Legal Interpreting Guidelines in New Mexico

New Mexico on US mapRegulations for legal interpreters in New Mexico differ from those in other states.

Legal Language Services ranks New Mexico 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.

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. 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 New Mexico. Let us help you find the best New Mexico interpreters.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in New Mexico

New Mexico has several levels of classification for legal interpreters.

New Mexico 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.

In addition to Spanish, New Mexico offers certification in 19 other languages:

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

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 78.94%
Navajo 9.71%
Keres 1.89%
Zuni 1.33%
Other North American Indian languages 1.30%
German 1.11%
French 0.61%
Vietnamese 0.55%
Chinese 0.55%
Tagalog 0.28%


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

Classification of Interpreters in New Mexico

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

  • Professionally Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who meets minimum professional competency standards and has achieved an 80 percent score on a written exam and an average of 70 percent on three oral exams for interpreters recognized by the New Mexico Judicial Department.
  • Conditionally Approved Interpreter: An interpreter who works in a language other than Spanish and has not achieved certification but has met minimum requirements to be considered for court interpreting assignments when a professionally certified interpreter is not available.

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.

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.