Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation

October 24, 2007
Contact: Don Cookson

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Halts Plan For Foreign Language
Translations of Driver License Manuals and Testing Materials

Cites High Cost as Primary Factor for Decision

Augusta — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will not be moving forward with efforts to translate driver license examination manuals and associated materials into French and Spanish. According to the latest U.S. Census, nearly 64,000 Mainers speak French as their primary language, and nearly 10,000 Mainers use Spanish as their primary language. “We know there is an interest in making these materials available in other languages, but right now, the cost is just too great when compared to the demand,” Dunlap said. “We were hopeful this could be a cost-efficient project, but based on the prices companies were quoting us to provide accurate translations, that hasn’t proved to be the case.”

The State issued a request for proposals for translating motorist handbooks, study guides and examinations from English into French and Spanish. Twenty-three different vendors submitted proposals for the work. “The prices really surprised us,” said Dunlap. “The proposals carried an average cost of nearly $75,000, and that’s just way too much for this project to be considered affordable.”

“I want to remind people they may have a person of their choosing translate our materials to meet their needs, and they may bring that individual along with them at the time of written testing to assist them with any additional translation needs,” Dunlap explained, adding “we will certainly re-visit the possibility of translations at some point in the future. Such a re-evaluation will allow us to determine if there has been an increase in demand, a substantial decrease in translation costs, or both.”