Legal Interpreting Guidelines in Maine

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.

Do You Need a Certified Interpreter?

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.

The Maine Judicial Branch is currently accepting applications for court interpreters in the following languages:

  • Amharic
  • Acholi
  • 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.

Classification of Interpreters in Maine

Maine utilizes a three-tiered system when classifying court interpreters. The three qualification levels are defined as:

Tier 1: An interpreter who has submitted an approved Application for Maine Interpreting Work, completed the Maine Court Interpreters 2-Day Orientation Program, and passed the National Center for State Courts written examination with a score of 70 or higher, obtained a minimum of “Advanced-Low” rating on ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview.

Tier 2: An interpreter who has submitted an approved Application for Maine Interpreting Work, completed the the Advanced 4-Day Legal Interpreter Training Program, passed the National Center for State Courts written examination with a score of 80 or higher, obtained a minimum of “Advanced-Low” rating on ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, and has at least 50 hours of documented legal interpreting experience and at least two years of post-secondary education.

Tier 3: An interpreter who has achieved Federal Court Certification or satisfactory completion of all three sections of the National Center for State Courts Oral Exam.

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:

Common Languages Spoken in Maine

  • French
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Russian
  • Chinese
  • Cushite
  • Vietnamese
  • Algonquian
  • Arabic
  • Italian
Portland lighthouse - Oregon court interpreting guidelines

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.