How to Better Serve Your LEP Audience by Meeting the Federal Requirements

By | August 22, 2019

hello and thanks for joining us for
today’s events today’s event is hosted by the multilingual community of
practice my name is Lorene leg leg Aaron and I’m
an attorney with a federal coordination and compliance section of the Civil
Rights Division within the Department of Justice our office investigates race
color and national origin discrimination complaints filed against recipients of
federal financial assistance under Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
coordinates title 6 enforcement with other federal agencies we are also
responsible for coordinating federal agency compliance with the language to
access principles of executive order 131 66 I am joined by my colleagues mike
mulay and anna medina who will I will introduce in detail in a few minutes I
wanted to thank digital gov and the multilingual community of practice for
hosting today’s webinar we are thrilled that so many of you have expressed
interest in this topic one hour is a very short time to review this topic but
we hope to get the ball rolling and sear you in the right direction with respect
to overcoming language barriers a couple of logistics before we get started we’ll
open up our discussion for questions at the end of the presentation but you can
type in your questions at any time please type your questions in the
YouTube live chat box to the right of the video today’s session is being
recorded and it will be available immediately on the digital of YouTube
channel also the digital gov University team will send you an email immediately
after the event with a link to the recording and the event evaluation I’d
like to give a little context for today’s event this is the third webinar
focused on language access issues we’re focused on the legal obligations and
practical solutions today because of your demand at the end of our first
webinar on the language access math app we surveyed you and you express an
interest in hearing about the legal requirements underlying the provision of
line which access today I have the pleasure
of moderating our discussion on this topic I brought with me two of my
esteemed colleagues mike mulay and anna medina mike mulay is an attorney at the
federal coordination and compliance section of the Civil Rights Division at
the United States Department of Justice where he’s part of the federal
coordination and compliance section or FCSS language access State Courts
initiative before joining FCS in 2010 Mike was a staff attorney at the Empire
Justice Center in Rochester New York where he focused on improving access to
services and information for limited English Proficient or LEP individuals
and deaf and hard of hearing clients anna medina is also an attorney at SES
she is the lead attorney on several title six investigations alleging race
and national origin discrimination she provides legal guidance to federal
agencies under title six matters particularly those that involve issues
of language access she’s also a member of FCSS title six state courts language
access initiative as part of that initiative Ana has investigated how
state courts provide language assistance services to LEP individuals in court
proceedings and other court services and has worked with state courts to improve
those services so in terms of format for the next 45 minutes Mike will provide an
overview of fundamental legal concepts with respect to language access and then
we’ll have a conversation with Ana regarding common challenges and
practical solutions for enhancing language access within organizations
so Mike thanks Larry so we need to start with the
presentation and as a starting point we wanted to go through and I’m gonna be
going through several key language access terms and these terms are
important because we’re gonna be discussing them throughout the webinar
and they’re also really important for the topic in general so I’m gonna go
through some of these at the outset the first one which we’ve already used a few
times here is limiting is proficient and what does that mean
that means an individual whose primary language for communication is not
English and who has a limited ability to read speak
right and or understand English LEP individuals may be competent English for
certain types of communication say speaking or understanding but still they
may be LEP for other purposes such as reading or writing that’s the first one
meaningful access which is another phrase we use a lot meaningful access
refers to the provision of reasonable language assistance services at no cost
that enable an LEP individual to have substantially equal participation in and
access to the benefits of an entity’s programs activities services or
information interpreter and this is important to distinguish from translator
term later on an interpreter is individual who has received training in
the skills of interpretation and can competently render message spoken from
one language into one or more other languages interpretation can take place
in person through a telephonic interpreters or video remote or internet
interpreting provider now qualified interpreter qualified interpreter is an
individual who demonstrates expertise and ability to communicate information
effectively accurately and impartial E in both English and the other language
and they identify and employ the appropriate mode of interpreting so
what’s a translator and this is the distinguished from an interpreter and
translator is an individual who has received training the skilled
translation and can competently render written text from one language into one
or more other languages and while while talking about information we use the
phrase vital information and that is information whether written or
electronic that is necessary for an individual to understand how to obtain
any benefit service and/or training some examples include but it’s as this isn’t
limited to applications consents and complaint forms notices of rights and
responsibilities notices advising LEP individuals of their rights including
the availability of free language assistance services and when we’re
talking about language distance services we talk about a language access program
and that includes the language access policies plan and
staff procedures to ensure effective communication with LEP individuals these
should be written and incorporated as part of staff training I’m use the
phrase language distance services already but I want to explain what that
