Corporation for National and Community Service.
Policy guidance document.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (hereinafter the “Corporation”) adopts final Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons (the Corporation's Recipient LEP Guidance). The Corporation's Recipient LEP Guidance is issued pursuant to Executive Order 13166, and supplants existing guidance on the same subject originally published at 66 FR 3548 (January 16, 2001).
This “Guidance” is effective October 21, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
The Corporation for National and Community Service, Nancy B. Voss, Director, Equal Opportunity Office, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20525. Telephone 202-606-5000, extension 309; TDD: 202-565-2799.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Under Department of Justice regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq. (Title VI), recipients of federal financial assistance have a responsibility to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). See 28 CFR 42.104(b)(2). Executive Order 13166, reprinted at 65 FR 50121 (August 16, 2000), directs each federal agency that extends assistance subject to the requirements of Title VI to publish guidance for its respective recipients clarifying that obligation. Executive Order 13166 further directs that all such guidance documents be consistent with the compliance standards and framework detailed in Department of Justice Policy Guidance entitled “Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—National Origin Discrimination Against Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” See 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 2000).
Initial guidance on obligations of recipients of the Corporation to take reasonable steps to ensure access by LEP persons was published on January 16, 2001. See 66 FR 3548. That guidance document was republished for additional public comment on February 5, 2002. See 67 FR 5258.
The Corporation received two comments in response to its February 5, 2002 publication of revised draft guidance on obligations of the Corporation's recipients to take reasonable steps to ensure access to programs and activities by LEP persons. The comments reflected the views of organizations serving LEP populations. While the comments identified areas for improvement and/or revision, the overall response to the draft of the Corporation's Recipient LEP Guidance was favorable.
Specific comments suggested strengthening the guidance to ensure that “grantee” includes every entity receiving direct or indirect federal financial assistance from the Corporation and that all of the recipient's activities are covered, as well as providing more guidance to recipients in promoting sub-recipients' compliance and recipients' liability for failure to do so. Additional comments requested that grantees be required to document language assistance efforts; that the balancing test not be used to deny LEP individuals access to important services; that recipients be provided assistance in determining the population within which to assess the number of LEP persons without relying on census data alone; that staff be required to receive periodic refresher training; that maintaining a written policy for language access be mandatory rather than advisory and that greater detail be included regarding policies, such as directing recipients to post notices and provide a telephone voicemail menu and addressing goals and accountability; that a “safe harbor” for translation of documents be included; and that translators in addition to community organizations check translated documents.
Subsequent to the Corporation's publication and republication of its Guidance, the Corporation received notification from the Department of Justice that the Corporation should conform its Guidance to guidance issued by the Department of Justice. By memorandum to federal agencies received July 8, 2002, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, stated that it is critical that agency LEP recipient guidance documents be consistent with one another. He noted that in its March 14, 2002 Report to Congress on the Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order Number 13166 (http://www.lep.gov), the Office of Management and Budget has made it clear that the benefits of Executive Order 13166 can be substantial, both to the recipients and to the ultimate beneficiaries. However, OMB also stressed that in order to reduce costs of compliance, consistency in agency guidance documents is critical, particularly since many recipients receive assistance from more than one federal agency. Therefore, Assistant Attorney General Boyd directed federal agencies to use the Department of Justice's final guidance to Department of Justice recipients published at 67 FR 41455 on June 18, 2002 as their model for publication or republication of recipient LEP guidance, modifying examples to make them relevant to the particular agency's recipients.
Accordingly, the Corporation adopted the Department of Justice's model in Start Printed Page 64605issuing this final version of the Corporation's Guidance. Therefore, we are not responding directly to the comments received by the Corporation. We believe that the Department of Justice fully considered the issues identified by those commenting on the Corporation's Guidance when the Department of Justice issued its final guidance.
The text of the Corporation's final guidance document appears below.
It has been determined that this Guidance, which supplants existing Guidance on the same subject previously published at 66 FR 3548 (January 16, 2001), does not constitute a regulation subject to the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553.Start Signature
Dated: October 15, 2002.
Chief Operating Officer.
Most individuals living in the United States read, write, speak and understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom English is not their primary language. For instance, based on the 2000 census, over 26 million individuals speak Spanish and almost 7 million individuals speak an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. If these individuals have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English, they are limited English proficient, or “LEP.” While detailed data from the 2000 census has not yet been released, 26% of all Spanish-speakers, 29.9% of all Chinese-speakers, and 28.2% of all Vietnamese-speakers reported that they spoke English “not well” or “not at all” in response to the 1990 census.
Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to accessing important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by federally funded programs and activities. The Federal Government funds an array of services that can be made accessible to otherwise eligible LEP persons. The Federal Government is committed to improving the accessibility of these programs and activities to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces its equally important commitment to promoting programs and activities designed to help individuals learn English. Recipients should not overlook the long-term positive impacts of incorporating or offering English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in parallel with language assistance services. ESL courses can serve as an important adjunct to a proper LEP plan. However, the fact that ESL classes are made available does not obviate the statutory and regulatory requirement to provide meaningful access for those who are not yet English proficient. Recipients of federal financial assistance have an obligation to reduce language barriers that can preclude meaningful access by LEP persons to important government services.
In certain circumstances, failure to ensure that LEP persons can effectively participate in or benefit from federally assisted programs and activities may violate the prohibition under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d and Title VI regulations against national origin discrimination. The purpose of this policy guidance is to assist recipients in fulfilling their responsibilities to provide meaningful access to LEP persons under existing law. This policy guidance clarifies existing legal requirements for LEP persons by providing a description of the factors recipients should consider in fulfilling their responsibilities to LEP persons. These are the same criteria the Corporation will use in evaluating whether recipients are in compliance with Title VI and Title VI regulations.
Many commentators have noted that some have interpreted the case of Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), as impliedly striking down the regulations promulgated under Title VI that form the basis for the part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally assisted programs and activities. The Department of Justice has taken the position that this is not the case, and has reaffirmed its LEP Guidance to federal grant-making agencies. Accordingly, we will strive to ensure that federally assisted programs and activities work in a way that is effective for all eligible beneficiaries, including those with limited English proficiency.
II. Legal Authority
Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, provides that no person shall “on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Section 602 authorizes and directs federal agencies that are empowered to extend federal financial assistance to any program or activity “to effectuate the provisions of [section 601] * * * by issuing rules, regulations, or orders of general applicability.” 42 U.S.C. 2000d-1.
