The purpose of the Language Access Act of 2004 is to provide greater access and participation in public services, programs and activities for residents of the District of Columbia with limited or no-English proficiency (LEP/NEP). Enacted by Mayoral order in April 2004, the Act requires four actions from District government programs, departments and services with major public contact: Assess the need for and offer oral language services.
Provide written translation of vital documents to any non-English language spoken by a LEP/NEP population that makes up 3 percent or 500 individuals, whichever is less, of the population served or encountered, or likely to be served or encountered.
Establish and implement a language access plan.
Identify a language access coordinator.
The Council of the District of Columbia has identified five languages, besides English, as those largely spoken in the District and their population is served by the District government: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Amharic.
The Office of Human Rights (OHR) is the agency designated by the Act to oversee the Language Access Program.
- “I Speak… Amharic”
- “I Speak… Arabic”
- “I Speak… Chinese”
- “I Speak… French”
- “I Speak… Korean”
- “I Speak… Portuguese”
- “I Speak… Russian”
- “I Speak… Spanish”
- “I Speak… Tagalog”
- “I Speak… Vietnamese”
Under the Language Access Act, covered entities with major public contact must provide translations of their vital documents, which are written materials intended for the public. A document is considered vital if it contains information that is critical to accessing your covered entity’s services, or if conveying the information is required by law. Vital documents may be in either electronic or print form.
If you need interpretation assistance while conducting business at DOB, please call (202) 442-8799 and a member of our staff will assist you.