means languages and services refers to the
interpretation and translation services provided to LEP individuals which must
be accurate and provided in a timely manner and free of charge and when an
entity has language access program they often have a language access coordinator
that is someone who’s responsible or devising and ensuring that the entity
adheres to its language access policy directives plan and procedures to
provide meaningful access to LEP persons this language access coordinator should
be or report to a high-ranking official since high-level support is essential to
successful implementation of a program but these are the key terms that we’re
gonna be using today and based on these terms ready to discuss and I’m going to
discuss the entity’s legal obligations provide meaningful access some key
practical concepts when providing meaningful access and the process to
develop a language access program so first what the legal obligations let’s
take a minute to read the law that is the basis for national origin
protections title six the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and we will refer to this as
title six and then discuss how it applies to eliminating as proficient
individuals as you can see from the text on the on the slide here title six
protects every person from discrimination in any program or
activity that receives federal financial assistance an entity that receives
federal financial assistance can violate title six if one person is subject to
discrimination on the basis of their race color or national origin title six
protections are not conditioned on the individual’s immigration status or
income or if there’s a specific number of individuals in the protected group or
experiencing discrimination entities that receive federal financial
assistance and and the statute applies to entities that receive federal
financial assistance but some of those entities include
state or local agencies and nonprofit organizations and all these entities
must comply with title six and now let’s discuss how title six applies to
specifically limited English Proficient individuals in 1974 the United States
Supreme Court in a case called Lau V Nichols described how a school district
was required to take reasonable steps to provide LEP students a meaningful
opportunity to participate in a federally funded education program the
Lao court held that language based discrimination constitutes a form of
national origin discrimination prohibited by title six as a result
title six and its regulations require recipients of federal financial
assistance to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access the
information and services they provide as’ll entities operating jurisdictions
in which English has been declared the official language under state or local
law these entities continue to be subject to title six in our
constitutional structure federal law may displace or preempt provisions of state
or local law for that reason official English official English laws do not
shield an entity that receives federal financial assistance from its
responsibilities under federal non-discrimination laws like Title 6 one
of the other key legal authority pieces and Lorene mentioned this at the
beginning as executive order 131 66 in 2000 executive order 131 66
re-emphasized the existing title six requirements that recipients provide LEP
individuals meaningful access to federally funded programs benefits
services and information it required federal agency to develop title six
guidance to clarify those obligations for recipients and these guidance
documents are called recipient guidance documents that order also required
federal agencies themselves to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals and
federally conducted programs and activities and for those
federal agency to develop federally conducted language access plans the
Department of Justice title six LEP guidance was issued the same day as
executive order 131 66 as a model for federal agency to follow when drafting
their own petal six LEP guidance for recipients the BOJ guidance was revised
in 2002 in general the 2002 DOJ guidance and a lot of the agency LEP guidance
documents describe several things the type of language system services when
recipients should provide those services to ensure effective communication with
LEP individuals the importance of having a written language access program the
importance of periodically reviewing and updating a language access program and
providing staff training on procedures at the bottom of the screen there you’ll
see there’s a there’s a link to an FAQ on executive order 1 through 166 on the
website LEP gov now that we just gone over the key terms and the the basic
legal obligations it’s important to note a few practical concepts before
discussing a development implementation and the implementation of a language
access program title 6 requires covered entities to provide meaningful access
that’s a requirement to each individual with language system and to provide
language assistance services to each LEP individual the DOJ title 6 LEP guidance
which is not law or regulation but a guide sets out several factors to assist
entities in developing policies practices and procedures to ensure that
LEP individuals have meaningful access to programs or activities let’s look at
each of these factors and they’re up on your screen there you see the for them
but I want to go through more detail about each of them and how they
interplay with one another programs for the first factor programs that serve
even one LEP person are subject to Title 6 obligations as noted before a
recipient should consider assessing the number
or proportion of LEP persons from each language group in its service area to
determine the appropriate language assistance services that are needed this
analysis includes persons in a Geographic service area with whom the
agency comes into contact were cut while carrying out its functions for the
assessment to be accurate though it must also include all communications all
communications all communities who are eligible for services or are likely to
be directly affected by these programs or activities agencies or entities may
determine the linguistic characteristics of an LEP population in a service area
by reviewing several sets of available data from federal state and local
government agencies but also community and faith-based organizations might also
have this information remember the primary goal here is for the recipient