Department of Justice regulations promulgated pursuant to section 602 forbid recipients from “utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.” 28 CFR 42.104(b)(2). The Corporation's regulations impose the same prohibitions on recipients. 45 CFR 1203.4.
The Supreme Court, in Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), interpreted regulations promulgated by the former Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, including a regulation similar to that of Department of Justice, 45 CFR 80.3(b)(2), to hold that Title VI prohibits conduct that has a disproportionate effect on LEP persons because such conduct constitutes national origin discrimination. In Lau, a San Francisco school district that had a significant number of non-English speaking students of Chinese origin was required to take reasonable steps to provide them with a meaningful opportunity to participate in federally funded educational programs.
On August 11, 2000, Executive Order 13166 was issued. “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” 65 FR 50121 (August 16, 2000). Under that order, every federal agency that provides financial assistance to non-federal entities must publish guidance on how their recipients can provide meaningful access to LEP persons and thus comply with Title VI regulations forbidding funding recipients from “restrict[ing] an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program” or from “utiliz[ing] criteria or methods Start Printed Page 64606of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.”
On that same day, Department of Justice issued a general guidance document addressed to “Executive Agency Civil Rights Officers” setting forth general principles for agencies to apply in developing guidance documents for recipients pursuant to the Executive Order. “Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency,” 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 2000) (Department of Justice “LEP Guidance”).
Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the Corporation developed its own guidance document for recipients and initially issued it on January 16, 2001. “Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons,” 66 FR 3548 (January 16, 2001). Subsequent to the Corporation's publication and republication of its Guidance for further comment on February 5, 2002, the Corporation received notification from the Department of Justice that the Corporation should conform its Guidance to guidance issued by the Department of Justice. By memorandum to federal agencies received July 8, 2002, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, stated that it is critical that agency LEP recipient guidance documents be consistent with one another. Assistant Attorney General Boyd directed federal agencies to use the Department of Justice's final guidance to Department of Justice recipients published at 67 FR 41455 on June 18, 2002 as their model for publication or republication of recipient LEP guidance, modifying examples to make them relevant to the particular agency's recipients.
This guidance document is thus published pursuant to Executive Order 13166 and supplants the January 16, 2001 publication in light of Assistant Attorney General Boyd's July 8, 2002 clarifying memorandum.
III. Who Is Covered?
All recipients of federal financial assistance from the Corporation are required to provide meaningful access to LEP persons. Federal financial assistance includes grants, cooperative agreements, training, technical assistance, use of equipment, donations of surplus property, and other assistance. A grantee is any entity receiving federal financial assistance from the Corporation to operate a federally assisted program. Recipients of the Corporation's assistance include, for example:
- State Commissions.
- AmeriCorps*VISTA and Senior Corps sponsors.
- State educational agencies and schools from elementary through graduate level.
- AmeriCorps*NCCC projects.
- Community based organizations, both secular and faith-based.
- Non-profits, from national organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America to neighborhood entities such as senior centers.
Subrecipients likewise are covered when federal funds are passed through from one recipient to a subrecipient.
Coverage extends to a recipient's entire program or activity, i.e., to all parts of a recipient's operations. This is true even if only one part of the recipient receives the federal assistance.
Example: The Corporation provides assistance to a school to facilitate an after school program. The entire school system'not just the particular school'is covered.
Finally, some recipients operate in jurisdictions in which English has been declared the official language. Nonetheless, these recipients continue to be subject to federal non-discrimination requirements, including those applicable to the provision of federally assisted services to persons with limited English proficiency.
IV. Who Is a Limited English Proficient Individual?
Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English can be limited English proficient, or “LEP,” entitled to language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.
Examples of populations likely to include LEP persons who are encountered and/or served by the Corporation's recipients and should be considered when planning language services include, but are not limited to:
- Applicants for or participants enrolled in national service programs (AmeriCorps, National Senior Service Corps or Learn and Serve America).
- Persons receiving services, or eligible to receive, services performed by participants in national service programs or by other portions of the recipient's program or activity.
V. How Does a Recipient Determine the Extent of Its Obligation To Provide LEP Services?
Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the following four factors: (1) The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or grantee; (2) the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program; (3) the nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program to people's lives; and (4) the resources available to the grantee/recipient and costs. As indicated above, the intent of this guidance is to suggest a balance that ensures meaningful access by LEP persons to critical services while not imposing undue burdens on small business, small local governments, or small nonprofits.
After applying the above four-factor analysis, a recipient may conclude that different language assistance measures are sufficient for the different types of programs or activities in which it engages. For instance, some of a recipient's activities will be more important than others and/or have greater impact on or contact with LEP persons, and thus may require more in the way of language assistance. The flexibility that recipients have in addressing the needs of the LEP populations they serve does not diminish, and should not be used to minimize, the obligation that those needs be addressed. Recipients of the Corporation should apply the following four factors to the various kinds of contacts that they have with the public to assess language needs and decide what reasonable steps they should take to ensure meaningful access for LEP persons. Start Printed Page 64607
(1) The Number or Proportion of LEP Persons Served or Encountered in the Eligible Service Population
One factor in determining what language services recipients should provide is the number or proportion of LEP persons from a particular language group served or encountered in the eligible service population. The greater the number or proportion of these LEP persons, the more likely language services are needed. Ordinarily, persons “eligible to be served, or likely to be directly affected, by” a recipient's program or activity are those who are served or encountered in the eligible service population. This population will be program-specific, and includes persons who are in the geographic area that has been approved by a federal grant agency as the recipient's service area. However, where, for instance, a State Commission serves a large LEP population, the appropriate service area is most likely the geographic service areas or operating sites defined in the Corporation's grant applications, and not the entire state. Where no service area has previously been approved, the relevant service area may be that which is approved by state or local authorities or designated by the recipient itself, provided that these designations do not themselves discriminatorily exclude certain populations.
Recipients should first examine their prior experiences with LEP encounters and determine the breadth and scope of language services that were needed. In conducting this analysis, it is important to include language minority populations that are eligible for their programs or activities but may be underserved because of existing language barriers. Other data should be consulted to refine or validate a recipient's prior experience, including the latest census data for the area served, data from school systems and from community organizations, and data from state and local governments. Community agencies, school systems, religious organizations, legal aid entities, and others can often assist in identifying populations for whom outreach is needed and who would benefit from the recipients' programs and activities were language services provided.
