteer Foreign Language Interpreter

The Volunteer Interpreter Program is a service provided for individuals who do not read or understand English well enough to take a written test or for when a written test is not available in the language spoken by the customer.

If you wish to volunteer as a foreign language interpreter, you must submit an application indicating whether you prefer a one-time-only or a permanent position. The Department of State will review the application. As a condition of approval, you must agree not to charge a fee or receive any other compensation for the service provided.

You must also meet the criminal history and driving record standards set by the department. Your application may be denied if a written test produced in the language you specialize in or if there are already enough qualified interpreters under contract to meet the demand.

Once approved, you may be recorded at any time by a department representative to monitor your interpreting skills.

One-Time-Only Interpreters
A one-time-only interpreter is limited to interpreting no more than once a year. To apply you must:

  • Complete and sign the application.
  • Submit a photocopy of your valid driver's license or state identification card.

The department will follow up with you either in person at the branch office or by telephone once your application has been reviewed.

Permanent Interpreters
If you wish to become a permanent interpreter, you must:

  • Complete and sign the application.
  • Submit a photocopy of your valid driver's license or state identification card.
  • Provide two letters of recommendation. The letters must be legible and contain original signatures along with the name, address and telephone number of the person providing the recommendation.
  • Mail the documents to the address listed on the application.

You will be notified in writing if you have been approved or denied. The approval process may take as long as 10 weeks. Continued eligibility may rest upon receiving a positive review every two years. The department reserves the right to remove your name from the active interpreter list at any time.



Related Documents
Application to Provide Volunteer Interpreter Services PDF icon