to communicate effectively with LEP individuals so that’s the first factor
the number of proportion of LEP individuals the second in the guidance
is the frequency of contact the more frequent the contact with an LEP
population the more important the obligation to provide meaningful access
with language assistance services now to assess the frequency of contact even and
if it changes and if it changes over time
recipients need to regularly collect data on their encounters with LEP
individuals even if theirs in frequent contact with a language group the
recipient should have systems in place that allow staff to track those
interactions and provide language assistance services our recipient does
have flexibility in the types of services that are appropriate and
reasonable under the circumstances but it is not excused from the requirement
to take reasonable steps to provide timely meaningful access to LEP persons
simply because that individuals language group is small third factor is the
nature and importance the more important the encounter the more likely that
timely language assistance services will be will need to be provided and for this
one think of that consequences for the LEP individual will a denial or delay of
service have serious or life-threatening consequences
program compulsory or mandatory for example a hospital that receives federal
funds has a greater obligation generally than a federally funded museum because
the important nature of the medical services provided by that hospital
that’s the third factor major importance now before reaching the fourth factor do
the analysis of the first three why because if you don’t analyze the degree
of need or the importance of what’s at stake it’ll be really difficult to weigh
the costs and resources needed to satisfy that need
the DOJ guidance explained specifically that any claims of limited resources
particularly from large recipients or those or those serving a significant LEP
population need to be well substantiated before the entity can use resources as a
reason to limit language assistance services for those agencies with fewer
resources consider a few things practical things one sharing resources
sharing language assistant resources or language distance service cost with
other agencies to selecting bilingual staff for available positions and
training them to act as interpreters or translators once you’ve assessed their
competency in the in English in the second language and also consider
pulling resources for translation of standardized forms while small
organizations may not be able to provide the full range of language system
services that a larger agency could the resources available to the agency does
not remove the title six obligation to provide meaningful access to LEP
individuals and like I said at the outset each of these factors must be
balanced but with proper planning and assessment in an tamesha an entity
should be able to provide language assistance services to almost all the
LEP individuals that they encounter one important piece which was in the
factors is assessing the LEP populations and communities and entities can use
demographic data for example census data school district language data and even
data taken taken and collected by local welfare or human or social service
agencies and this and this data can be used to track to identify the language
communities but also internal data can be used for tracking the interactions
with different LEP language groups to help entities assess the language needs
of their community now on the Center Theatre generally when you’re looking at
census data individuals who speak English and this is how the census
phrases it less than very well would be considered LEP that’s the phrase that’s
used on the census data now whether someone is LEP like I said before is
context specific but census and I and other reliable data sources can be used
to get a rough approximation of the numbers of LEP individuals in a
geographic area or the service area for the particular entity in our office we
use the American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau to create maps
indicating the concentration of LEP individuals broken down by state county
and Federal Judicial District these maps also provide data about the numbers of
individuals in each language group represented in geographic area on these
maps you can select your state or county to identify the number or percentage of
LEP persons you can download the language data or visually display the
LEP maps for presentations it’s included on this slide but these maps are
available at the website LEP gov slash maps the LEP gov website also has a page
listing LEP population data sources which is the demographic data link on
the second bullet on this slide as another source of data an entity should
also consider identifying and tracking the communication needs of LEP
individuals that seek and receive their programs and services the entity may
create mandatory fields for an individual’s preferred language for oral
and written communication to ensure that all of its staff collect
collect and input this information by regularly collecting and updating this
data entities way but will be able to accurately identify and efficiently
address the changing needs of their LEP communities when it when it when an
entity is determining their needs a self-assessment can help determine if
that entity is community communicating effectively with LEP individuals and can
inform the language access program planning process the self-assessment in
the doj language access plan assessment and planning tool is based on the
elements that are part of an effective language access plan noted in the BOJ
LEP guidance and those elements are included here on the slide a link to the
BOJ self-assessment tool is included at the bottom of the screen
among others these elements include and I’m gonna go an order here with what’s
on the slide understanding how LEP individuals interact with your agency or
the entity that you work in do they call do they come in person do they attend
public meetings do they send in applications or forms do they access the
website or send electronic communication identifying and assessing the
communities this is the number of proportion of LEP persons from each
language group in the service area those who are eligible for your programs and
services and the systems you have in place to track their primary language
information the third item here is providing language system services
effective communication with LEP individuals requires appropriate
