Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Maine

maine on US mapRegulations for legal interpreters in Maine differ from those in other states.

Legal Language Services ranks Maine as a state with lightly regulated legal interpreting requirements.

In general, your legal interpreter must have the appropriate level of certification that meets your language needs. This is especially true if you require a certified interpreter.

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 in Maine 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 Maine.

Requirements for Certified Interpreters in Maine

Maine does not require certified interpreters for any legal proceeding, nor does the state offer certification in any language.

However, complainants, defendants and witnesses part of any court or grand jury proceedings who are deaf or who have a language barrier have the right to an interpreter pursuant to the Maine Human Rights Act. If legal interpreters are not available locally, judges may request the presence of a certified or otherwise qualified interpreter from outside the state if it is deemed necessary in court proceedings.

There are three qualification levels for court interpreters in Maine, Tier I, II and III.

Maine does recognize the written examination given by the National Center for State Courts requires Tier I interpreters to:

  • File an approved application,
  • Pass the NCSC written examination with a score of 70 or higher,
  • Pass an Oral Proficiency Interview in the target language, and
  • Complete the two-day Maine Court Interpreters Orientation Program.

Requirements for Tier II interpreters includes all of the above, and:

  • Pass the NCSC written examination with a score of 70 or higher,
  • Complete the four-day Advanced Legal Interpreter Training Program,
  • Demonstrate at least 50 hours of documented legal interpreting experience,
  • At least two years of post-secondary education.

Tier III certification entails federal certification or certification from the National Center for State Courts.

In addition to Spanish, applications are currently being accepted for interpreters in the following languages:

  • Acholi
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Croatian
  • Dari
  • Dinka
  • Farsi
  • Greek
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Khmer (Cambodian)
  • Kirundi
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Lingala
  • Nuer
  • Pashto
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Serbian
  • Somali
  • Tagalog
  • Taiwanese
  • Thai
  • Tigrinya
  • Wolof
  • Zande
  • Other languages spoken in South Sudan and Sudan

Call Legal Language Services at 1-800-788-0450 to find Maine interpreters for courtroom trials, hearings, depositions, arbitrations and other legal proceedings.

Common Languages Spoken in Maine

According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 7.09% of the Maine population speaks a language other than English.

What’s more, almost 86% of the non-English speaking population in Maine speaks one of the following 10 languages:

French 55.43%
Spanish 13.40%
German 4.37%
Russian 2.68%
Chinese 2.54%
Cushite 1.97%
Vietnamese 1.69%
Algonquian 1.41%
Arabic 1.13%
Italian 1.13%


Other languages spoken in Maine include Tagalog, Mon-Khmer/Cambodian, Korean, Greek, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese, Polish, Hindi, Dutch, Amharic, Bulgarian, Czech, Hebrew, Finnish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Fulani.

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 Maine is believed to be accurate at the time of posting; however, Legal Language Services is not responsible for any errors or omissions.