Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Colorado

colorado on map of USRegulations for legal interpreters in Colorado differ from those in other states.

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, you may not need to hire a certified court interpreter for every situation.

In addition to statewide requirements, some legal venues in Colorado require that legal interpreters be certified by specific organizations. Whether or not an interpreter is certified — let alone the level of certification — will have an effect on how much you are charged for legal interpreting services.

Please be aware that some counties in Colorado may have specific legal interpreting regulations in addition to the statewide requirements. For example, in some counties certified Spanish interpreters are required for court cases, while in others they are “strongly preferred.”

Do you need a certified interpreter?

Due to the added cost of certified professionals, it may not be a sound strategy to use certified legal interpreters if certification is not legally required for your proceeding. In fact, some situations may not benefit from certified interpreters. In particular, where subject matter expertise and/or special skills are required, certification may be a secondary consideration in securing a competent interpreter.

As previously noted, non-certified legal interpreters can provide professional interpreting services at a more affordable price. As in other states, a certified interpreter will command a higher fee for legal interpreting services. Prices will be affected based on the level of certification.

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 has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.

Colorado state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification in Spanish and several other languages based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter 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).

In addition to Spanish, Colorado offers certification in 11 other languages:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hmong
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Vietnamese

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:

Spanish 71.12%
German 3.70%
Vietnamese 2.45%
French 2.15%
Korean 2.03%
Chinese* 1.73%
Russian 1.73%
Arabic 1.01%
Tagalog 0.89%
Japanese 0.78%

 

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 six ways:

  • Classified Staff Language Interpreter: An interpreter whose employment is governed by the Colorado Judicial System.
  • Independent Contract Language Interpreter: An interpreter who is an independent contractor pursuant to a contract or as defined by IRS Revenue ruling 87-41.
  • Temporary or Periodic Contract Employee Language Interpreter: An interpreter under temporary or periodic contract. Temporary contracts are used for assignments where an interpreter is required for a special short-term project of limited duration (six months or less). Periodic contracts are used for assignments where an interpreter is required for an unlimited duration but where employment is sporadic and occurs on an as-needed basis.
  • Conditionally Approved Interpreter: An interpreter who works in a language other than Spanish and has not achieved certification or professionally qualified status but has met minimum requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified or professionally qualified interpreter is not available.
  • Professionally Qualified Interpreter: An interpreter who has not achieved certification but has met training and minimum oral certification exam score requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified interpreter is not available.
  • Professionally Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who meets minimum professional competency standards and has achieved a passing score on an oral certification exam for interpreters recognized by the Colorado Judicial Department.

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

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.

Regulations for legal interpreters in Colorado differ from those in other states. 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 an interpreter who will be working in a courtroom. This does not mean, however, that you should hire a certified interpreter for every situation.

In addition to statewide requirements, some legal venues in Colorado require that legal interpreters be certified by specific organizations. Whether or not an interpreter is certified — let alone level of certification — will have an effect on how much you are charged for legal interpreting services. Please be aware that some counties in Colorado may have specific legal interpreting regulations in addition to the statewide requirements.

Due to the added cost of certified professionals, it may not be a sound strategy to use certified legal interpreters if certification is not legally required for your proceeding. In fact, some situations may not benefit from certified interpreters. In particular, where subject matter expertise and/or special skills are required, certification may be a secondary consideration in securing a competent interpreter.

As previously noted, non-certified legal interpreters can provide professional interpreting services at a more affordable price. As in other states, a certified interpreter will command a higher fee for legal interpreting services. Prices will be affected based on the level of certification.

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 has several levels of certification for legal interpreters.

Colorado state authorities periodically offer exams, both written and oral, for certification in Spanish and several other languages based on the guidelines of the Consortium for State Court Interpreter 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).

In addition to Spanish, Colorado offers certification in 12 other languages:

nArabic

nCantonese

nHaitian Creole

nHmong

nKorean

nLaotian

nMandarin

nPortuguese

nRussian

nSerbian

nSomali

nVietnamese

Classification of Interpreters in Colorado

The Colorado Judicial Department defines legal interpreters in the following six ways:

§Classified Staff Language Interpreter: An interpreter whose employment is governed by the Colorado Judicial System.

§Independent Contract Language Interpreter: An interpreter who is an independent contractor pursuant to a contract or as defined by IRS Revenue ruling 87-41.

§Temporary or Periodic Contract Employee Language Interpreter: An interpreter under temporary or periodic contract. Temporary contracts are used for assignments where an interpreter is required for a special short-term project of limited duration (six months or less). Periodic contracts are used for assignments where an interpreter is required for an unlimited duration but where employment is sporadic and occurs on an as-needed basis.

§Conditionally Approved Interpreter: An interpreter who works in a language other than Spanish and has not achieved certification or professionally qualified status but has met minimum requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified or professionally qualified interpreter is not available.

§Professionally Qualified Interpreter: An interpreter who has not achieved certification but has met training and minimum oral certification exam score requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified interpreter is not available.

§Professionally Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who meets minimum professional competency standards and has achieved a passing score on an oral certification exam for interpreters recognized by the Colorado Judicial Department.

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

Judicial Districts in Colorado

There are 22 judicial districts in Colorado that encompass 64 counties:

1st Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Gilpin, Jefferson

2nd Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Denver

3rd Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Huerfano, Las Animas

4th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: El Paso, Teller

5th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Summit

6th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan

7th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel

8th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Jackson, Larimer

9th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Garfield, Pitkin, Rio Blanco

10th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Pueblo

11th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park

12th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

13th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma

14th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Grand, Moffat, Routt

15th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers

16th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Bent, Crowley, Otero

17th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Adams, Broomfield

18th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Lincoln

19th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Weld

20th Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Boulder

21st Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Mesa

22nd Judicial District of Colorado

nCounties: Dolores, Montezuma

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Colorado interpreters that 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.