language assistance services to be in place and available to staff there are
two primary types as noted at the beginning oral oral communication
assistance and written training staff on policies and procedures this is an
important element as staff who interact with the public should be trained on the
entity’s language access policies and the procedures for identifying the
language needs of an LEP individual how to access and provide the necessary
language assistance services how to work with interpreters how to request
documents document translation and how to track the use of language system
services in addition to having staff trained its there’s an there’s it’s
important to provide notice of language distance services the entity must inform
LEP individuals of their eligibility for benefits programs and services and also
the availability of language assistance services in a language they understand
this includes for example out.we outreach materials translated into
non-english languages in the in the languages of the LEP community that
described that also describe the availability of free language distance
services monitoring and one of the last items here is monitoring evaluating and
updating the language access policy directives plans and procedures each
entity should assess how it provides language assisted services whether they
are effective where their staff are trained and know how and when to provide
those services and whether the entity’s policies and procedures are effective or
if they need to be improved each of these self-assessment elements
can help an entity identify items that need to be addressed by the language
access program and when I use the phrase language access program I’m referring to
the language access plan policy directives and procedures which we’re
gonna which we’re going to talk about next our office has developed this
framework that we have used at DOJ to engage in language access program
planning before we even look at the three pieces of an effective language
access program it’s important to take a step back and think about the
overarching goal think about how do we communicate accurately and effectively
with individuals who are not proficient in the English language
another thing are in updating our own language access program at the
department justice we found it useful to return to the idea of how do we make
this meaningfully accessible to an LEP individual
our thinking in this area has evolved from our office experience in enforcing
title six we’ve provided technical assistance and have helped courts jails
and correctional facilities law enforcement agencies and social service
agencies and also other federal agencies go through this process in our
experience we think key components to a language access plan a language access
program include one a policy strong and clear language access policy directives
that read wedged policy directives set forth standards operating principles and
guidelines that govern the delivery of language appropriate services policy
directives come in many different forms but they’re designed to require the
entity and its staff in that data that an entity and a staff ensure that
they’re providing meaningful access a plan an overarching language access plan
for the entity which is a blue edge in this graphic the plan is a management
tool that provides the administrative blueprint for bringing the entity into
compliance with language access obligations the plan describes how the
entity will meet the standards described in the policy directive including how
the entity will address the language assistance services and resources needed
and identified in its self-assessment the last wedge which is the green wedge
are the underlying procedures that inform and reflect both the policy
directives and the plan language access procedures are detailed explanations
that specify the steps to be followed to implement the plan and policies they
explain for example how to staff obtain language system services how do they
gather data how do they deliver services to leq individuals procedures can be set
forth in many different types of documents and handbooks
sometimes an agency intranet sites sometimes a desk references or reminders
of the counters policy directives are the foundation of a comprehensive
language access program and inform men means overarching plan once policy
directives in a plan have been established operational procedures can
be developed and modified accordingly and though I’ve discussed this as three
distinct wedges policy directives versus plan versus procedure it’s helpful not
to get too stuck on the terminology or even the order which is part of the
reason why in this graphic we chose arrows you’ll find that when you
actually sit down and write your policy directives and your plan some procedures
may be part of that plan we’ve created these concepts and this visual to really
get you thinking about the groups or collections of ideas that you will
encounter moving forward and with that I’m going to turn it over to Laureen and
Anna for some key questions thank you so much Mike I think you had probably the
hardest job for the naff ternoon going through a comprehensive and yet
condensed overview of language access principles and our legal obligations I
wanted to take some time some of my moderators privilege to remind you how
to ask questions there is a YouTube live chat box to the right of the video where
you can type your questions but for the next for the balance of our time what
I’d like to do is have a conversation with my colleague here Anna and ask her
to tell me a little bit about the types of cases that you handle and what are
some common language access challenges that you see in your work hello
everybody I’m really happy to be here so I have been an attorney with FCS for
over 10 years and as Lauren mentioned I work on title six investigations provide
technical assistance to recipients and federal agencies and provide general
title six legal guidance I in in my work at FCS and particularly in my
investigations I have seen a number of challenges but the one that I see most
often one of the biggest challenges I encounter is this impossibility barrier
it’s this belief that all of this is impossible to do and to cost
but in my experience time and time again it’s proven untrue it’s amazing how a
little commitment and good planning consistently breaks down the impossible
little impossibility barrier listen you all you can do this I’ve seen it I’ve
