Court Interpreter Credentialing

Spoken Languages

Requirements for attaining court interpreter credentialing in New Mexico

In accordance to NM Administrative Office of the Courts' Policy, court interpreter certification candidates have two paths to becoming certified in the state of NM. They can either take the Introduction to Court Interpreter course and prepare on their own for the certification exams, or they can take the Justice System Interpreter Certificate Program (JSI). Candidates with little or no experience as court interpreters are encouraged to take the full certificate program. The JSI program has additional benefits, as explained below. 

The Fundamentals of Court Interpreting [Interactive Adobe Flash Video] 

Resource Guide for Court Interpreters [pdf]

Step I: Introduction to Court Interpreting Course

This online course is mandatory for anyone pursing court interpreter certification in New Mexico. This course consists of what used to be the Orientation & Skills Building Workshop. For your convenience, these two workshops have been combined into a 2-week online course, which you can do from home or work, no matter where you are, as long as you have internet connection. The course provides opportunities for improving English legal terminology, practicing the modes of interpreting and learning about the specifics of working in the courtroom, while exploring the ethical considerations of court interpreting in more depth.

Only after successfully completing the Introduction to Court Interpreter Certification may candidates register for the written examination, the next step in the certification process. We highly recommend additional training prior to registering for the oral examinations.

Step II: Written Examination

A score of 80% or above is required to register for the Simultaneous Exam.

Step III: Oral Examinations

Simultaneous Examination: A score of 70% or above is required to register for the Consecutive and Sight Translation Exams. 

Consecutive and Sight Translation Examinations: A score of 70% or above on each of these exams is required for certification

Upon certification, interpreters must comply with NM AOC's Continuing Education and Credential Verification requirements as set forth on Attachment D of the court interpreter contract

About Justice System Interpreters

Justice System Interpreter is a category recognized by the NM Judiciary. Justice System Interpreters are included in the Registry of Justice System Interpreters maintained by the NM Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and covered by the Supreme Court's established fee schedule and continuing education and background check requirements.

Requirements for Justice System Interpreters in New Mexico

Step I: Must complete the Justice System Interpreting Certificate Program

Program description

Step II: Written Examination

A score of 80% or above is required to register for the Simultaneous Exam.

Step III: Oral Examinations

Simultaneous Examination: A score of 55%-69% is required to register for the Consecutive and Sight Translation Exams. 

Consecutive and Sight Translation Examinations: A score of 55%-69% on each of these exams is required for candidates to be included in the JSI registry.

Upon credentialing, interpreters must comply with NM AOC's Continuing Education and Credential Verification requirements as set forth on Attachmet D of the court interpreter contract

Sign Language

Requirements for attaining court interpreter credentialing in New Mexico

Interpreters must be RID Certified and hold Community License in NM. The NM AOC recognizes three categories for Sign Language Interpreters: Legal Specialist, Legally Qualified and Legal Apprentice.

If you are interested in becoming a court interpreter for the NM State Courts, please email Joshua Kahawai, Management Analyst: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Eldora Morris, Sign Language Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will email you an AOC application form, which you will have to fill out and return to us together with the documentation listed on the application. Requirements for each category appear below. 

Hearing Interpreters

The requirements below were revised in March 2017 in light of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) establishing a moratorium on awarding its Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L). New qualification options as of March 2017 have been added to the existing requirements in bold/italics.

Certified: Legal Specialist:

RID Generalist Certification • Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L) or Board of Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) Court Interpreter Certification • BA degree or RID’s Alternative Pathway • NM Community License • Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation • 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle • Background Check • Maintain and comply with (BEI) Court Interpreter Certification and CEU requirements (if holding BEI Court Interpreter Certification) • 3 professional references

Certified: Legally Qualified:

RID Generalist Certification • Pass SC:L Written Test or Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS)-approved court interpreter written test* • BA degree or RID’s Alternative Pathway • NM Community License • Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation • 20-hour in-court observation, supervised work and/or mentoring • 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle • Background Check • 3 professional references

Certified: Legal Apprentice

RID Generalist Certification • NM Community License • BA degree or RID’s Alternative Pathway • Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation • 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle • Background Check • 3 professional references

* The court interpreter written examination that New Mexico currently administers is approved by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS). Texas requires a minimum passing grade of 80% on the written examination before a candidate can be considered for the Court Performance Test. 

A description of the written examination is available here. Examination dates are available here.  

Passing this exam at 80% or above does not automatically make a candidate eligible to take the BEI Court Performance Test. Candidates interested in pursuing BEI's Court Interpreter Certification must additionally comply with BEI's requirements for testing/certification. (See relevant extracts from the Texas Rule at the end of this document). 

Candidates must show proof of having passed the court interpreter written examination in NM when applying for BEI’s Court Interpreter Certification. Once eligibility is established, DHHS is able to coordinate a testing date in Austin, TX for the Court Performance Test. More info.

RULE §109.315 Qualifications and Requirements for Court Certificate 

(a) An applicant who is hearing must meet the following qualifications to become a Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI)-certified court interpreter: 

(1) hold at least one BEI certificate at Level III, IV, V, IIIi, IVi, Vi, Advanced, Master, or Oral: Comprehensive; or hold certification from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) with a Comprehensive Skills Certificate, Certificate of Interpretation/Certificate of Transliteration, Reverse Skills Certificate, Certified Deaf Interpreter, or Master Comprehensive Skills Certificate, or National Interpreter Certification Advanced or National Interpreter Certification Master;

(2) pass the DARS DHHS-approved court interpreter written test, which may only be taken by applicants who hold one of the certificates listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection; and

(3) pass the court performance test, which may only be taken by applicants who have passed the court interpreter written test. 

(b) An applicant must provide DARS DHHS with documentary proof that the applicant meets the requirements for testing and for certification. 

Deaf Interpreters

Certified: Legal Specialist Requirements: RID Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) - Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit: Relay (CLIP-R) - NM Community License - Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation - Background Check - 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle - Background Check - 3 professional references

Certified: Legally Qualified Requirements: RID Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) - NM Community License - CDI Training sufficient to take CDI Written test - Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation - 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle - Background Check - 3 professional references

Certified: Legal Apprentice Requirements: CDI Training sufficient to take CDI Written test - NM Provisional License -  BA Degree (as of 2016) - Introduction to NM Courts Seminar & AOC Orientation - 2.0 Legal CEUs in each 4-year RID CMP cycle - Background Check - 3 professional references

About RID Certification

Upon credentialing, interpreters must comply with NM AOC's Continuing Education and Credential Verification requirements as set forth on Attachmet D of the court interpreter contract

COURT INTERPRETER RESOURCES

If you are interested in becoming a NM Court Interpreter, please explore our website. We offer a variety of training opportunities for different levels and languages. 

Resource Guide for Court Interpreters [pdf]

Court Interpreter Certification Resources I

Court Interpreter Certification Resources II

NM Center for Language Access
New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts 

237 Don Gaspar, Room 25
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
aocjmk@nmcourts.gov
505 827 4822
nmcenterforlanguageaccess.org

 
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