Legal Language Services ranks New Mexico as a state with moderately regulated legal interpreting requirements.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in New Mexico

The New Mexico Center for Language Access, through the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, offers two distinct credentialing programs: Court Interpreter and Language Access Specialist (LAS).

Certified court interpreters work throughout the justice system and provide language access services in the courtroom, as well as outside the courtroom, and requires a higher level of language proficiency than LAS certification.

LAS certification is generally pursued by bilingual employees already working in the judicial system. These interpreters provide language access services outside the courtroom and in court for non-jailable traffic offenses only.

New Mexico offers certification in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • French
  • German
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Navajo
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in New Mexico

The New Mexico Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following ways:

  • Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a two-day orientation seminar, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, scored at least a 70% on the four-part oral certification exam, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Registered Court Interpreter: An interpreter who has attended a two-day orientation seminar, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, completed both the Oral Proficiency Interview Computer-Adapted in English and the Oral Proficiency Interview telephonic in language other than English for which the Consortium has no oral examination, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

Not all venues in New Mexico require certified interpreters, even for Spanish-language cases. Please consult with Legal Language Services for the rules pertaining to your specific venue and language.

Common Languages Spoken in New Mexico

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 36.04 percent of the New Mexico population primarily speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 96 percent of the non-English speaking population in New Mexico speaks one of the following 10 languages:

  • Spanish
  • Navajo
  • Keres
  • Zuni
  • Other North American Indian languages
  • German
  • French
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinese
  • Tagalog

Other languages spoken in New Mexico include Apache, Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Italian, Russian, Polish, Persian, Portuguese and Laotian.

Judicial Districts in New Mexico

There are 13 judicial districts in New Mexico that encompass 33 counties. However, certification requirements in New Mexico are statewide and remain consistent across all local jurisdictions.

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find New Mexico 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 New Mexico is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.