seen large entities and small entities serving a variety of different
populations and this is all possible Loreen where should we start well I do
have at least one question from the audience does title six also apply to
federal agencies themselves so in Mike’s presentation he went over this title six
does not apply to federal agencies themselves but executive order 131 66
does an executive one three one six six applies a lot of the same principles to
federal agencies as are applicable to recipients under title six okay one of
the questions that I often hear from recipients and other federal agencies
even is do I have to translate everything and how do you prioritize
what to translate so I’m gonna give everybody’s favorite answer it depends
this is a fact-specific inquiry and I have in my work come across this
question in many contexts as I mentioned large recipients that serve hundreds of
language groups and small recipients that serve a handful Spanish speakers
the key here is it’s important to ensure that written materials routinely
provided in English are also provided in regularly encountered languages other
than English so let’s just have that as one of our starting points now as Mike
mentioned one of the critical pieces in thinking about translations is vital
information and identifying vital information and as Mike talked about
earlier just sort of very briefly a reminder vital information is vital if
it contains material that is critical for obtaining federal services and/or
benefits or is required by law or other services from recipients so how
important is the information that that’s very important it’s vital
he gave Mike gave a number of examples one of the examples that really sticks
out in my head is if a complaint form is necessary in order to file a complaint
claim with an agency or a department or office that complaint form would be
vital there’s also going to be non vital information so if there is information
for example advertisements of agency tours copies of testimony presented to
Congress that are available for available for informational purposes
those are non vital information and probably would not need to be translated
so the answer to the question requires considering many of the factors that
might talked about earlier and importance of the information the
languages present in the service area and the size of those language
populations but I want to raise one important point here we’re talking about
size and looking at populations in terms of translations but an individual or
small group that speaks an uncommon language must also be served when a
benefit or service is important or has significant consequences the legal
obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to LEP
beneficiaries remains the reasonable steps to provide assistance for a less
frequently encountered language however may be different from what is required
for those that are frequently encountered so for example instead of
translating into a very uncommon language many documents you might
provide oral recordings or site translations may be appropriate so it
really depends on the circumstances one other quick point translations that we
we really must mention is Google Translate and similar machine
translation services these are not yet accurate enough to be reliable and a
really important point here is that we’re looking to provide
meaningful access bad translations that provide inaccurate or confusing
information do not provide meaningful access to services and for those of you
who’ve ever used Google Translate or similar machine translations and have
had somebody who is fluent in that language review it there are often
pretty significant mistakes great you know I was thinking about your opening
statement about the impossibility and I think it all comes down to planning like
Mike said if you think about what are your short midterm and long term goals I
think that’s one way to meet your language access obligations
you know another question that we often get is what if my agency has bilingual
employees isn’t that enough to meet our title 6 obligation or executive order
131 600 mile Ingle employees are great but let’s make sure everyone understands
what makes someone an actual bilingual employee people who are completely
bilingual are fluent in two languages they’re able to conduct the business of
the workplace in either of those languages social service workers police
Corrections probation officers and others are frequently called upon to
communicate directly with the public in languages other than English this is
sometimes called monolingual communication and language other than
English providing services in this manner requires fluency in non-english
language in the non-english language including fluency in the agency
terminology but here’s your key point how do you know if an employee is fluent
in a non-english language you need to assess their fluency prior to relying on
the bilingual employee to provide the services many individuals have some
proficiency and more than one language and may even identify as fluent but
they’re not completely bilingual for example they may be able to greet a
limited English Proficient individual and his or her language but not conduct
agency business in that language the distinction is critical in order to
ensure meaningful communication and appropriate allocation of resources and
one other point which Mike talked about it
when he explained what is an interpreter and a translator the type of
communication that a bilingual employee provides is not interpretation or the
translation between languages as valuable as it is interpretation and
translation require specific skills in addition to being fully fluent in two or
more languages in many circumstances in most circumstances probably bilingual
employees are simply not trained to provide interpretation or translation
and particularly for interpreters there are a number of ethics considerations I
mean there are certifications assessments qualifications and other
things of this nature that simply are critical for interpretation yes I think
that’s really important you know even within the Civil Rights Division so for
example I am bilingual in take a look at English but I have been assessed and I
know that I should not speak to anyone having said that I do understand it but
I should not speak officially on behalf of the Department of Justice in Tagalog
so one question and I think this is a follow-up to the question of a
translation and vital information if the number of consumers requiring language