(2) The Frequency With Which LEP Individuals Come in Contact With the Program
Recipients should assess, as accurately as possible, the frequency with which they have or should have contact with an LEP individual from different language groups seeking assistance. The more frequent the contact with a particular language group, the more likely that enhanced language services in that language are needed. The steps that are reasonable for a recipient that serves an LEP person on a one-time basis will be very different than those expected from a recipient that serves LEP persons daily. It is also advisable to consider the frequency of different types of language contacts. For example, frequent contacts with Spanish-speaking people who are LEP may require certain assistance in Spanish. Less frequent contact with different language groups may suggest a different and less intensified solution. If an LEP individual accesses a program or service on a daily basis, a recipient has greater duties than if the same individual's program or activity contact is unpredictable or infrequent. But even recipients that serve LEP persons on an unpredictable or infrequent basis should use this balancing analysis to determine what to do if an LEP individual seeks services under the program in question. This plan need not be intricate. It may be as simple as being prepared to use one of the commercially-available telephonic interpretation services to obtain immediate interpreter services. In applying this standard, recipients should take care to consider whether appropriate outreach to LEP persons could increase the frequency of contact with LEP language groups.
(3) The Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or Service Provided by the Program
The more important the activity, information, service, or program, or the greater the possible consequences of the contact to the LEP individuals, the more likely language services are needed. The obligations to communicate information in situations involving health and safety (such as home visits to the frail elderly, vaccinations and immunizations, maternal health screening); disaster response; homeland security; legal rights (such as assisting persons preparing to apply for citizenship or enrolling for government or social services) differ, for example, from those to provide recreational programming. A recipient needs to determine whether denial or delay of access to services or information could have serious or even life-threatening implications for the LEP individual.
(4) The Resources Available to the Recipient and Costs
A recipient's level of resources and the costs that would be imposed on it may have an impact on the nature of the steps it should take. Smaller recipients with more limited budgets are not expected to provide the same level of language services as larger recipients with larger budgets. In addition, “reasonable steps” may cease to be reasonable where the costs imposed substantially exceed the benefits.
Resource and cost issues, however, can often be reduced by technological advances; the sharing of language assistance materials and services among and between recipients, advocacy groups, and Federal grant agencies; and reasonable business practices. Where appropriate, training bilingual staff to act as interpreters and translators, information sharing through industry groups, telephonic and video conferencing interpretation services, pooling resources and standardizing documents to reduce translation needs, using qualified translators and interpreters to ensure that documents need not be “fixed” later and that inaccurate interpretations do not cause delay or other costs, centralizing interpreter and translator services to achieve economies of scale, or the formalized use of qualified community volunteers, for example, may help reduce costs. Recipients should carefully explore the most cost-effective means of delivering competent and accurate language services before limiting services due to resource concerns. Large entities and those entities serving a significant number or proportion of LEP persons should ensure that their resource limitations are well-substantiated before using this factor as a reason to limit language assistance. Such recipients may find it useful to be able to articulate, through documentation or in some other reasonable manner, their process for determining that language services would be limited based on resources or costs.
This four-factor analysis necessarily implicates the “mix” of LEP services required. Recipients have two main ways to provide language services: Oral Start Printed Page 64608interpretation either in person or via telephone interpretation service (hereinafter “interpretation”) and written translation (hereinafter “translation”). Oral interpretation can range from on-site interpreters for critical services provided to a high volume of LEP persons to access through commercially-available telephonic interpretation services. Written translation, likewise, can range from translation of an entire document to translation of a short description of the document. In some cases, language services should be made available on an expedited basis while in others the LEP individual may be referred to another office of the recipient for language assistance.
The correct mix should be based on what is both necessary and reasonable in light of the four-factor analysis. For instance, programs focusing on providing critical services to immigrants and refugees, such as providing assistance with enrollment in public services or access to emergency or medical care, may need immediate oral interpreters available and should give serious consideration to hiring some bilingual staff. (Of course, many recipients focusing on serving LEP populations have already made such arrangements.) In contrast, there may be circumstances where the importance and nature of the activity and number or proportion and frequency of contact with LEP persons may be low and the costs and resources needed to provide language services may be high—such as in the case of a voluntary general public tour of a public facility—in which pre-arranged language services for the particular service may not be necessary. Regardless of the type of language service provided, quality and accuracy of those services can be critical in order to avoid serious consequences to the LEP person and to the recipient. Recipients have substantial flexibility in determining the appropriate mix.
VI. Selecting Language Assistance Services
Recipients have two main ways to provide language services: oral and written language services. Quality and accuracy of the language service is critical in order to avoid serious consequences to the LEP person and to the recipient.
A. Oral Language Services (Interpretation)
Interpretation is the act of listening to something in one language (source language) and orally translating it into another language (target language). Where interpretation is needed and is reasonable, recipients should consider some or all of the following options for providing competent interpreters in a timely manner:
Competence of Interpreters. When providing oral assistance, recipients should ensure competency of the language service provider, no matter which of the strategies outlined below are used. Competency requires more than self-identification as bilingual. Some bilingual staff and community volunteers, for instance, may be able to communicate effectively in a different language when communicating information directly in that language, but not be competent to interpret in and out of English. Likewise, they may not be able to do written translations.
Competency to interpret, however, does not necessarily mean formal certification as an interpreter, although certification is helpful. When using interpreters, recipients should ensure that they:
Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to communicate information accurately in both English and in the other language and identify and employ the appropriate mode of interpreting (e.g., consecutive, simultaneous, summarization, or sight translation); Have knowledge in both languages of any specialized terms or concepts peculiar to the entity's program or activity and of any particularized vocabulary and phraseology used by the LEP person;  and understand and follow confidentiality and impartiality rules to the same extent the recipient employee for whom they are interpreting and/or to the extent their position requires.
Understand and adhere to their role as interpreters without deviating into a role as counselor, legal advisor, or other roles (particularly in contacts with health care providers, social services, schools, and public services).
Some recipients, such as those dealing with assisting indigents dependent on the recipient for interpretation with health care providers, law enforcement or administrative boards, may have additional self-imposed requirements for interpreters. Where such proceedings are lengthy, the interpreter will likely need breaks and team interpreting may be appropriate to ensure accuracy and to prevent errors caused by mental fatigue of interpreters.
