On October 6, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed Executive Order 26 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). In signing this Executive Order, Governor Cuomo recognized that 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.
What does Executive Order 26 require?
- Each executive state agency that provides direct public services is required to offer interpretation services between persons or people 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 six 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 six most common non-English languages spoken in New York State?
At the moment, the top six languages are:
- Haitian Creole
While all covered state agencies are required to provide translation services for these six languages, some agencies may also choose to add additional languages based on the needs of the population they serve and other federal requirements.
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 documents 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. Find additional information on the state agency Language Access Plans on the Division of Human Rights website.
How many New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home?
Over 5.5 million people living in New York speak a language other than English. Of these, 2.5 million speak English less than well. Based on the 2013-2017 American Community Survey, the number of LEP individuals who speak one of the top six languages are:
- Spanish: 1,249,541
- Chinese: 386,290
- Russian: 122,150
- Haitian Creole: 63,615
- Bengali: 62,219
- Korean: 60,405
Which state agencies are required to provide Language Access services?
Each of the following agencies provide Language Access services and have a Language Access Coordinator that monitor the agency’s compliance with this Order.
Language Access Coordinator
Alicia Marciano Sullivan
MSG Roger Townsend
Lt. Timothy Morris
Kristen L. Rouse
What if someone does not receive adequate language assistance or is denied services?
As Governor Cuomo has made clear in the Executive Order, it is the policy of New York State for covered agencies to provide language access services for public services and programs. If you feel that you have not been provided with adequate interpretation services or you have been denied adequate translation assistance, please fill out the complaint form from the appropriate state agency. You can access those forms via the state agency contacts listed above.
For additional questions or information, please email [email protected].