Maine will add barber licensing exams in Arabic, 9 other languages

Barber licensing tests in Maine will be offered in 10 more languages -- including Arabic -- sometime this year, and perhaps as early as this summer.

Currently, tests are only offered in English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Anne Head, commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, said the test will be offered in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, German, Japanese, Tagalog, Hindi, Mon-Khmer (Cambodian), Persian and Laotian by the end of the year, the newspaper reported.

Last month, the Kennebec Journal reported that Arabic-speaking barber students were having trouble obtaining state licenses because exams were not offered in their native language.

"The department appreciates the frustration of those who wish to work in Maine but who may face language barriers," Head wrote in a Jan. 31 letter to the Press Herald. "We are actively working with the licensing boards internal to the department to address those barriers and are proud to be part of efforts to grow Maine's workforce."

Five of the languages will be available within the first six months, and the other five will be completed by the end of the year, the Press Herald reported.

Head said Arabic is expected to be included in the first five translated written exams, the newspaper reported.

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