[Federal Register: October 21, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 203)]
[Page 64604-64614]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding 
Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting 
Limited English Proficient Persons

AGENCY: Corporation for National and Community Service.

ACTION: Policy guidance document.


SUMMARY: The Corporation for National and Community Service 
(hereinafter the ``Corporation'') adopts final Guidance to Federal 
Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against 
National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient 
Persons (the Corporation's Recipient LEP Guidance). The Corporation's 
Recipient LEP Guidance is issued pursuant to Executive Order 13166, and 
supplants existing guidance on the same subject originally published at 
66 FR 3548 (January 16, 2001).

DATES: This ``Guidance'' is effective October 21, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Corporation for National and 
Community Service, Nancy B. Voss, Director, Equal Opportunity Office, 
1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20525. Telephone 202-606-
5000, extension 309; TDD: 202-565-2799.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under Department of Justice regulations 
implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, 
et seq. (Title VI), recipients of federal financial assistance have a 
responsibility to ensure meaningful access to their programs and 
activities by persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). See 28 
CFR 42.104(b)(2). Executive Order 13166, reprinted at 65 FR 50121 
(August 16, 2000), directs each federal agency that extends assistance 
subject to the requirements of Title VI to publish guidance for its 
respective recipients clarifying that obligation. Executive Order 13166 
further directs that all such guidance documents be consistent with the 
compliance standards and framework detailed in Department of Justice 
Policy Guidance entitled ``Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights 
Act of 1964--National Origin Discrimination Against Persons with 
Limited English Proficiency.'' See 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 2000).
    Initial guidance on obligations of recipients of the Corporation to 
take reasonable steps to ensure access by LEP persons was published on 
January 16, 2001. See 66 FR 3548. That guidance document was 
republished for additional public comment on February 5, 2002. See 67 
FR 5258.
    The Corporation received two comments in response to its February 
5, 2002 publication of revised draft guidance on obligations of the 
Corporation's recipients to take reasonable steps to ensure access to 
programs and activities by LEP persons. The comments reflected the 
views of organizations serving LEP populations. While the comments 
identified areas for improvement and/or revision, the overall response 
to the draft of the Corporation's Recipient LEP Guidance was favorable.
    Specific comments suggested strengthening the guidance to ensure 
that ``grantee'' includes every entity receiving direct or indirect 
federal financial assistance from the Corporation and that all of the 
recipient's activities are covered, as well as providing more guidance 
to recipients in promoting sub-recipients' compliance and recipients' 
liability for failure to do so. Additional comments requested that 
grantees be required to document language assistance efforts; that the 
balancing test not be used to deny LEP individuals access to important 
services; that recipients be provided assistance in determining the 
population within which to assess the number of LEP persons without 
relying on census data alone; that staff be required to receive 
periodic refresher training; that maintaining a written policy for 
language access be mandatory rather than advisory and that greater 
detail be included regarding policies, such as directing recipients to 
post notices and provide a telephone voicemail menu and addressing 
goals and accountability; that a ``safe harbor'' for translation of 
documents be included; and that translators in addition to community 
organizations check translated documents.
    Subsequent to the Corporation's publication and republication of 
its Guidance, the Corporation received notification from the Department 
of Justice that the Corporation should conform its Guidance to guidance 
issued by the Department of Justice. By memorandum to federal agencies 
received July 8, 2002, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, 
Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, stated that it is 
critical that agency LEP recipient guidance documents be consistent 
with one another. He noted that in its March 14, 2002 Report to 
Congress on the Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of 
Implementing Executive Order Number 13166 (http://www.lep.gov), the 
Office of Management and Budget has made it clear that the benefits of 
Executive Order 13166 can be substantial, both to the recipients and to 
the ultimate beneficiaries. However, OMB also stressed that in order to 
reduce costs of compliance, consistency in agency guidance documents is 
critical, particularly since many recipients receive assistance from 
more than one federal agency. Therefore, Assistant Attorney General 
Boyd directed federal agencies to use the Department of Justice's final 
guidance to Department of Justice recipients published at 67 FR 41455 
on June 18, 2002 as their model for publication or republication of 
recipient LEP guidance, modifying examples to make them relevant to the 
particular agency's recipients.
    Accordingly, the Corporation adopted the Department of Justice's 
model in

[[Page 64605]]

issuing this final version of the Corporation's Guidance. Therefore, we 
are not responding directly to the comments received by the 
Corporation. We believe that the Department of Justice fully considered 
the issues identified by those commenting on the Corporation's Guidance 
when the Department of Justice issued its final guidance.
    The text of the Corporation's final guidance document appears 
    It has been determined that this Guidance, which supplants existing 
Guidance on the same subject previously published at 66 FR 3548 
(January 16, 2001), does not constitute a regulation subject to the 
rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 

    Dated: October 15, 2002.
Wendy Zenker,
Chief Operating Officer.

