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Language Access Laws and Legislation

May 11, 20231 min read

The following are some of the laws and other legislation that support language access in various settings:

✔️Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: prohibits discrimination or the exclusion or denial of benefits of programs based on someone's race, color, or national origin. Applies to programs receiving Federal funding and support (even indirectly).

✔️Executive Order 13166 of 2000 (affirms Title VI’s language access requirement)

✔️Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA): prohibits, among other conduct, deliberate segregation on the basis of race, color, and national origin.

✔️Various state and local laws and regulations, including Maryland's Equal Access to Public Services Act of 2002

✔️Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (healthcare/medical)

✔️Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1975

💡Starting points for compliance:

  • "I Speak..." cards in various languages (cards that identify various languages)

  • Language posters

  • Language surveys (helps identify the most spoken languages in the community/area/location)

  • Partnership with a translation/interpreting company or freelancer (even on an as-needed basis)

  • Bilingual staff (with appropriate interpreting/translation training and language proficiency training)


Migration Policy Institute

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

U.S. Department of Justice

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