While quality and accuracy of language services is critical, the quality and accuracy of language services is nonetheless part of the appropriate mix of LEP services required. The quality and accuracy of language services in a hospital emergency room, for example, must be extraordinarily high, while the quality and accuracy of language services in a bicycle safety class need not meet the same exacting standards.
Finally, when interpretation is needed and is reasonable, it should be provided in a timely manner. To be meaningfully effective, language assistance should be timely. While there is no single definition for “timely” applicable to all types of interactions at all times by all types of recipients, one clear guide is that the language assistance should be provided at a time and place that avoids the effective denial of the service, benefit, or right at issue or the imposition of an undue burden on or delay in important rights, benefits, or services to the LEP person. For example, when the timeliness of services is important, such as with certain activities of recipients providing health and safety services or disaster response, and when important rights are at issue, a recipient would likely not be providing meaningful access if it had one bilingual staffer available one day a week to provide the service. Such conduct would likely result in delays for LEP persons that would be significantly greater than those for English proficient persons. Conversely, where access to or exercise of a service, benefit, or right is not effectively precluded by a reasonable delay, language assistance can likely be delayed for a reasonable period.
Hiring Bilingual Staff. When particular languages are encountered often, hiring bilingual staff offers one of the best, and often most economical, options. Recipients can, for example, fill public contact positions, such teachers, service providers, or program directors, with staff who are bilingual and competent to communicate directly with LEP persons in their language. If bilingual staff are also used to interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally interpret written documents from English into another language, they should be competent in the skill of interpreting. Being bilingual does not necessarily mean that a person has the ability to interpret. In addition, there may be times when the role of the Start Printed Page 64609bilingual employee may conflict with the role of an interpreter. Effective management strategies, including any appropriate adjustments in assignments and protocols for using bilingual staff, can ensure that bilingual staff are fully and appropriately utilized. When bilingual staff cannot meet all of the language service obligations of the recipient, the recipient should turn to other options.
Hiring Staff Interpreters. Hiring interpreters may be most helpful where there is a frequent need for interpreting services in one or more languages. Depending on the facts, sometimes it may be necessary and reasonable to provide on-site interpreters to provide accurate and meaningful communication with an LEP person.
Contracting for Interpreters. Contract interpreters may be a cost-effective option when there is no regular need for a particular language skill. In addition to commercial and other private providers, many community-based organizations and mutual assistance associations provide interpretation services for particular languages. Contracting with and providing training regarding the recipient's programs and processes to these organizations can be a cost-effective option for providing language services to LEP persons from those language groups.
Using Telephone Interpreter Lines. Telephone interpreter service lines often offer speedy interpreting assistance in many different languages. They may be particularly appropriate where the mode of communicating with an English proficient person would also be over the phone.
Although telephonic interpretation services are useful in many situations, it is important to ensure that, when using such services, the interpreters used are competent to interpret any technical or legal terms specific to a particular program that may be important parts of the conversation. Nuances in language and non-verbal communication can often assist an interpreter and cannot be recognized over the phone. Video teleconferencing may sometimes help to resolve this issue where necessary. In addition, where documents are being discussed, it is important to give telephonic interpreters adequate opportunity to review the document prior to the discussion and any logistical problems should be addressed.
Using Community Volunteers. In addition to consideration of bilingual staff, staff interpreters, or contract interpreters (either in-person or by telephone) as options to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons, use of recipient-coordinated community volunteers, working with, for instance, community-based organizations may provide a cost-effective supplemental language assistance strategy under appropriate circumstances. They may be particularly useful in providing language access for a recipient's less critical programs and activities. To the extent the recipient relies on community volunteers, it is often best to use volunteers who are trained in the information or services of the program and can communicate directly with LEP persons in their language. Just as with all interpreters, community volunteers used to interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally translate documents, should be competent in the skill of interpreting and knowledgeable about applicable confidentiality and impartiality rules. Recipients should consider formal arrangements with community-based organizations that provide volunteers to address these concerns and to help ensure that services are available more regularly.
Use of Family Members or Friends as Interpreters. Although recipients should not plan to rely on an LEP person's family members, friends, or other informal interpreters to provide meaningful access to important programs and activities, where LEP persons so desire, they should be permitted to use, at their own expense, an interpreter of their own choosing (whether a professional interpreter, family member or friend) in place of or as a supplement to the free language services expressly offered by the recipient. LEP persons may feel more comfortable when a trusted family member or friend acts as an interpreter. In addition, in exigent circumstances that are not reasonably foreseeable, temporary use of interpreters not provided by the recipient may be necessary. However, with proper planning and implementation, recipients should be able to avoid most such situations.
Recipients, however, should take special care to ensure that family, legal guardians, caretakers, and other informal interpreters are appropriate in light of the circumstances and subject matter of the program, service or activity, including protection of the recipient's own interest in accurate interpretation. In many circumstances, family members (especially children) or friends are not competent to provide quality and accurate interpretations. Issues of confidentiality, privacy, or conflict of interest may also arise. LEP individuals may feel uncomfortable revealing or describing sensitive, confidential, or potentially embarrassing medical, law enforcement (e.g., sexual or violent assaults), family, or financial information to a family member, friend, or member of the local community. In addition, such informal interpreters may have a personal connection to the LEP person or an undisclosed conflict of interest, such as the desire to protect themselves or another perpetrator in a domestic violence or other criminal matter. For these reasons, when oral language services are necessary, recipients should generally offer competent interpreter services free of cost to the LEP person. For the Corporation's recipient programs and activities, this is particularly true in situations in which health, safety, or access to important benefits and services are at stake, or when credibility and accuracy are important to protect an individual's rights and access to important services.
While issues of competency, confidentiality, and conflict of interest in the use of family members (especially children) or friends often make their use inappropriate, the use of these individuals as interpreters may be an appropriate option where proper application of the four factors would lead to a conclusion that recipient-provided services are not necessary. An example of this is a voluntary educational tour of a public facility offered to the public. There, the importance and nature of the activity may be relatively low and unlikely to implicate issues of confidentiality, conflict of interest, or the need for accuracy. In addition, the resources needed and costs of providing language services may be high. In such a setting, an LEP person's use of family, friends, or others may be appropriate.
