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Information for Interpreters
Becoming a Rostered Court Interpreter
This section has information for individuals interested in becoming qualified to serve as an interpreter in Maine state court proceedings.
Interpreters are highly skilled professionals who fulfill an essential role in the administration of justice. Interpreters help ensure that individuals restricted in their ability to participate in court proceedings due to being limited English proficient (LEP), having a speech impairment, hearing loss, and/or deafness are afforded equal access to justice.
Spoken Language Interpreter Requirements
Demonstrated Proficiency in English and the Target Language
Court interpreters must demonstrate the ability to:
- Quickly, accurately, and completely interpret spoken words from one language to another;
- Quickly, accurately, and completely sight translate written documents orally from one language to another;
- Understand basic legal terminology;
- Provide "meaning for meaning" interpretationâ€”preserving the register of speech and all relevant characteristics; and
- Write comprehensively and spell correctly in both languages.
Minimum Age, Education, and Credentials
- Twenty (20) years of age or older;
- High school diploma or equivalent;
- Authorized to work in the United States; and
- Have prior legal interpreting experience (preferred).
Steps to Apply (New Applicants)
1. Submit an Application for Maine Court Interpreter Work with a copy of your resume to:
Maine Judicial Branch, Administrative Office of the Courts
Attention: Communication Access Specialist
P.O. Box 4820
Portland, ME 04112-4820
You may also email materials to email@example.com.
2. Pass the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) written English examination
An overview of the test can be found at on the National Center for State Courts website at Court Interpreter Written Examination Overview. The passing score for Tier I rostering is 70%.
3. Pass the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)
The OPI is a live telephone examination in the non-English language between a certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. The passing score is an "Advanced-Low" rating on ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview in the non-English language.
4. Pass a Background Check
Candidates who pass the written English exam and OPI must pass a background check before proceeding to the Orientation Program described below. The Communication Access Specialist will provide eligible applicants with the background check form.
5. Complete the Maine Court Interpreter Orientation Program
The Maine Court Interpreter Orientation Program typically includes detailed information on the court interpreter's role, ethical requirements and standards of conduct, courtroom protocol and procedures, modes of interpreting (consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation), and various administrative matters including billing and payment procedures. All interpreters must agree to abide by the Judicial Branch Standards of Conduct for Interpreters Providing Services in Judicial Proceedings.
For details about re-testing policies, contact the Communication Access Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-822-0703.
Spoken language interpreters are categorized into three (3) "tiers" according to skill level, examination performance, training and education, and experience. Hourly compensation is based on an interpreter's tier, with Tier III being the highest.
Tier I: $35 per interpreting hour (see Steps to Apply) Tier II: $45 per interpreting hour
- Successful completion of Tier I requirements;
- At least two (2) years of post-secondary education;
- Score at least 80% on the National Center for State Courts Written Examination.
- Must complete and provide documentation of 32 hours of pre-approved advanced interpreter training; and
- Must provide documentation of at least 50 hours of approved legal interpreting experience.
Tier III: $50 per interpreting hour
- Successful completion of Tier II requirements AND
- Obtain Federal Court certification OR
- Pass all three (3) sections of the National Center for State Courts Oral Examination: sight translation; simultaneous interpretation; and consecutive interpretation.
Non-English Language ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPI)
Scheduled on an individual basis. Candidates that score 70% or higher on the National Center for State Courts English Language Written Examination written exam will receive an invitation by email.
Administrative Office of the Courts, 125 Presumpscot Street, Portland, ME 04103
$40, payable by check or money order.
Languages Currently Being Accepted
The Judicial Branch is now accepting applications for Rostered Court Interpreters. There is an ongoing need for qualified interpreters in the following languages: Acholi, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Cebuano, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Georgian, Greek, German, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Kirundi, Korean, Laotian, Lingala, Maay Maay (Mai Mai), Mandarin, Nuer, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Somali, Swahili, Tagalog, Taiwanese, Thai, Tigrinya, Vietnamese, Wolof, and Zande.
Single-Language French Roster Closed
The roster for single-language French interpreters is currently CLOSED to new applicants. Exceptions for highly qualified candidates will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To request an exception please contact the Communication Access Specialist at email@example.com.
Standards of Professional Conduct for Court Interpreters
Responsibilities of Spoken Language and ASL interpreters
The Standards of Professional Conduct for Interpreters apply to and are binding upon all persons, agencies, and organizations who provide court interpretation services.
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter Requirements
Interpretation services for LEP individuals whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) are governed by 5 M.R.S. § 48-A. That statute sets out the qualification requirements for ASL interpreters, one of which is licensure under Title 32, Chapter 22 and associated regulations adopted by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation (PFR/OPOR) (Rule 02-041 Chapter 50). Certification information is available at Maine Department of Labor (DOL) website.
Related Resources for ASL Interpreters
Maine DOL, Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Late Deafened
Information on Legal Interpreting and Legal Interpreting Resources