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Language Access Policy

Language Access for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency

In March 2021, an Executive Order was signed which directs executive state agencies that provide direct public services to offer language assistance services (translation and interpretation) to people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). EO 26.1 amended Executive Order 26, originally issued in October 2011.

There are millions of New Yorkers who do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. For these New Yorkers, their LEP status presents potential barriers to accessing important government programs and services.

Overview

What does Executive Order 26, as amended by Executive Order 26.1, require?

  • Each executive state agency that provides direct public services is required to offer interpretation services between to individual in their primary language with respect to the provision of services or benefits.
  • These agencies are also required to translate vital documents, including public documents such as forms, in the ten most common non-English languages spoken by LEP individuals in the State of New York (based on the most recent United States census data).   
  • The agencies are also required to appoint a Language Access Coordinator and to publish a Language Access Plan.

What are the ten most common non-English languages spoken in New York State?

At the moment, the top ten languages are:

  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Yiddish
  • Bengali
  • Korean
  • Haitian Creole
  • Italian
  • Arabic
  • Polish

While all covered state agencies are required to provide translation services for these ten languages, some agencies may also choose to add additional languages based on the needs of the population they serve and other federal requirements.

Language Access Plans

What is a Language Access Plan?

A Language Access Plan sets forth the actions to be taken by the agency to ensure meaningful access to their services. This include but not limited to the list of translated document and languages available, total staff with language access skills and ability, training plan, annual monitoring plan, and outreach strategies.  Agencies are required to regularly update their Language Access Plans.

Below are language access plans for all state agencies that provide direct services to the public.  The plans are effective August 1, 2021.  Agencies will update their plans every two years.

For additional information,