If the LEP person voluntarily chooses to provide his or her own interpreter, a recipient should consider whether a record of that choice and of the recipient's offer of assistance is appropriate. Where precise, complete, and accurate interpretations or translations of information and/or testimony are critical for medical or legal reasons, or where the competency of the LEP person's interpreter is not established, a recipient might decide to provide its own, independent interpreter, even if an LEP person wants to use his or her own interpreter as well. Extra caution should be exercised when the LEP person chooses to use a minor as the interpreter. While the LEP person's decision should be respected, there may be additional issues of competency, confidentiality, or conflict of interest when the choice involves using children as interpreters. The recipient should take care to ensure that Start Printed Page 64610the LEP person's choice is voluntary, that the LEP person is aware of the possible problems if the preferred interpreter is a minor child, and that the LEP person knows that a competent interpreter could be provided by the recipient at no cost.
B. Written Language Services (Translation)
Translation is the replacement of a written text from one language (source language) into an equivalent written text in another language (target language).
What Documents Should be Translated? After applying the four-factor analysis, a recipient may determine that an effective LEP plan for its particular program or activity includes the translation of vital written materials into the language of each frequently-encountered LEP group eligible to be served and/or likely to be affected by the recipient's program.
Such written materials could include, for example:
- Applications for benefits or services;
- Consent forms;
- Documents containing important information regarding participation in a program (such as descriptions of eligibility for tutoring, assignment of a Senior Companion, instructions for filing for reimbursement of expenses, application for health care or child care benefits);
- Notices pertaining to the reduction, denial or termination of services or benefits, or to the right to appeal such actions or that require a response from beneficiaries;
- The member contract, job description, and an explanation of the Grievance Procedure;
- Notices advising LEP persons of the availability of free language assistance; and
- Other outreach materials.
Whether or not a document (or the information it solicits) is “vital” may depend upon the importance of the program, information, encounter, or service involved, and the consequence to the LEP person if the information in question is not provided accurately or in a timely manner. For instance, applications for bicycle safety courses should not generally be considered vital, whereas applications for benefits regarding disaster relief, medical services or housing could be considered vital. Where appropriate, recipients are encouraged to create a plan for consistently determining, over time and across its various activities, what documents are “vital” to the meaningful access of the LEP populations they serve.
Classifying a document as vital or non-vital is sometimes difficult, especially in the case of outreach materials like brochures or other information on rights and services. Awareness of rights or services is an important part of “meaningful access.” Lack of awareness that a particular program, right, or service exists may effectively deny LEP individuals meaningful access. Thus, where a recipient is engaged in community outreach activities in furtherance of its activities, it should regularly assess the needs of the populations frequently encountered or affected by the program or activity to determine whether certain critical outreach materials should be translated. Community organizations may be helpful in determining what outreach materials may be most helpful to translate. In addition, the recipient should consider whether translations of outreach material may be made more effective when done in tandem with other outreach methods, including utilizing the ethnic media, schools, religious, and community organizations to spread a message.
Sometimes a document includes both vital and non-vital information. This may be the case when the document is very large. It may also be the case when the title and a phone number for obtaining more information on the contents of the document in frequently-encountered languages other than English is critical, but the document is sent out to the general public and cannot reasonably be translated into many languages. Thus, vital information may include, for instance, the provision of information in appropriate languages other than English regarding where a LEP person might obtain an interpretation or translation of the document.
Into What Languages Should Documents be Translated? The languages spoken by the LEP individuals with whom the recipient has contact determine the languages into which vital documents should be translated. A distinction should be made, however, between languages that are frequently encountered by a recipient and less commonly-encountered languages. Many recipients serve communities in large cities or across the country. They regularly serve LEP persons who speak dozens and sometimes over 100 different languages. To translate all written materials into all of those languages is unrealistic. Although recent technological advances have made it easier for recipients to store and share translated documents, such an undertaking would incur substantial costs and require substantial resources.
Nevertheless, well-substantiated claims of lack of resources to translate all vital documents into dozens of languages do not necessarily relieve the recipient of the obligation to translate those documents into at least several of the more frequently-encountered languages and to set benchmarks for continued translations into the remaining languages over time. As a result, the extent of the recipient's obligation to provide written translations of documents should be determined by the recipient on a case-by-case basis, looking at the totality of the circumstances in light of the four-factor analysis. Because translation is a one-time expense, consideration should be given to whether the upfront cost of translating a document (as opposed to oral interpretation) should be amortized over the likely lifespan of the document when applying this four-factor analysis.
Safe Harbor. Many recipients would like to ensure with greater certainty that they comply with their obligations to provide written translations in languages other than English. Paragraphs (a) and (b) outline the circumstances that can provide a “safe harbor” for recipients regarding the requirements for translation of written materials. A “safe harbor” means that if a recipient provides written translations under these circumstances, such action will be considered strong evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation obligations.
The failure to provide written translations under the circumstances outlined in paragraphs (a) and (b) does not mean there is non-compliance. Rather, they provide a common starting point for recipients to consider whether and at what point the importance of the service, benefit, or activity involved; the nature of the information sought; and the number or proportion of LEP persons served call for written translations of commonly-used forms into frequently-encountered languages other than English. Thus, these paragraphs merely provide a guide for recipients that would like greater certainty of compliance than can be provided by a fact-intensive, four-factor analysis.
Example: Even if the safe harbors are not used, if written translation of a certain document(s) would be so burdensome as to defeat the legitimate objectives of its program, the translation of the written materials is not necessary. Other ways of providing meaningful access, such as effective oral interpretation of certain vital Start Printed Page 64611documents, might be acceptable under such circumstances.
Safe Harbor. The following actions will be considered strong evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation obligations:
(a) The Corporation recipient provides written translations of vital documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes five percent or 1,000, whichever is less, of the population of persons eligible to be served or likely to be affected or encountered. Translation of other documents, if needed, can be provided orally; or
(b) If there are fewer than 50 persons in a language group that reaches the five percent trigger in (a), the recipient does not translate vital written materials but provides written notice in the primary language of the LEP language group of the right to receive competent oral interpretation of those written materials, free of cost.
These safe harbor provisions apply to the translation of written documents only. They do not affect the requirement to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals through competent oral interpreters where oral language services are needed and are reasonable. For example, programs that address the needs of immigrants and refugees who may not be literate should, where appropriate, ensure that crucial information regarding medical, financial or legal rights have been explained.
Competence of Translators. As with oral interpreters, translators of written documents should be competent. Many of the same considerations apply. However, the skill of translating is very different from the skill of interpreting, and a person who is a competent interpreter may or may not be competent to translate.
