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Practicing without a license is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine. Interpreting is defined as any form of facilitating communication in a visual form, regardless of the individual’s job title or position description.
Licenses are issued by the Signed Language Interpreting Practice Board (SLIPB) under the Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD). RLD is responsible for licensure of more than 200 professions in the state of New Mexico. The statute, rules, forms and a searchable database of licensed interpreters can be found at the SLIPB website.
There are three types of licenses issued by the SLIPB:
Not all interpreters are qualified to work in all settings. Specialized training in specific skills and vocabulary are required for many types of interpreting, such as work in medical, mental health, legal, and post-secondary environments. It is the responsibility of the interpreter to only accept work for which he or she is qualified. This requirement is established in the Code of Professional Conduct developed by RID and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), which is included below.Interpreters with a provisional license are almost never permitted to interpret in court, and should generally not work in medical, mental health, or legal settings.
All licensed interpreters are required to adhere to the RID-NAD Code of Professional Conduct (CPC). The CPC assures accountability, responsibility, and trust to the individuals served by interpreting professionals.
Further details and the full version of the CPC can be found at the RID website.
Individuals who wish to file a complaint against an individual for interpreting without a license or for a violation of the Code of Professional Conduct may access the necessary procedure and form on the SLIPB website.
Anyone may file a complaint, which will then be investigated and the individual against whom the complaint is file will have the opportunity to respond. Complaints go before the Board at their regular meetings, but all names are removed before the complaint is presented to the Board to assure neutrality. The Board has several options, ranging from dismissing the complaint, to imposing a fine, to referring the complaint to the Attorney General for prosecution.
The following are statutory exemptions from the licensure requirement:
The Signed Language Interpreting Practices Act is §61-34-1 NMSA 1978 and can be accessed via the SLIPB website. Penalty and sentencing authority citations are as follows.
A person who violates a provision of the Signed Language Interpreting Practices Act is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced pursuant to Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.
31-19-1. Sentencing authority[;] misdemeanors; imprisonment and fines; probation.
A. Where the defendant has been convicted of a crime constituting a misdemeanor, the judge shall sentence the person to be imprisoned in the county jail for a definite term less than one year or to the payment of a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or to both such imprisonment and fine in the discretion of the judge.
For additional detailed information about interpreter licensure in New Mexico, please see the Fact Sheet entitled Signed Language Interpreter Licensure: History and Purpose in the "Interpreter Licensure" section of our Fact Sheets page.
Lisa Dignan, M.Ed., CI and CTDirector of Community EngagementLisa.Dignan@state.nm.us
Amanda LewisBoard AdministratorRegulation & Licensing DepartmentBoards & CommissionsPhone: 505-476-4622Amanda.Lewis@state.nm.us
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