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States Improving Language Access for Limited English Speaking Individuals
November 15, 2016 - By: - In: Interpretation - Comments Off on States Improving Language Access for Limited English Speaking Individuals

Slowly but surely, the United States is expanding language access for limited English proficient individuals. In some cases it’s required by law and sometimes it just makes good customer service sense. It may be time for your organization to take a look at how best to provide language services to those who could benefit. Here’s the latest.

Here on the blog we’ve talked about some of the laws in the United States that mandate limited English proficient individuals receive access to health care in their own language. Laws like Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (section 2000d), Executive Order 13166 (from August 11, 2000), and the more recent Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, as they only apply to settings where federal funding is received, language access in practice is not universal, and particularly if the language in question is not a common one like Spanish.

Today, language access in the US still varies greatly from state to state and even from site to site. Not all limited English speaking patients and their family members receive the information they need in a language they understand.

At the same time, I’m happy to say, language access for limited English speaking individuals is improving. Not just in health care, but in the judicial system and other settings too. It’s not just my imagination either.

As Slator reported, states like California are stepping up to bolster language access for limited English speaking individuals. California recently expanded court interpretation services with a 10% increase in its funding for the 2016-2017 state budget. In addition, Assembly Bill No. 635 will fund a pilot to study the provision of medical interpretation for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Oregon is giving its certified court interpreters a raise and North Carolina is expanding its language access services for some state programs.

And You?

What about your organization? Do you need to start providing, or expand, access to your services in languages other than English? If so, Responsive Translation can help. We currently provide translation and interpreting to many organizations that receive public funding.

If you’d like more information on the different types of cost-effective foreign language services available, or on the federal, state and local laws that may be applicable to your organization, please get in touch at 212-355-4455 ext 208 or

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