Particularly where medical, legal or other vital documents are being translated, competence can often be achieved by use of certified translators. Certification or accreditation may not always be possible or necessary. Competence can often be ensured by having a second, independent translator “check” the work of the primary translator. Alternatively, one translator can translate the document, and a second, independent translator could translate it back into English to check that the appropriate meaning has been conveyed. This is called “back translation.”
Translators should understand the expected reading level of the audience and, where appropriate, have fundamental knowledge about the target language group's vocabulary and phraseology. Sometimes direct translation of materials results in a translation that is written at a much more difficult level than the English language version or has no relevant equivalent meaning. Community organizations may be able to help consider whether a document is written at a good level for the audience. Likewise, consistency in the words and phrases used to translate terms of art, legal, or other technical concepts helps avoid confusion by LEP individuals and may reduce costs.
While quality and accuracy of translation services is critical, the quality and accuracy of translation services is nonetheless part of the appropriate mix of LEP services required. For instance, documents that are simple and have no legal or other consequence for LEP persons who rely on them may use translators that are less skilled than important documents with legal or other information upon which reliance has important consequences (including, e.g., information or documents of recipients regarding certain health and safety services and certain legal rights). The permanent nature of written translations, however, imposes additional responsibility on the recipient to ensure that the quality and accuracy permit meaningful access by LEP persons.
VII. Elements of Effective Plan on Language Assistance for LEP Persons
After completing the four-factor analysis and deciding what language assistance services are appropriate, a recipient should develop an implementation plan to address the identified needs of the LEP populations they serve. Recipients have considerable flexibility in developing this plan. The development and maintenance of a periodically-updated written plan on language assistance for LEP persons (“LEP plan”) for use by recipient employees serving the public will likely be the most appropriate and cost-effective means of documenting compliance and providing a framework for the provision of timely and reasonable language assistance.
Moreover, such written plans would likely provide additional benefits to a recipient's managers in the areas of training, administration, planning, and budgeting. These benefits should lead most recipients to document in a written LEP plan their language assistance services, and how staff and LEP persons can access those services. Despite these benefits, certain recipients of the Corporation, such as recipients serving very few LEP persons and recipients with very limited resources, may choose not to develop a written LEP plan. However, the absence of a written LEP plan does not obviate the underlying obligation to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons to a recipient's program or activities. Accordingly, in the event that a recipient elects not to develop a written plan, it should consider alternative ways to articulate in some other reasonable manner a plan for providing meaningful access. Entities having significant contact with LEP persons, such as schools, religious organizations, community groups, and groups working with new immigrants can be very helpful in providing important input into this planning process from the beginning.
The following five steps may be helpful in designing an LEP plan and are typically part of effective implementation plans.
(1) Identifying LEP Individuals Who Need Language Assistance
The first two factors in the four-factor analysis require an assessment of the number or proportion of LEP individuals eligible to be served or encountered and the frequency of encounters. This requires recipients to identify LEP persons with whom it has contact.
One way to determine the language of communication is to use language identification cards (or “I speak cards”), which invite LEP persons to identify their language needs to staff. Such cards, for instance, might say “I speak Spanish” in both Spanish and English, “I speak Vietnamese” in both English and Vietnamese, etc. To reduce costs of compliance, the federal government has made a set of these cards available on the Internet. The Census Bureau “I speak card” can be found and downloaded at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/13166.htm. When records are Start Printed Page 64612normally kept of past interactions with members of the public, the language of the LEP person can be included as part of the record. In addition to helping employees identify the language of LEP persons they encounter, this process will help in future applications of the first two factors of the four-factor analysis. In addition, posting notices in commonly encountered languages notifying LEP persons of language assistance will encourage them to self-identify.
(2) Language Assistance Measures
An effective LEP plan would likely include information about the ways in which language assistance will be provided. For instance, recipients may want to include information on at least the following:
- Types of language services available.
- How staff can obtain those services.
- How to respond to LEP callers.
- How to respond to written communications from LEP persons.
- How to respond to LEP individuals who have in-person contact with recipient staff.
- How to ensure competency of interpreters and translation services.
(3) Training Staff
Staff should know their obligations to provide meaningful access to information and services for LEP persons. An effective LEP plan would likely include training to ensure that:
- Staff know about LEP policies and procedures.
- Staff having contact with the public are trained to work effectively with in-person and telephone interpreters.
Recipients may want to include this training as part of the orientation for new employees. It is important to ensure that all employees in public contact positions are properly trained. Recipients have flexibility in deciding the manner in which the training is provided. The more frequent the contact with LEP persons, the greater the need will be for in-depth training. Staff with little or no contact with LEP persons may only have to be aware of an LEP plan. However, management staff, even if they do not interact regularly with LEP persons, should be fully aware of and understand the plan so they can reinforce its importance and ensure its implementation by staff.
(4) Providing Notice to LEP Persons
Once an agency has decided, based on the four factors, that it will provide language services, it is important for the recipient to let LEP persons know that those services are available and that they are free of charge. Recipients should provide this notice in a language LEP persons will understand. Examples of notification that recipients should consider include:
- Posting signs in intake areas and other entry points. When language assistance is needed to ensure meaningful access to information and services, it is important to provide notice in appropriate languages in intake areas or initial points of contact so that LEP persons can learn how to access those language services. This is particularly true in areas with high volumes of LEP persons seeking access to certain services or activities run by recipients of the Corporation dealing with assisting individuals in accessing health, safety or social services. For instance, signs in intake offices could state that free language assistance is available. The signs should be translated into the most common languages encountered. They should explain how to get the language help.
- Stating in outreach documents that language services are available from the agency. Announcements could be in, for instance, brochures, booklets, and in outreach and recruitment information. These statements should be translated into the most common languages and could be “tagged” onto the front of common documents.
- Working with community-based organizations and other stakeholders to inform LEP individuals of the recipients' services, including the availability of language assistance services.
- Using a telephone voice mail menu. The menu could be in the most common languages encountered. It should provide information about available language assistance services and how to get them.
- Including notices in local newspapers in languages other than English.
- Providing notices on non-English-language radio and television stations about the available language assistance services and how to get them.
- Presentations and/or notices at schools and religious organizations.
