How to Become a Volunteer Foreign Language Interpreter

The Volunteer Interpreter Program is a service provided for individuals who don't read or understand English well enough to take a written test or for when a written test isn't 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. Permanent interpreter application are accepted only between October 1 and November 15. 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 also must meet the criminal history and driving record standards set by the department. Applications for a foreign language interpreter will only be considered under the following conditions:

  1. There are no tests produced in the foreign language specified on the application, and
  2. There aren't enough interpreters under contract who are qualified in the requested foreign language 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.
  • Mail, fax or email the completed documents to the address listed on the application.

Be sure to complete test-taker information in Section 2 of the application.

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, applications are only accepted Oct. 1 through Nov. 15 of each year. You must provide the following:

  • Complete and sign the application.
  • Submit a photocopy of your valid driver's license or state identification card.
  • Include a Michigan State Police Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) as stated on the application.
  • Mail, fax or email the completed 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