assistance in a language is very small is it necessary to have on-hand
documents in all languages so everybody’s favorite answer it depends
this is where a lot of the answers to translation related questions are fact
specific so it will depend on the importance of that information what is
it that needs to be conveyed what are the options for conveying it in a
different manner and is it does it produce those options provide and
meaningful access and so I know that’s that’s often a frustrating answer for
people but the reality is is it’s true if you take an agency’s in the health
education transportation justice all of these different types of agencies
provide a variety of services some more important than others within those very
agencies and it really depends on the type of information we’re talking about
and what I actually really liked about your answer was that its options that it
doesn’t necessarily have to be written translation it could be conveyed through
another means so for example a telephone voicemail or some other mechanism to
conveyed the information so we’re not so much focused on format as we are the
actual information how do you convey that vital information to the particular
population that’s right okay and let’s say you’ve done all this
amazing program planning that mike has laid out how do you know if you’ve been
successful how can you monitor whether or not so monitoring is key you’ve I
have a number of points that I think are really critical for monitoring so let’s
go through a few of them first of all data data is critical
collect and review data related to language services you can analyze the
current and historical data on language assistant usage if you’re using
interpreters or you’re translating information make sure that information
isn’t lost collected find out what languages you have requests from I have
seen time and time again recipients do everything better improve their language
service offerings as a result of the collection and analysis of the data they
can also this data in collecting and reviewing it helps for those of you who
need to seek funds from legislators collecting this data is critical for
that as well you also want to observe how language assistance services are
being provided through audits and testing really take a look at how the
services are being provided and are they are they being provided in a in an
efficient and positive way talk to your staff surveying staff on how often they
use language assistance services if they believe there should be changes in the
way services are provided or the providers that are used Howard how the
telephonic interpreter line working how are those I
speak cards working do they contain the languages of the people who are coming
through the door if staff believe that the language assistance services in
place are meeting the needs of the LEP communities in your service area what
are their experiences also and this is critical and I have seen many times this
point getting getting lost but it’s really critical one get feedback from
your customers conduct satisfaction surveys of LEP applicants and
beneficiaries based on their actual experience experience of accessing the
agency’s programs benefits or services and remember you’re going to do this
surveys for example translate them engage organizations this is a huge one
with a lot of benefits in my experience you solicit feedback from
community-based organizations and other stakeholders holders about the agency’s
effectiveness and performance for example I have seen engagement of
organism unity based organizations legal services organizations that allow those
organizations to provide really important feedback on which documents
are most vital so updating community demographics and needs by engaging
school districts faith communities refugee resettlement agencies and other
local resources they can be really helpful and helping you identify who’s
in your population think outside the box consider new resources including funding
collaborations with other agencies human resources and other mechanisms for
ensuring improved access for LEP individuals you’ve been providing
services according to your LEP plan policies and procedures what might help
make you provide those services better and who might be able to help out with
that and finally monitor monitoring your agency’s response rate to complaints or
suggestions by LEP individuals community members and employees regarding language
assistance services provided so those are some good steps to help monitor
please so and I’m gonna give you a little bit of break and actually ask
this next question it’s about taglines so the question is
are the use of taglines a way to ensure meaningful access to online access or
access to written vital documents and maybe for some of us in the audience
obviously yeah so the the question is about taglines and and when someone says
taglines what i normally think of and i wanna make sure that you know I’m
understanding it right but normally we will move for its headlines referring to
something included usually at the bottom of a document either written or even
electronic documents electronic pages and what it does usually non-english
text it indicates for example it’s saying Spanish written in Spanish we
have staff available in your language to provide assistance with this document or
something like this is a very important document if you need assistance in
Spanish please contact so and so or this number that’s usually what I think of
what I what I think of tagline so so with tag lines it’s it’s one of those it
depends answers but for example if it is the application form for the document it
is a vital document the tagline doesn’t help me fill out that right so that kind
of material it doesn’t this but if it is maybe a general brochure something it
might not might be non vital and it has not just one but maybe a couple of
language tagline and says in the non-english language this document
describes the services we provide at X Agency if you need assistance in this
language and it’s written that language please contact done it up or dine about
or email that’s a really good use of tag lines the tag line doesn’t replace the
importance of both those vital documents but it might indicate to someone or I
think of websites a lot or indicates on your website we can help you explain
what our office does if you contact us so the tag line is a really good
indicator of we know your LEP communities there we want to address it