(5) Monitoring and Updating the LEP Plan
Recipients should, where appropriate, have a process for determining, on an ongoing basis, whether new documents, programs, services, and activities need to be made accessible for LEP individuals, and they may want to provide notice of any changes in services to the LEP public and to employees. In addition, recipients should consider whether changes in demographics, types of services, or other needs require annual reevaluation of their LEP plan. Less frequent reevaluation may be more appropriate where demographics, services, and needs are more static. One good way to evaluate the LEP plan is to seek feedback from the community.
In their reviews, recipients may want to consider assessing changes in:
- Current LEP populations in service area or population affected or encountered.
- Frequency of encounters with LEP language groups.
- Nature and importance of activities to LEP persons.
- Availability of resources, including technological advances and sources of additional resources, and the costs imposed.
- Whether existing assistance is meeting the needs of LEP persons.
- Whether staff knows and understands the LEP plan and how to implement it.
- Whether identified sources for assistance are still available and viable.
In addition to these five elements, effective plans set clear goals, management accountability, and opportunities for community input and planning throughout the process.
VIII. Voluntary Compliance Effort
The goal for Title VI and Title VI regulatory enforcement is to achieve voluntary compliance. The requirement to provide meaningful access to LEP persons is enforced and implemented by the Corporation through the procedures identified in the Title VI regulations. These procedures include complaint investigations, compliance reviews, efforts to secure voluntary compliance, and technical assistance.
The Title VI regulations provide that the Corporation will investigate whenever it receives a complaint, report, or other information that alleges or indicates possible noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations. If the investigation results in a finding of compliance, the Corporation will inform the recipient in writing of this determination, including the basis for the determination. The Corporation uses voluntary mediation to resolve most complaints. However, if a case is fully investigated and results in a finding of noncompliance, the Corporation must inform the recipient of the noncompliance through a Letter of Findings that sets out the areas of Start Printed Page 64613noncompliance and the steps that must be taken to correct the noncompliance. It must attempt to secure voluntary compliance through informal means. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the Corporation must secure compliance through the termination of federal assistance after the Corporation recipient has been given an opportunity for an administrative hearing and/or by referring the matter to the Department of Justice to seek injunctive relief or pursue other enforcement proceedings.
The Corporation engages in voluntary compliance efforts and provides technical assistance to recipients at all stages of an investigation. During these efforts, the Corporation proposes reasonable timetables for achieving compliance and consults with and assists recipients in exploring cost-effective ways of coming into compliance. In determining a recipient's compliance with the Title VI regulations, the Corporation's primary concern is to ensure that the recipient's policies and procedures provide meaningful access for LEP persons to the recipient's programs and activities.
While all recipients must work toward building systems that will ensure access for LEP individuals, the Corporation acknowledges that the implementation of a comprehensive system to serve LEP individuals is a process and that a system will evolve over time as it is implemented and periodically reevaluated. As recipients take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to federally assisted programs and activities for LEP persons, the Corporation will look favorably on intermediate steps recipients take that are consistent with this Guidance, and that, as part of a broader implementation plan or schedule, move their service delivery system toward providing full access to LEP persons.
This does not excuse noncompliance but instead recognizes that full compliance in all areas of a recipient's activities and for all potential language minority groups may reasonably require a series of implementing actions over a period of time. However, in developing any phased implementation schedule, recipients of the Corporation should ensure that the provision of appropriate assistance for significant LEP populations or with respect to activities having a significant impact on the health, safety, legal rights, or livelihood of beneficiaries is addressed first. Recipients are encouraged to document their efforts to provide LEP persons with meaningful access to federally assisted programs and activities.
IX. Promising Practices
This section provides examples of promising practices that recipients engage in using the federal financial assistance (the national service volunteers) provided by the Corporation. Recipient programs are responsible for ensuring meaningful access to all portions of their program or activity, not just the portions in which national service participants serve. So long as the language services are accurate, timely, and appropriate in the manner outlined in this guidance, the types of promising practices summarized below can assist recipients in meeting the meaningful access requirements of Title VI and the Title VI regulations.
Examples of Promising Practices That Provide Access to LEP Persons
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs AmeriCorps program recruits former farmworkers to serve as AmeriCorps members. Most members are bilingual, and many are LEP. Members are encouraged to take English as a Second Language classes as a part of their member development plan. The program provides pesticide safety training to farmworkers and their families. Members conduct the training in Spanish.
The program uses the following techniques to ensure that members understand their terms of service and benefits:
- Recruiting posters, flyers and the Member Service Contract are provided in Spanish.
- AmeriCorps project staff are bilingual (Spanish/English).
- Orientation training is provided in Spanish and English.
- Conference calls are held in Spanish when all members speak Spanish.
- Two bilingual second-year members led a team of members that communicated about their service projects exclusively in Spanish.
- Members had to be bilingual, but did not require English as the first language.
- Recruitment took place at the local field office level, and candidates were often from the farmworker community.
The Parents Making a Difference AmeriCorps program recruits a diverse corps including many bilingual members to provide outreach to parents in low-income school communities. Members translate at parent-teacher conferences, call parents about absent children, and organize a wide variety of parent-oriented outreach and educational activities.
“Classroom in the Kitchen” gives parents tips on how to support the educational growth of their children in their homes. Diverse language abilities and cultural knowledge are extremely important in this regard. The range of English proficiency is varied, allowing members to help each other, and communication about program activities is largely bilingual.
The program provides English-Second-Language classes for LEP AmeriCorps members as part of their Member Development Plan. (This language support is required by the Rhode Island Commission for all AmeriCorps programs, in the same vein as the GED training requirement.)
The Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE) program. SHINE is a national, multicultural, intergenerational service-learning initiative in five cities. College students provide language, literacy, and citizenship tutoring to elderly immigrants and refugees. Currently, students serve as coaches in ESL/citizenship classes or as tutors in community centers, temples, churches, housing developments, and ethnic organizations.
Northeastern University, San Francisco State University, Loyola University, Florida International University and Temple University are involved with SHINE. Students participate through courses, work study, and campus volunteer organizations. SHINE program coordinators partner with local community organizations; recruit, train, place, and monitor students at community sites; and provide support and technical assistance.
Since 1997, more than 60 faculty from education, social work, anthropology, political science, modern languages, sociology, English, Latino, and Asian studies have offered SHINE as a service-learning option in their courses. Over 1,000 students provided over 25,000 hours of instruction to 3,500 older learners at 37 sites in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia.