I. Introduction

    Most individuals living in the United States read, write, speak and 
understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom 
English is not their primary language. For instance, based on the 2000 
census, over 26 million individuals speak Spanish and almost 7 million 
individuals speak an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. If these 
individuals have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand 
English, they are limited English proficient, or ``LEP.'' While 
detailed data from the 2000 census has not yet been released, 26% of 
all Spanish-speakers, 29.9% of all Chinese-speakers, and 28.2% of all 
Vietnamese-speakers reported that they spoke English ``not well'' or 
``not at all'' in response to the 1990 census.
    Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to accessing 
important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important 
rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding 
other information provided by federally funded programs and activities. 
The Federal Government funds an array of services that can be made 
accessible to otherwise eligible LEP persons. The Federal Government is 
committed to improving the accessibility of these programs and 
activities to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces its equally 
important commitment to promoting programs and activities designed to 
help individuals learn English. Recipients should not overlook the 
long-term positive impacts of incorporating or offering English as a 
Second Language (ESL) programs in parallel with language assistance 
services. ESL courses can serve as an important adjunct to a proper LEP 
plan. However, the fact that ESL classes are made available does not 
obviate the statutory and regulatory requirement to provide meaningful 
access for those who are not yet English proficient. Recipients of 
federal financial assistance have an obligation to reduce language 
barriers that can preclude meaningful access by LEP persons to 
important government services.\1\

    \1\ The Corporation recognizes that many recipients had language 
assistance programs in place prior to the issuance of Executive 
Order 13166. This policy guidance provides a uniform framework for a 
recipient to integrate, formalize, and assess the continued vitality 
of these existing and possibly additional reasonable efforts based 
on the nature of its program or activity, the current needs of the 
LEP populations it encounters, and its prior experience in providing 
language services in the community it serves.

    In certain circumstances, failure to ensure that LEP persons can 
effectively participate in or benefit from federally assisted programs 
and activities may violate the prohibition under Title VI of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d and Title VI regulations against 
national origin discrimination. The purpose of this policy guidance is 
to assist recipients in fulfilling their responsibilities to provide 
meaningful access to LEP persons under existing law. This policy 
guidance clarifies existing legal requirements for LEP persons by 
providing a description of the factors recipients should consider in 
fulfilling their responsibilities to LEP persons.\2\ These are the same 
criteria the Corporation will use in evaluating whether recipients are 
in compliance with Title VI and Title VI regulations.

    \2\ The policy guidance is not a regulation but rather a guide. 
Title VI and its implementing regulations require that recipients 
take responsible steps to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons. 
This guidance provides an analytical framework that recipients may 
use to determine how best to comply with statutory and regulatory 
obligations to provide meaningful access to the benefits, services, 
information, and other important portions of their programs and 
activities for individuals who are limited English proficient.

    Many commentators have noted that some have interpreted the case of 
Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), as impliedly striking down 
the regulations promulgated under Title VI that form the basis for the 
part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally assisted 
programs and activities. The Department of Justice has taken the 
position that this is not the case, and has reaffirmed its LEP Guidance 
to federal grant-making agencies. Accordingly, we will strive to ensure 
that federally assisted programs and activities work in a way that is 
effective for all eligible beneficiaries, including those with limited 
English proficiency.

II. Legal Authority

    Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 
2000d, provides that no person shall ``on the ground of race, color, or 
national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the 
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or 
activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'' Section 602 
authorizes and directs federal agencies that are empowered to extend 
federal financial assistance to any program or activity ``to effectuate 
the provisions of [section 601] * * * by issuing rules, regulations, or 
orders of general applicability.'' 42 U.S.C. 2000d-1.
    Department of Justice regulations promulgated pursuant to section 
602 forbid recipients from ``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of 
administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to 
discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or 
have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment 
of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a 
particular race, color, or national origin.'' 28 CFR 42.104(b)(2). The 
Corporation's regulations impose the same prohibitions on recipients. 
45 CFR 1203.4.
    The Supreme Court, in Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), 
interpreted regulations promulgated by the former Department of Health, 
Education, and Welfare, including a regulation similar to that of 
Department of Justice, 45 CFR 80.3(b)(2), to hold that Title VI 
prohibits conduct that has a disproportionate effect on LEP persons 
because such conduct constitutes national origin discrimination. In 
Lau, a San Francisco school district that had a significant number of 
non-English speaking students of Chinese origin was required to take 
reasonable steps to provide them with a meaningful opportunity to 
participate in federally funded educational programs.
    On August 11, 2000, Executive Order 13166 was issued. ``Improving 
Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,'' 65 
FR 50121 (August 16, 2000). Under that order, every federal agency that 
provides financial assistance to non-federal entities must publish 
guidance on how their recipients can provide meaningful access to LEP 
persons and thus comply with Title VI regulations forbidding funding 
recipients from ``restrict[ing] an individual in any way in the 
enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any 
service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program'' or from 
``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods

[[Page 64606]]

of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to 
discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or 
have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment 
of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a 
particular race, color, or national origin.''
    On that same day, Department of Justice issued a general guidance 
document addressed to ``Executive Agency Civil Rights Officers'' 
setting forth general principles for agencies to apply in developing 
guidance documents for recipients pursuant to the Executive Order. 
``Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 National 
Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English 
Proficiency,'' 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 2000) (Department of Justice 
``LEP Guidance'').
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the Corporation developed its 
own guidance document for recipients and initially issued it on January 
16, 2001. ``Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients 
Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination 
Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons,'' 66 FR 3548 (January 16, 
2001). Subsequent to the Corporation's publication and republication of 
its Guidance for further comment on February 5, 2002, the Corporation 
received notification from the Department of Justice that the 
Corporation should conform its Guidance to guidance issued by the 
Department of Justice. By memorandum to federal agencies received July 
8, 2002, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights 
Division, Department of Justice, stated that it is critical that agency 
LEP recipient guidance documents be consistent with one another. 
Assistant Attorney General Boyd directed federal agencies to use the 
Department of Justice's final guidance to Department of Justice 
recipients published at 67 FR 41455 on June 18, 2002 as their model for 
publication or republication of recipient LEP guidance, modifying 
examples to make them relevant to the particular agency's recipients.
    This guidance document is thus published pursuant to Executive 
Order 13166 and supplants the January 16, 2001 publication in light of 
Assistant Attorney General Boyd's July 8, 2002 clarifying memorandum.

III. Who Is Covered?

    All recipients of federal financial assistance from the Corporation 
are required to provide meaningful access to LEP persons.\3\ Federal 
financial assistance includes grants, cooperative agreements, training, 
technical assistance, use of equipment, donations of surplus property, 
and other assistance. A grantee is any entity receiving federal 
financial assistance from the Corporation to operate a federally 
assisted program. Recipients of the Corporation's assistance include, 
for example:

    \3\ Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the meaningful access 
requirement of the Title VI regulations and the four-factor analysis 
set forth in the DOJ LEP Guidance are to additionally apply to the 
programs and activities of federal agencies, including the 

    [sbull] State Commissions.
    [sbull] AmeriCorps*VISTA and Senior Corps sponsors.
    [sbull] State educational agencies and schools from elementary 
through graduate level.
    [sbull] AmeriCorps*NCCC projects.
    [sbull] Community based organizations, both secular and faith-
    [sbull] Non-profits, from national organizations such as Boys and 
Girls Clubs of America to neighborhood entities such as senior centers.

    Subrecipients likewise are covered when federal funds are passed 
through from one recipient to a subrecipient.
    Coverage extends to a recipient's entire program or activity, i.e., 
to all parts of a recipient's operations. This is true even if only one 
part of the recipient receives the federal assistance.\4\

    \4\ However, if a federal agency were to decide to terminate 
federal funds based on noncompliance with Title VI or its 
regulations, only funds directed to the particular program or 
activity that is out of compliance would be terminated. 42 U.S.C. 

    Example: The Corporation provides assistance to a school to 
facilitate an after school program. The entire school system'not just 
the particular school'is covered.
    Finally, some recipients operate in jurisdictions in which English 
has been declared the official language. Nonetheless, these recipients 
continue to be subject to federal non-discrimination requirements, 
including those applicable to the provision of federally assisted 
services to persons with limited English proficiency.

IV. Who Is a Limited English Proficient Individual?

    Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and 
who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English 
can be limited English proficient, or ``LEP,'' entitled to language 
assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or 
    Examples of populations likely to include LEP persons who are 
encountered and/or served by the Corporation's recipients and should be 
considered when planning language services include, but are not limited 

    [sbull] Applicants for or participants enrolled in national service 
programs (AmeriCorps, National Senior Service Corps or Learn and Serve 
    [sbull] Persons receiving services, or eligible to receive, 
services performed by participants in national service programs or by 
other portions of the recipient's program or activity.

