Legal Interpretation Certificate: Spanish

Court interpreters ensure language barriers do not morph into legal barriers for people whose primary language is not English. The Nevada Court Interpreter Program was established in 2002 to provide consistent guidelines for access to court interpreters in the state. As the population of Nevada grows and diversifies, and as the economy becomes increasingly global, the demand for legal interpreters is expected to grow.

Nevada courts use interpreters during court proceedings where a witness, defendant, or litigant has Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The role of the court interpreter is to provide written translation of documents or oral interpretation related to a case. Interpreters must not provide legal advice or deviate from direct translation.

Legal interpreters must be highly skilled in multiple areas. A robust knowledge of legal processes and terminology is essential. Interpreters must be fully aware of all laws and ethical considerations governing legal interpretation in Nevada. An ability and willingness to research topic areas relevant to a case to become familiar with terms that may come up in legal proceedings is also valuable. Legal interpreters must be able to complete sight translation (translating orally from a written document) work with extreme accuracy. They also must be able to perform both simultaneous interpretation (speaking at the same time as the client) and consecutive interpretation (speaking after the client) services both from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. The UNLV Legal Interpreter Certificate curriculum offers opportunities to learn and practice all these skills in preparation for state certification exams. 

For additional information about state requirements, please visit Nevada's Court Interpreter Program site

Earn your UNLV Legal Interpreter Certificate 

The Legal Interpretation: Spanish Certificate Program helps to train bilingual students for the profession of certified court interpreter, a profession much in demand given the linguistic diversity of the state of Nevada. This unique program can also prepare qualified students for a career as a certified interpreter for any industry that needs to serve individuals with limited English skills, including government agencies, corporations, hospitals and telecoms. Bilingual persons already employed in another capacity can increase their skills and their remuneration with this formal interpreting certification. .

Program Requirements:

To earn the Legal Interpretation: Spanish Certificate you must successfully complete six required core courses.
  • Introduction to Legal Interpreting
  • Legal Sight Translation
  • Legal Consecutive Interpreting I
  • Legal Simultaneous Interpreting I
  • Legal Consecutive Interpreting II
  • Legal Simultaneous Interpreting II 


You must have at least a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. You must provide proof of proficiency in both English and Spanish. Documentation of at least one of the following from each list is needed to demonstrate proficiency.

Please scan and email at least one documents to To avoid any potential security risks transferred through unsecured email, please remove references to social security numbers or confidential information on your documents prior to email submission. If you have several documents for one language, please scan them as one file for upload. Files must be received three business days prior to course start.

If you started the program prior to August 2018 and have earned a passing grade in any of the six courses, you are exempt from the proficiency requirements.

Acceptable Documents for Evidence of English Proficiency

  • High school diploma from a high school in the U.S. or other English language country or from an American School abroad.
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education in the U.S. or other English language country.
  • Language testing such as one of the following tests:
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): 570+ on paper; 230+ on computer version; 90+ on iBT.
    • ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test): 950+
    • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) 80+
    • ECPE (Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English): PASS
    • FCE (First Certificate in English, Level 3): A
    • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English, Level 4): B
    • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English, Level 5): B
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 7.0
    • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.
  • Successful passage of an established interpreter/translator certification exam (that includes a language-specific performance test), such as:
    • The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam (FCICE)
    • Any National Center for State Court (NCSC) exam
    • Other national or state certification exams, e.g., ATA, BEI, NAJIT, NBCMI, RID, State of Washington Medical Interpreter Certification.

Acceptable Documents for Evidence of Spanish Proficiency (documents must be translated into English)

  • High school diploma from a high school in a country where Spanish is spoken
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education where Spanish is spoken.
  • 24+ semester college credit hours of Spanish
  • Language Testing
    • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.
  • Time spent studying and/or working where the applicant was required to perform tasks at a professional level in Spanish at least 75% of the time.

Language Testing

If you do not have documents from the list(s) to demonstrate proficiency, you can take English or Spanish language proficiency exams online through our partnership with Language Testing International. Download instructions on how to access and schedule the exam. Please note, you must choose Exam Level 4 or higher to be evaluated for an advanced-mid level rating. You must have access to a computer with internet, microphone, and video capability to take the exam.

Learning Outcomes: