Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Colorado

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

Your legal interpreter must have the appropriate level of certification that meets your language needs. This is especially true if you require a court interpreter.

However, a certified court interpreter may not be necessary for every situation.

In Colorado, all court interpreters must obtain certification or credentialing through the Office of Language Access Training and Testing Program. Whether an interpreter received certification or credentialing depends on the language they are interpreting.

According to Colorado state law, you are entitled to court-appointed interpreting services at no extra cost and regardless of your language requirements if you are a party to a case (litigant, defendant, witness, parent, or legal custodian of a juvenile) and have limited English proficiency.

Legal Language can help you determine the best interpreter, certified or otherwise, for your legal interpreting needs in Colorado.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Colorado

Colorado state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification.

The state of Colorado also offers federal court certification and accepts certification from NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) and NJITCE (National Judiciary Interpreter & Translator Certification Examination).

Colorado offers certification in 20 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Ilocano
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Marshallese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Interpreters working in any other language in Colorado must pursue credentialing.

Common Languages Spoken in Colorado

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 16.76% of the Colorado population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 88% of the non-English speaking population in Colorado speaks one of the following 10 languages:

Common Language Spoken in Colorado

  • Spanish
  • German
  • Vietnamese
  • French
  • Korean
  • Chinese*
  • Russian
  • Arabic
  • Tagalog
  • Japanese

Other languages spoken in Colorado include Italian, Amharic, Polish, Hindi, Persian, Hmong, Navajo, Portuguese, Cantonese,* Mandarin,* Dutch, Kru/Ibo/Yoruba, Thai, Telugu, Serbo-Croatian, Greek, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, Hebrew and Swedish.

*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”

Classification of Interpreters in Colorado

The Colorado Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following two 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.
  • Credentialed Interpreter:  An interpreter who has attended a two-day orientation seminar, scored at least an 80% on the written examination, completed an oral proficiency interview, passed a criminal background check, and who abides by the Court Interpreter Code of Professional Ethics.

Judicial Districts in Colorado

Legal interpreting requirements can vary by district in Colorado. This state has 22 judicial districts that encompass 64 counties:

  • 1st Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Gilpin, Jefferson
  • 2nd Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Denver
  • 3rd Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Huerfano, Las Animas
  • 4th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: El Paso, Teller
  • 5th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit
  • 6th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan
  • 7th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel
  • 8th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Jackson, Larimer
  • 9th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco
  • 10th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Pueblo
  • 11th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park
  • 12th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache
  • 13th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma
  • 14th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Grand, Moffat, Routt
  • 15th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers
  • 16th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Bent, Crowley, Otero
  • 17th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Adams, Broomfield
  • 18th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln
  • 19th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Weld
  • 20th Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Boulder
  • 21st Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Mesa
  • 22nd Judicial District of Colorado
    Counties: Dolores, Montezuma

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

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