V. How Does a Recipient Determine the Extent of Its Obligation To 
Provide LEP Services?

    Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure 
meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. 
While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the 
starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the 
following four factors: (1) The number or proportion of LEP persons 
eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or 
grantee; (2) the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact 
with the program; (3) the nature and importance of the program, 
activity, or service provided by the program to people's lives; and (4) 
the resources available to the grantee/recipient and costs. As 
indicated above, the intent of this guidance is to suggest a balance 
that ensures meaningful access by LEP persons to critical services 
while not imposing undue burdens on small business, small local 
governments, or small nonprofits.
    After applying the above four-factor analysis, a recipient may 
conclude that different language assistance measures are sufficient for 
the different types of programs or activities in which it engages. For 
instance, some of a recipient's activities will be more important than 
others and/or have greater impact on or contact with LEP persons, and 
thus may require more in the way of language assistance. The 
flexibility that recipients have in addressing the needs of the LEP 
populations they serve does not diminish, and should not be used to 
minimize, the obligation that those needs be addressed. Recipients of 
the Corporation should apply the following four factors to the various 
kinds of contacts that they have with the public to assess language 
needs and decide what reasonable steps they should take to ensure 
meaningful access for LEP persons.

[[Page 64607]]

(1) The Number or Proportion of LEP Persons Served or Encountered in 
the Eligible Service Population
    One factor in determining what language services recipients should 
provide is the number or proportion of LEP persons from a particular 
language group served or encountered in the eligible service 
population. The greater the number or proportion of these LEP persons, 
the more likely language services are needed. Ordinarily, persons 
``eligible to be served, or likely to be directly affected, by'' a 
recipient's program or activity are those who are served or encountered 
in the eligible service population. This population will be program-
specific, and includes persons who are in the geographic area that has 
been approved by a federal grant agency as the recipient's service 
area. However, where, for instance, a State Commission serves a large 
LEP population, the appropriate service area is most likely the 
geographic service areas or operating sites defined in the 
Corporation's grant applications, and not the entire state. Where no 
service area has previously been approved, the relevant service area 
may be that which is approved by state or local authorities or 
designated by the recipient itself, provided that these designations do 
not themselves discriminatorily exclude certain populations.
    Recipients should first examine their prior experiences with LEP 
encounters and determine the breadth and scope of language services 
that were needed. In conducting this analysis, it is important to 
include language minority populations that are eligible for their 
programs or activities but may be underserved because of existing 
language barriers. Other data should be consulted to refine or validate 
a recipient's prior experience, including the latest census data for 
the area served, data from school systems and from community 
organizations, and data from state and local governments.\5\ Community 
agencies, school systems, religious organizations, legal aid entities, 
and others can often assist in identifying populations for whom 
outreach is needed and who would benefit from the recipients' programs 
and activities were language services provided.

    \5\ The focus of the analysis is on lack of English proficiency, 
not the ability to speak more than one language. Note that 
demographic data may indicate the most frequently spoken languages 
other than English and the percentage of people who speak that 
language who speak or understand English less than well. Some of the 
most commonly spoken languages other than English may be spoken by 
people who are also overwhelmingly proficient in English. Thus, they 
may not be the languages spoken most frequently by limited English 
proficient individuals. When using demographic data, it is important 
to focus in on the languages spoken by those who are not proficient 
in English.

(2) The Frequency With Which LEP Individuals Come in Contact With the 
    Recipients should assess, as accurately as possible, the frequency 
with which they have or should have contact with an LEP individual from 
different language groups seeking assistance. The more frequent the 
contact with a particular language group, the more likely that enhanced 
language services in that language are needed. The steps that are 
reasonable for a recipient that serves an LEP person on a one-time 
basis will be very different than those expected from a recipient that 
serves LEP persons daily. It is also advisable to consider the 
frequency of different types of language contacts. For example, 
frequent contacts with Spanish-speaking people who are LEP may require 
certain assistance in Spanish. Less frequent contact with different 
language groups may suggest a different and less intensified solution. 
If an LEP individual accesses a program or service on a daily basis, a 
recipient has greater duties than if the same individual's program or 
activity contact is unpredictable or infrequent. But even recipients 
that serve LEP persons on an unpredictable or infrequent basis should 
use this balancing analysis to determine what to do if an LEP 
individual seeks services under the program in question. This plan need 
not be intricate. It may be as simple as being prepared to use one of 
the commercially-available telephonic interpretation services to obtain 
immediate interpreter services. In applying this standard, recipients 
should take care to consider whether appropriate outreach to LEP 
persons could increase the frequency of contact with LEP language 
(3) The Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or Service 
Provided by the Program
    The more important the activity, information, service, or program, 
or the greater the possible consequences of the contact to the LEP 
individuals, the more likely language services are needed. The 
obligations to communicate information in situations involving health 
and safety (such as home visits to the frail elderly, vaccinations and 
immunizations, maternal health screening); disaster response; homeland 
security; legal rights (such as assisting persons preparing to apply 
for citizenship or enrolling for government or social services) differ, 
for example, from those to provide recreational programming. A 
recipient needs to determine whether denial or delay of access to 
services or information could have serious or even life-threatening 
implications for the LEP individual.
(4) The Resources Available to the Recipient and Costs
    A recipient's level of resources and the costs that would be 
imposed on it may have an impact on the nature of the steps it should 
take. Smaller recipients with more limited budgets are not expected to 
provide the same level of language services as larger recipients with 
larger budgets. In addition, ``reasonable steps'' may cease to be 
reasonable where the costs imposed substantially exceed the benefits.
    Resource and cost issues, however, can often be reduced by 
technological advances; the sharing of language assistance materials 
and services among and between recipients, advocacy groups, and Federal 
grant agencies; and reasonable business practices. Where appropriate, 
training bilingual staff to act as interpreters and translators, 
information sharing through industry groups, telephonic and video 
conferencing interpretation services, pooling resources and 
standardizing documents to reduce translation needs, using qualified 
translators and interpreters to ensure that documents need not be 
``fixed'' later and that inaccurate interpretations do not cause delay 
or other costs, centralizing interpreter and translator services to 
achieve economies of scale, or the formalized use of qualified 
community volunteers, for example, may help reduce costs.\6\ Recipients 
should carefully explore the most cost-effective means of delivering 
competent and accurate language services before limiting services due 
to resource concerns. Large entities and those entities serving a 
significant number or proportion of LEP persons should ensure that 
their resource limitations are well-substantiated before using this 
factor as a reason to limit language assistance. Such recipients may 
find it useful to be able to articulate, through documentation or in 
some other reasonable manner, their process for determining that 
language services would be limited based on resources or costs.

    \6\ Small recipients with limited resources may find that 
entering into a bulk telephonic interpretation service contract will 
prove cost effective.

    This four-factor analysis necessarily implicates the ``mix'' of LEP 
services required. Recipients have two main ways to provide language 
services: Oral

[[Page 64608]]

interpretation either in person or via telephone interpretation service 
(hereinafter ``interpretation'') and written translation (hereinafter 
``translation''). Oral interpretation can range from on-site 
interpreters for critical services provided to a high volume of LEP 
persons to access through commercially-available telephonic 
interpretation services. Written translation, likewise, can range from 
translation of an entire document to translation of a short description 
of the document. In some cases, language services should be made 
available on an expedited basis while in others the LEP individual may 
be referred to another office of the recipient for language assistance.
    The correct mix should be based on what is both necessary and 
reasonable in light of the four-factor analysis. For instance, programs 
focusing on providing critical services to immigrants and refugees, 
such as providing assistance with enrollment in public services or 
access to emergency or medical care, may need immediate oral 
interpreters available and should give serious consideration to hiring 
some bilingual staff. (Of course, many recipients focusing on serving 
LEP populations have already made such arrangements.) In contrast, 
there may be circumstances where the importance and nature of the 
activity and number or proportion and frequency of contact with LEP 
persons may be low and the costs and resources needed to provide 
language services may be high--such as in the case of a voluntary 
general public tour of a public facility--in which pre-arranged 
language services for the particular service may not be necessary. 
Regardless of the type of language service provided, quality and 
accuracy of those services can be critical in order to avoid serious 
consequences to the LEP person and to the recipient. Recipients have 
substantial flexibility in determining the appropriate mix.

VI. Selecting Language Assistance Services

    Recipients have two main ways to provide language services: oral 
and written language services. Quality and accuracy of the language 
service is critical in order to avoid serious consequences to the LEP 
person and to the recipient.

