Language and Disability Access

Language Access

Mayor de Blasio’s Administration is committed to ensuring that New Yorkers who have limited English proficiency (LEP) are able to access information, programs, and services offered by NYC government. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) promotes best practices to improve communication between NYC government and its diverse constituents; and guides and assists city agencies to improve their delivery of services and information to New Yorkers with LEP. MOIA also provides multilingual materials to inform immigrant communities about programs, services, and policy updates that may impact them; conducts multilingual outreach to immigrant communities; and provides interpretation at events the agency hosts. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Language Access

  • What are the City’s requirements to provide interpretation and translation?

    • Note: Interpretation is the facilitation of spoken communication between users of different languages. Translation is the transferring of written information from one language to another.
    • The City is governed by different language access laws.
    • Local Law 30 of 2017 (LL30) in New York City is one of the strongest laws in the country and requires that covered city agencies appoint a language access coordinator, develop language access implementation plans, provide telephonic interpretation in at least 100 languages, translate their most commonly distributed documents into the 10 designated citywide languages, and post signage about the availability of free interpretation services, among other requirements.
  • What are the 10 designated citywide languages under Local Law 30?
    • Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian, Korean, Arabic, Urdu, French, and Polish
  • How was this list of 10 languages determined?
    • Local Law 30 requires MOIA and the Mayor’s Office of Operations to use Census data to determine the top six languages spoken by New Yorkers with limited English proficiency, and to use NYC Department of Education data to determine the next four languages spoken by New Yorkers with limited English proficiency.
  • What should I do if I don’t speak English, need to speak with a City agency, and receive materials in my language?
    • Ask agency staff for interpretation services. City agencies covered by Local Law 30 are required to provide telephonic interpretation in at least 100 languages.
    • If you speak one of the ten designated citywide languages, ask if the materials you need are in your language. City agencies covered by Local Law 30 are required to translate their most-commonly-distributed documents into the 10 languages.
  • How can New Yorkers file a complaint if they don’t receive language services?
    • If you do not receive interpretation when seeking services from a City agency, call 311 and say "language access" to submit a complaint.
    • You may also call 311 to suggest additional language services.

Local Law 30 – Language Access Implementation Plans and Reporting

  • Local Law 30 requires MOIA to submit an annual report to the New York City Council by June 30 that includes a list of agencies’ language access coordinators, the number of language access complaints agencies receive through 311, and agencies’ language access implementation plans, among other information.

MOIA’s Language Access & Disability Coordinator

Kenneth Lo
Deputy Director, Language Access
253 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10007
(212) 346-6047
klo@moia.nyc.gov

Additional Materials