on this form or in this document or in this website and this is the way to
contact us those are the best ways I’ve seen people use tag lines
okay thank you very helpful okay and one of the questions from the audience does
title six apply to public schools in regards to special education documents
in yes well then that makes it easy alright one question and I think this is
touching on one of the questions that I’ve seen in the queue and it talks
about obstacles that make it seem impossible
especially in small towns and I think it inevitably raises this issue of costs so
and talking about the impossibility barrier which is what this question is
is getting at cost is one of those but one of the one of the others is just not
knowing where to start and that is true for these small communities large
communities and for those of you who may be thinking how the supplies and your
circumstances in my experience every circumstance where a recipient has not
easily it’s you know expanded their language services in a way that they
need to this is one of the challenges I don’t know where to start I don’t know
how to do this so putting so addressing that one first the best place to start
is to start and so this training I think can be helpful but also want to
reiterate something that Mike mentioned earlier and that is to look at our
resources on LEP comm excuse me LEP gov especially the planning resources those
will help with that first barrier which is I don’t know how to start those will
help you start and Mike could you actually cue it up to those the link
with a self assessment and planning tool because I actually think that’s really
useful because if you go to that website the planning tool not only gives you
guidance but it actually walks you through a checklist of sorts so that you
could see do I provide notice do I have bilingual employees so you can start to
get a sense of what you already have in place and where are the gaps again short
medium and long term goals but as Anna says you’ve got to start I was going to
say too on that point on kind of a smaller entity or state or local
government or even a smaller organization there’s a lot of leveraging
and Anna’s products from these two a lot of leveraging or average
like there might be a statewide contract that nonprofits can use though that a
local government can use so get the benefit of kind of that contract that
was already made and the certain rate for a certain service type so it’s you
not going out on your own and trying to figure it all out that work might have
been done and you might be able to access or use those resources and might
that’s all all the language things but it might be a very helpful resource and
addressing overall right and one thing to also note is I know there was a
question about whether or not the PowerPoint is available unfortunately
our PowerPoint will not be available but all of the material is on LEP gov and
the assessment and planning tool in particular has a lot of the information
that you put out there so one question which I can answer it is there a plan to
update the data on the language the answer to that is there is a plan to
update the data on the language Maps we try to do this every year but as you can
imagine it just it is not our primary job to update the data so we rely on the
RIT folks one of whom you met during the first webinar John Watson and so in part
there’s a little bit of a lag time because we use for five year estimates
of the American Community Survey and those don’t often aligned with the
current year so I don’t think 2018 will come out until next year for those five
years but we are trying to update them as much as we can what about the costs
so getting back to the costs which is another piece of that that barrier that
we often hear about when we’re providing title assistance or conducting
investigations it’s come up and I think every single investigation that I’ve
ever had and after working cooperatively with recipients to improve their
language assistance services I’ve learned some important lessons about
costs or resource availability many resource related concerns are actually a
result of lack of data and a fear of where to start so it it is this
assumption that it will everything but in reality what it will
actually cost the available resources and in familiarity with how to provide
language assistance services will dispel sort of this fear that this will cost
all the money so you want to gather this data you want to develop a plan to
provide language assistance services or expand language assistance services
depending on where you’re starting and you then want to reassess the resource
concerns do you need to hire interpreters or do you have bilingual
folks on staff who just need to be assessed you already have access to a
telephonic language line I’ve seen many entities not realize
employees not realize that they have access there are many free resources
available online many of which you can get on LEP gov and I have seen this
concern about costs in both involving large LEP populations and small
populations to two investigations come to mind and in both those recipients had
resource concerns but by collecting actual data and working with us to
identify efficiencies they were surprised by how much they had
overestimated the cost both recipients now are have expanded to quite large
degree their language service offerings and this this is in a context of
recipients who once said it was impossible and they’re now providing
language services to many many LEP individuals yes I was thinking about
when Ana was saying one of the things – it’s part of the kind of program
development process is that it doesn’t happen overnight I mean it’s not that it
has to be everything else we bought and paid for and put in place and
implemented overnight it is a process it does there is a roll out time – it isn’t
today where that’s tomorrow everything simple
so there is also kind of the prioritization like Anna was saying
about the documents and so there is a face and and that’s why the planning
process we think it’s so helpful because it does face and it’s not the you wake
up tomorrow everything’s in play to the language access and one final point on
costs that sometimes overlooked and that’s the administrative costs of not
providing language assistance services you’ve got additional staff time delays
appeals all sorts of things can happen that make a recipient or agency’s work
not flow as well so this is something that all agencies should consider okay