A. Oral Language Services (Interpretation)

    Interpretation is the act of listening to something in one language 
(source language) and orally translating it into another language 
(target language). Where interpretation is needed and is reasonable, 
recipients should consider some or all of the following options for 
providing competent interpreters in a timely manner:
    Competence of Interpreters. When providing oral assistance, 
recipients should ensure competency of the language service provider, 
no matter which of the strategies outlined below are used. Competency 
requires more than self-identification as bilingual. Some bilingual 
staff and community volunteers, for instance, may be able to 
communicate effectively in a different language when communicating 
information directly in that language, but not be competent to 
interpret in and out of English. Likewise, they may not be able to do 
written translations.
    Competency to interpret, however, does not necessarily mean formal 
certification as an interpreter, although certification is helpful. 
When using interpreters, recipients should ensure that they:
    Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to communicate information 
accurately in both English and in the other language and identify and 
employ the appropriate mode of interpreting (e.g., consecutive, 
simultaneous, summarization, or sight translation); Have knowledge in 
both languages of any specialized terms or concepts peculiar to the 
entity's program or activity and of any particularized vocabulary and 
phraseology used by the LEP person; \7\ and understand and follow 
confidentiality and impartiality rules to the same extent the recipient 
employee for whom they are interpreting and/or to the extent their 
position requires.

    \7\ Many languages have ``regionalisms,'' or differences in 
usage. For instance, a word that may be understood to mean something 
in Spanish for someone from Cuba may not be so understood by someone 
from Mexico. In addition, because there may be languages which do 
not have an appropriate direct interpretation of some legal terms 
and the interpreter should be so aware and be able to provide the 
most appropriate interpretation. The interpreter should likely make 
the recipient aware of the issue and the interpreter and recipient 
can then work to develop a consistent and appropriate set of 
descriptions of these terms in that language that can be used again, 
when appropriate.

    Understand and adhere to their role as interpreters without 
deviating into a role as counselor, legal advisor, or other roles 
(particularly in contacts with health care providers, social services, 
schools, and public services).
    Some recipients, such as those dealing with assisting indigents 
dependent on the recipient for interpretation with health care 
providers, law enforcement or administrative boards, may have 
additional self-imposed requirements for interpreters. Where such 
proceedings are lengthy, the interpreter will likely need breaks and 
team interpreting may be appropriate to ensure accuracy and to prevent 
errors caused by mental fatigue of interpreters.
    While quality and accuracy of language services is critical, the 
quality and accuracy of language services is nonetheless part of the 
appropriate mix of LEP services required. The quality and accuracy of 
language services in a hospital emergency room, for example, must be 
extraordinarily high, while the quality and accuracy of language 
services in a bicycle safety class need not meet the same exacting 
    Finally, when interpretation is needed and is reasonable, it should 
be provided in a timely manner. To be meaningfully effective, language 
assistance should be timely. While there is no single definition for 
``timely'' applicable to all types of interactions at all times by all 
types of recipients, one clear guide is that the language assistance 
should be provided at a time and place that avoids the effective denial 
of the service, benefit, or right at issue or the imposition of an 
undue burden on or delay in important rights, benefits, or services to 
the LEP person. For example, when the timeliness of services is 
important, such as with certain activities of recipients providing 
health and safety services or disaster response, and when important 
rights are at issue, a recipient would likely not be providing 
meaningful access if it had one bilingual staffer available one day a 
week to provide the service. Such conduct would likely result in delays 
for LEP persons that would be significantly greater than those for 
English proficient persons. Conversely, where access to or exercise of 
a service, benefit, or right is not effectively precluded by a 
reasonable delay, language assistance can likely be delayed for a 
reasonable period.
    Hiring Bilingual Staff. When particular languages are encountered 
often, hiring bilingual staff offers one of the best, and often most 
economical, options. Recipients can, for example, fill public contact 
positions, such teachers, service providers, or program directors, with 
staff who are bilingual and competent to communicate directly with LEP 
persons in their language. If bilingual staff are also used to 
interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally 
interpret written documents from English into another language, they 
should be competent in the skill of interpreting. Being bilingual does 
not necessarily mean that a person has the ability to interpret. In 
addition, there may be times when the role of the

[[Page 64609]]

