Justice System Interpreting


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. See JSI Registry Policy below.

This 26-week online program is designed to train interpreters who work throughout the justice system. Individuals interested in pursuing court interpreting certification are ideal candidates for this program. Attorneys, and experienced certified court interpreters and translators with a variety of backgrounds have designed this interdisciplinary curriculum. The program also includes a flexible internship. The program is available in Spanish and Language Neutral. Because its flexibility, candidates of all states are welcome to participate.


  • Interpreting skills (consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, and sight translation)

  • English legal terminology

  • Language-specific legal terms and expressions (Spanish)

  • Ethics & roles of the interpreter throughout the justice system cultural competency

  • Experience through an internship for NM residents

  • Preparation to work as interpreters in any setting within the justice system 

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JSI Students attending the 2-day face-to-face session as part of their internship. 


  • An integrated combination of online learning and internship makes training both accessible and high quality.

  • Participants who, in their court interpreting certification examinations, pass the written exam and attain between 55% and 69% in all three oral examinations will be added to the NM registry of Justice System Interpreters, which is available to a variety of potential employers.

  • The program includes an internship.

  • Excellent preparation for Court Interpreter Certification Examinations.

  • Financial aid available through Workforce Solutions for those who qualify.

  • Potential for employer-awarded scholarships and educational leave.


  • Court interpreter certification candidates with little or no experience interpreting in court proceedings.

  • Language-proficient individuals interested in pursuing court interpreting, or already certified or working interpreters seeking continuing education options and training refreshers.

  • Bilingual individuals already assisting or interested in assisting non-English speakers in the course of their regular work.


Introduction to NMCLA & Online Learning

4 weeks

Fundamentals of Translation & Interpreting

8 weeks

Ethics & Best Practices

4 weeks

Criminal & Procedure Law Terminology

4 weeks

Justice System Interpreting

8 weeks


The internship consists  of several online and in-person training components:

6-week Online Test Preparation Course (mandatory)

Court observations (mandatory)

In-person training session (mandatory for NM residents ONLY): Intensive practice; Mini mock trial; Interpreting for jurors/team interpreting; more info available here.

Interpreter experience at UNM Law Clinics (optional but encouraged)

Interpreter experience at UNM School of Law Mock Trials (optional but encouraged)

Final Examinations

See Court Interpreter Certification Examinations for a detailed description of the exams.

Program tuition does not include examination fees. However, graduates of the JSI program obtain a discount for the oral examinations. Fees for all oral examinations, if taken on the same day: $ 350.00. 



While the online environment offers great flexibility, it is not for everybody. You are not required to have special computer skills, but some computer literacy is needed. Because most of our students have not taken online training before, we strive to make our courses user-friendly. However, as an online course, you may be challenged to use and develop new computer skills, you will not receive immediate feedback and your learning will be dependent upon the time you invest in the exercises and assignments. Before you register, make certain that you are committed to both the work required and to making the online learning environment work for you.

  • Upon registration, participants receive a welcome message from the instructor and log into the class with a username and password. Participants also receive a student packet with the syllabus and information on the course.

  • There is no fixed schedule - participants do not have to be logged in at a specific time--, but they are required to complete their assignments within the deadlines set forth by the instructors.

  • While the course's schedule is very flexible, participants are expected to commit a minimum of five hours a week to complete their assignments. Consistent and continuous practice is key to the successful completion of the course. For this purpose, homework is assigned twice a week and must be submitted by the established deadlines.

  • Participants will practice extensively in the mode of interpreting they have selected using realistic courtroom audio. Participants record and submit their assignments for feedback, using NMCLA's proprietary audio recording software.

  • Activities include readings, quizzes, forums, videos, interpreting practice, and glossary-building exercises.


Be sure to have this equipment ready before the first day of the course. You will need:

  • A computer running the Microsoft Windows XP operating system or higher, or Apple OSX or higher.

  • A headset that can plug into your computer, built in or external microphone, and high-speed internet connection. Examples of headsets can be found here .

  • Web Browser: IE7+, Firefox, Mozilla, Chrome, Safari

  • JAVA: If using a Windows operating system then go to the Java website to check if you have the latest version installed. If you're using Mac OSX 1.3 or greater then you have Java. Simply go to the "Software Updates" option under the Apple menu to ensure that it is up-to-date. Adobe reader (to download and view pdf files). To download it for free, go to Adobe's website.


The NM Center for Language Access uses the Consortium's examinations as the final exam. Students who meet the requirements indicated below are granted the JSI Certificate issued by the NMCLA, NM Administrative Office of the Courts and are added to the JSI Registry -prior background check required by the Administrative Office of the Courts. This certificate does not certify interpreters.

Definition (As per Court Interpreter Standards of Practice & Payment Policies set forth by the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts)

A New Mexico justice system spoken language interpreter is an individual who has successfully completed the Justice System Interpreting course of study with the New Mexico Center for Language Access (NMCLA). Upon notification of their successful completion from NMCLA the individual will be placed on the AOC Registry of Justice System Interpreters.

Payment Guidelines for NM Justice System

Spoken Languages Interpreters

Fee per hour:


Fee per hour for travel time:



Students will be added to the New Mexico's JSI Registry, if they:

  1. Successfully complete their coursework (all five classes) and internship. Students must meet this requirement to be able to take their final examinations. 
  2. Take their examinations on the dates indicated below. (See Class Schedule.)
  3. Score 80% or above in their written examination (Part 1 of the final exam) to be able to take their oral examinations.
  4. Score between 55% and 69% in ALL oral examinations (the scores in all three modes of interpreting need to meet this requirement). Please keep in mind that the oral examination consists of two parts:
    • Simultaneous interpreting. (Part 2 of the final exam)
    • Sight-translation and consecutive interpreting. (Part 3 of the final exam)
  • If you score 70% in ALL the oral examinations, you become a certified court interpreter. You will receive the JSI certificate from NMCLA, NM Administrative Office of the Courts and the certification from the State.
  • This certificate is awarded to students who successfully complete the program.
  • Duration: 20 weeks + internship 
    Tuition: $2,560 (or 3 installments of $1000.00) + Skills Assessment Fee: $75.00


The application process consists of an application form and an online language skills assessment interview.

Please follow these steps:

Step I: Fill out this application form.

Step II: Submit your registration form. Select: JSI - Mandatory Skills Assessment $75.00

Step III: You will receive an automated confirmation email. Follow the instructions for submitting your payment for the Skills Assessment Fee ($75.00). Upon receipt of your payment, we will schedule your online automated interview.

Results of your admission process will be emailed to you within 72 hours.


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

237 Don Gaspar, Room 25
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
505 827 4822

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