The Albuquerque Senior Companion Program (SCP), sponsored by the City of Albuquerque, Department of Senior Affairs, serves a diverse senior population with Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo volunteers. Senior Companions assist the frail elderly with household tasks and companionship.
Ten of its volunteer stations are located on Pueblos. Each Pueblo has its own language. The program works closely with its site managers/supervisors who are bilingual Start Printed Page 64614employees of the individual Pueblo governments and generally are residents of the Pueblos. Senior Companions serve on their own Pueblos and walk to the homes of their clients.
Due to language and cultural barriers these supervisors assist with all areas of the program. They are familiar with the population in their individual Pueblos and use this knowledge to assist with recruitment, placement, and training.
ACCION International, an AmeriCorps*VISTA project sponsor, is a nonprofit that fights poverty through microlending. ACCION Chicago did outreach to home-based businesses that rarely have access to capital. An AmeriCorps*VISTA member found that many of the women make ends meet through programs such as Mary Kay cosmetics. The AmeriCorps*VISTA member worked with the ACCION loan officer to develop a loan product specifically for these women and has organized bilingual information sessions throughout Chicago neighborhoods.
“Bring New Jersey Together” is an AmeriCorps program in Jersey City, New Jersey that seeks to bridge the cultural and linguistic barriers separating new Americans from the rest of the community. AmeriCorps members serve LEP community members by translating documents and escorting them to places such as medical appointments, the grocery store, or anywhere else where a translator may be necessary. The primary languages of the program are Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese, but also Albanian, Creole, Indian languages, and others depending on the influx of refugees.
The New Jersey Commission built a partnership with the International Institute of New Jersey, which had provided services to the immigrant community for fifty years, to establish an AmeriCorps program that served the needs of the community.
The Honolulu Chinese Citizenship Tutorial Program is a service-learning project site in the Campus Compact National Center for Community Colleges, “2+4=Service on Common Ground”. The University of Hawaii at Monoa's College of Social Sciences collaborated with the Kapl'olani Community College, Chaminade University, the Chinese Community Action Coalition and Child and Family Service. Local bilingual college students serve as tutors (during a 10-week session) for Chinese immigrants to help them pass their citizenship exams. The immigrants are recruited by visiting adult education classes, through Chinese radio programs, flyers, and Chinese language newspapers. The Chinese Community Action Coalition provides the curriculum and resources such as Scrabble, books, word-picture matching games, and card games for constructing simple English sentences.
The tutorial sessions focus on passing the INS exam and conversational English. Many of the immigrants are senior citizens. The classes are held in Chinatown. Since the project began, about 1,000 immigrants and refugees have enrolled. Over 300 students have participated as tutors and approximately one-third of the Chinese immigrants became citizens.
Transition House, Santa Barbara, CA., is a facility that primarily serves homeless Hispanic women. The services are tailored to meet the needs of each family to help women and their children move from homelessness and unemployment to employment and permanent housing. The AmeriCorps*VISTA members assigned to the project are bilingual. The clientele is 60% monolingual Spanish speakers.
The AmeriCorps*VISTA members are creating a Career Development Curriculum that is fully translated into Spanish and members host seminars about immigration and consumer credit counseling services. There was a need to improve communication with clients. One of the AmeriCorps*VISTA members developed “halfsheets”, one side in Spanish, the other in English, that explain the services offered by Transition House.
The AmeriCorps*VISTA members are responsible for placement of children in daycare to enable parents to work. They accompany families to childcare providers to assist with translation and to help make the families feel at ease with placing their children in childcare.End Supplemental Information
1. The Corporation recognizes that many recipients had language assistance programs in place prior to the issuance of Executive Order 13166. This policy guidance provides a uniform framework for a recipient to integrate, formalize, and assess the continued vitality of these existing and possibly additional reasonable efforts based on the nature of its program or activity, the current needs of the LEP populations it encounters, and its prior experience in providing language services in the community it serves.Back to Citation
2. The policy guidance is not a regulation but rather a guide. Title VI and its implementing regulations require that recipients take responsible steps to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons. This guidance provides an analytical framework that recipients may use to determine how best to comply with statutory and regulatory obligations to provide meaningful access to the benefits, services, information, and other important portions of their programs and activities for individuals who are limited English proficient.Back to Citation
3. Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the meaningful access requirement of the Title VI regulations and the four-factor analysis set forth in the DOJ LEP Guidance are to additionally apply to the programs and activities of federal agencies, including the Corporation.Back to Citation
4. However, if a federal agency were to decide to terminate federal funds based on noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations, only funds directed to the particular program or activity that is out of compliance would be terminated. 42 U.S.C. 2000d-1.Back to Citation
5. The focus of the analysis is on lack of English proficiency, not the ability to speak more than one language. Note that demographic data may indicate the most frequently spoken languages other than English and the percentage of people who speak that language who speak or understand English less than well. Some of the most commonly spoken languages other than English may be spoken by people who are also overwhelmingly proficient in English. Thus, they may not be the languages spoken most frequently by limited English proficient individuals. When using demographic data, it is important to focus in on the languages spoken by those who are not proficient in English.Back to Citation
6. Small recipients with limited resources may find that entering into a bulk telephonic interpretation service contract will prove cost effective.Back to Citation
7. Many languages have “regionalisms,” or differences in usage. For instance, a word that may be understood to mean something in Spanish for someone from Cuba may not be so understood by someone from Mexico. In addition, because there may be languages which do not have an appropriate direct interpretation of some legal terms and the interpreter should be so aware and be able to provide the most appropriate interpretation. The interpreter should likely make the recipient aware of the issue and the interpreter and recipient can then work to develop a consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in that language that can be used again, when appropriate.Back to Citation
8. For those languages in which no formal accreditation currently exists, a particular level of membership in a professional translation association can provide some indicator of professionalism.Back to Citation
9. For instance, there may be languages which do not have an appropriate direct translation of some legal terms and the translator should be able to provide an appropriate translation. The translator should likely also make the recipient aware of this. Recipients can then work with translators to develop a consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in that language that can be used again, when appropriate. Recipients will find it more effective and less costly if they try to maintain consistency in the words and phrases used to translate terms of art and legal or other technical concepts. Creating or using already-created glossaries of commonly used terms may be useful for LEP persons and translators and cost effective for the recipient. Providing translators with examples of previous translations of similar material by the recipient, other recipients, or federal agencies may be helpful.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 02-26632 Filed 10-18-02; 8:45 am]
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