bilingual employee may conflict with the role of an interpreter. 
Effective management strategies, including any appropriate adjustments 
in assignments and protocols for using bilingual staff, can ensure that 
bilingual staff are fully and appropriately utilized. When bilingual 
staff cannot meet all of the language service obligations of the 
recipient, the recipient should turn to other options.
    Hiring Staff Interpreters. Hiring interpreters may be most helpful 
where there is a frequent need for interpreting services in one or more 
languages. Depending on the facts, sometimes it may be necessary and 
reasonable to provide on-site interpreters to provide accurate and 
meaningful communication with an LEP person.
    Contracting for Interpreters. Contract interpreters may be a cost-
effective option when there is no regular need for a particular 
language skill. In addition to commercial and other private providers, 
many community-based organizations and mutual assistance associations 
provide interpretation services for particular languages. Contracting 
with and providing training regarding the recipient's programs and 
processes to these organizations can be a cost-effective option for 
providing language services to LEP persons from those language groups.
    Using Telephone Interpreter Lines. Telephone interpreter service 
lines often offer speedy interpreting assistance in many different 
languages. They may be particularly appropriate where the mode of 
communicating with an English proficient person would also be over the 
    Although telephonic interpretation services are useful in many 
situations, it is important to ensure that, when using such services, 
the interpreters used are competent to interpret any technical or legal 
terms specific to a particular program that may be important parts of 
the conversation. Nuances in language and non-verbal communication can 
often assist an interpreter and cannot be recognized over the phone. 
Video teleconferencing may sometimes help to resolve this issue where 
necessary. In addition, where documents are being discussed, it is 
important to give telephonic interpreters adequate opportunity to 
review the document prior to the discussion and any logistical problems 
should be addressed.
    Using Community Volunteers. In addition to consideration of 
bilingual staff, staff interpreters, or contract interpreters (either 
in-person or by telephone) as options to ensure meaningful access by 
LEP persons, use of recipient-coordinated community volunteers, working 
with, for instance, community-based organizations may provide a cost-
effective supplemental language assistance strategy under appropriate 
circumstances. They may be particularly useful in providing language 
access for a recipient's less critical programs and activities. To the 
extent the recipient relies on community volunteers, it is often best 
to use volunteers who are trained in the information or services of the 
program and can communicate directly with LEP persons in their 
language. Just as with all interpreters, community volunteers used to 
interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally 
translate documents, should be competent in the skill of interpreting 
and knowledgeable about applicable confidentiality and impartiality 
rules. Recipients should consider formal arrangements with community-
based organizations that provide volunteers to address these concerns 
and to help ensure that services are available more regularly.
    Use of Family Members or Friends as Interpreters. Although 
recipients should not plan to rely on an LEP person's family members, 
friends, or other informal interpreters to provide meaningful access to 
important programs and activities, where LEP persons so desire, they 
should be permitted to use, at their own expense, an interpreter of 
their own choosing (whether a professional interpreter, family member 
or friend) in place of or as a supplement to the free language services 
expressly offered by the recipient. LEP persons may feel more 
comfortable when a trusted family member or friend acts as an 
interpreter. In addition, in exigent circumstances that are not 
reasonably foreseeable, temporary use of interpreters not provided by 
the recipient may be necessary. However, with proper planning and 
implementation, recipients should be able to avoid most such 
    Recipients, however, should take special care to ensure that 
family, legal guardians, caretakers, and other informal interpreters 
are appropriate in light of the circumstances and subject matter of the 
program, service or activity, including protection of the recipient's 
own interest in accurate interpretation. In many circumstances, family 
members (especially children) or friends are not competent to provide 
quality and accurate interpretations. Issues of confidentiality, 
privacy, or conflict of interest may also arise. LEP individuals may 
feel uncomfortable revealing or describing sensitive, confidential, or 
potentially embarrassing medical, law enforcement (e.g., sexual or 
violent assaults), family, or financial information to a family member, 
friend, or member of the local community. In addition, such informal 
interpreters may have a personal connection to the LEP person or an 
undisclosed conflict of interest, such as the desire to protect 
themselves or another perpetrator in a domestic violence or other 
criminal matter. For these reasons, when oral language services are 
necessary, recipients should generally offer competent interpreter 
services free of cost to the LEP person. For the Corporation's 
recipient programs and activities, this is particularly true in 
situations in which health, safety, or access to important benefits and 
services are at stake, or when credibility and accuracy are important 
to protect an individual's rights and access to important services.
    While issues of competency, confidentiality, and conflict of 
interest in the use of family members (especially children) or friends 
often make their use inappropriate, the use of these individuals as 
interpreters may be an appropriate option where proper application of 
the four factors would lead to a conclusion that recipient-provided 
services are not necessary. An example of this is a voluntary 
educational tour of a public facility offered to the public. There, the 
importance and nature of the activity may be relatively low and 
unlikely to implicate issues of confidentiality, conflict of interest, 
or the need for accuracy. In addition, the resources needed and costs 
of providing language services may be high. In such a setting, an LEP 
person's use of family, friends, or others may be appropriate.
    If the LEP person voluntarily chooses to provide his or her own 
interpreter, a recipient should consider whether a record of that 
choice and of the recipient's offer of assistance is appropriate. Where 
precise, complete, and accurate interpretations or translations of 
information and/or testimony are critical for medical or legal reasons, 
or where the competency of the LEP person's interpreter is not 
established, a recipient might decide to provide its own, independent 
interpreter, even if an LEP person wants to use his or her own 
interpreter as well. Extra caution should be exercised when the LEP 
person chooses to use a minor as the interpreter. While the LEP 
person's decision should be respected, there may be additional issues 
of competency, confidentiality, or conflict of interest when the choice 
involves using children as interpreters. The recipient should take care 
to ensure that

[[Page 64610]]

the LEP person's choice is voluntary, that the LEP person is aware of 
the possible problems if the preferred interpreter is a minor child, 
and that the LEP person knows that a competent interpreter could be 
provided by the recipient at no cost.