so it seems like people are gearing up with their questions now so I I know I’m
not going to get through all of them so I wanted to say just at the outset if
you do have follow-up questions that we do not address please send them to the
good people at Google gov University and we will pass it along to us to answer
but one question that I had is how do you assess employees and having gone
through that assessment I could talk about it both within the federal
government as well as if you are a recipient of federal financial
assistance or you just want to or you don’t receive federal funds and you’re
not a federal agency and you just want to assess your employees there are
several vendors that offer a third-party assessment the reason why it’s a good
idea to offer a third-party assessment of speaking reading writing and
understanding and interpretation and translation is those are six distinct
skills you know I joke about this but I do understand but I can’t speak so it’s
important I think even from a management perspective to understand what’s the
capacity of your employee maybe he or she cannot translate but this document
but they’re too embarrassed to tell you about that so having third-party
assessments by vendors I have seen them of they cost around 100 to 200 dollars
for over the phone assessment for the federal government’s several different
federal agencies offer assessment usually it’s
once you’ve been accepted so for example the State Department and FBI adhere to
the interagency language round table scores or metric the interagency
language around people it goes from zero to five in terms of expertise if you’re
professional interpreter or professional linguist you’re actually scoring at the
three level not at the five level so I have had my language skill assess in
that way we just have five more minutes so a one question that I wanted to get
to was what happens with respect to non-compliance what if we don’t comply
with title six or executive order one through six I don’t know why you would
want to do that but generally in our office does title six enforcement so
it’s good for us to interest and and we do enforcement both for entities that
get money from us from the Department of Justice which is generally courts cops
and corrections but we also do it jointly with our partners and other
federal agencies for enforcement and and the statute provides what the
requirement is you know to not discriminate based on race color
national origin and so the question is really about well what happens if a
complaint comes in or if there’s some information and that’s what it is
generally we get a complaint or some other information that an entity that
receives that our money may not be complying and so there’s several
approaches and generally the approach and this is what the statute says is we
work with that entity we work with that entity to I let them know what the
allegation was to discuss what kind of options we have to address the
allegation to get more information we often ask for an extra information but
the entire every step of the way it can we resolve this compliance or
non-compliance by this entity and sometimes there is you know there is
there are some issues that need to be addressed and we work with entities on
that so you might know that there’s agreements we have certain certain types
of entities to address some of the issues we identified and that’s a
collaborative process we have with recipients to talk through what is a way
to address and resolve these particular items we do it for title six we do
10:06 home language access matters – and the best the best approach always is and
I say this to every entity is if you have a question about something you can
always call us in advance it’s far easier for everyone to have the
conversation in advance when you have a question versus we’re out in the
conversation because a complaint come in or it’s it’s some information suggests
you’re not compliant with title stick so I would always encourage a proactive
approach instead of what happens if it’s a complain and then we’re talking about
it we are the last few minutes so I’m actually so glad that we have so many
very involved participants because you’ve actually reminded me of one point
that I wanted to make the comment here is some state agencies are combining
their efforts in creating multi-state agreements with language assistance
providers to reduce costs increase access any success stories that you can
provide well one that I can think of immediately is the Civil Rights Division
with our telephone interpretation we were originally six years playing six
years ago paying a dollar 17 per minute and then we decided to combine forces
across the Department of Justice and put out a request for vendors and got that
down to 85 cents a minute so whenever you get on the line in the Department of
Justice we’re only paying 85 cents a minute and it which i think is a very
competitive rate and when you think about a 10 minute call which is our
average within the Civil Rights Division you’re talking about like less than $10
to provide language access so I know it can feel impossible at the outset but
once you have reason place once you share across either counties across
small cities pair with other rural organizations it’s a really good way to
reduce cost unfortunately I am going to wrap it up and thank you all for
attending today’s event I also wanted to thank my colleagues who I dragged here
to do this presentation for all of you I thought it would be good for you to hear
two experts who are out in the field in the area of overcoming language barriers
there were a lot of questions so again if we didn’t get to your question please
send them to the digital gov University team and we’ll follow up
the dgu team put a link to the event evaluation in the YouTube chat box
please take the time to give us your feedback about today’s events including
other topics that you want to hear about I think we just touched very briefly on
a lot of interesting topics with respect to language access we want to hear from
you and if we have expertise in the area we could certainly set up another
follow-up webinar we’ll also something evaluation via email along with the
video and other relevant resources thanks again and have a great day

4 thoughts on “How to Better Serve Your LEP Audience by Meeting the Federal Requirements

  1. Jennifer Amaya Post author

    There is sound after the first five minutes of the beginning of the presentation.


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