B. Written Language Services (Translation)

    Translation is the replacement of a written text from one language 
(source language) into an equivalent written text in another language 
(target language).
    What Documents Should be Translated? After applying the four-factor 
analysis, a recipient may determine that an effective LEP plan for its 
particular program or activity includes the translation of vital 
written materials into the language of each frequently-encountered LEP 
group eligible to be served and/or likely to be affected by the 
recipient's program.
    Such written materials could include, for example:
    [sbull] Applications for benefits or services;
    [sbull] Consent forms;
    [sbull] Documents containing important information regarding 
participation in a program (such as descriptions of eligibility for 
tutoring, assignment of a Senior Companion, instructions for filing for 
reimbursement of expenses, application for health care or child care 
    [sbull] Notices pertaining to the reduction, denial or termination 
of services or benefits, or to the right to appeal such actions or that 
require a response from beneficiaries;
    [sbull] The member contract, job description, and an explanation of 
the Grievance Procedure;
    [sbull] Notices advising LEP persons of the availability of free 
language assistance; and
    [sbull] Other outreach materials.
    Whether or not a document (or the information it solicits) is 
``vital'' may depend upon the importance of the program, information, 
encounter, or service involved, and the consequence to the LEP person 
if the information in question is not provided accurately or in a 
timely manner. For instance, applications for bicycle safety courses 
should not generally be considered vital, whereas applications for 
benefits regarding disaster relief, medical services or housing could 
be considered vital. Where appropriate, recipients are encouraged to 
create a plan for consistently determining, over time and across its 
various activities, what documents are ``vital'' to the meaningful 
access of the LEP populations they serve.
    Classifying a document as vital or non-vital is sometimes 
difficult, especially in the case of outreach materials like brochures 
or other information on rights and services. Awareness of rights or 
services is an important part of ``meaningful access.'' Lack of 
awareness that a particular program, right, or service exists may 
effectively deny LEP individuals meaningful access. Thus, where a 
recipient is engaged in community outreach activities in furtherance of 
its activities, it should regularly assess the needs of the populations 
frequently encountered or affected by the program or activity to 
determine whether certain critical outreach materials should be 
translated. Community organizations may be helpful in determining what 
outreach materials may be most helpful to translate. In addition, the 
recipient should consider whether translations of outreach material may 
be made more effective when done in tandem with other outreach methods, 
including utilizing the ethnic media, schools, religious, and community 
organizations to spread a message.
    Sometimes a document includes both vital and non-vital information. 
This may be the case when the document is very large. It may also be 
the case when the title and a phone number for obtaining more 
information on the contents of the document in frequently-encountered 
languages other than English is critical, but the document is sent out 
to the general public and cannot reasonably be translated into many 
languages. Thus, vital information may include, for instance, the 
provision of information in appropriate languages other than English 
regarding where a LEP person might obtain an interpretation or 
translation of the document.
    Into What Languages Should Documents be Translated? The languages 
spoken by the LEP individuals with whom the recipient has contact 
determine the languages into which vital documents should be 
translated. A distinction should be made, however, between languages 
that are frequently encountered by a recipient and less commonly-
encountered languages. Many recipients serve communities in large 
cities or across the country. They regularly serve LEP persons who 
speak dozens and sometimes over 100 different languages. To translate 
all written materials into all of those languages is unrealistic. 
Although recent technological advances have made it easier for 
recipients to store and share translated documents, such an undertaking 
would incur substantial costs and require substantial resources.
    Nevertheless, well-substantiated claims of lack of resources to 
translate all vital documents into dozens of languages do not 
necessarily relieve the recipient of the obligation to translate those 
documents into at least several of the more frequently-encountered 
languages and to set benchmarks for continued translations into the 
remaining languages over time. As a result, the extent of the 
recipient's obligation to provide written translations of documents 
should be determined by the recipient on a case-by-case basis, looking 
at the totality of the circumstances in light of the four-factor 
analysis. Because translation is a one-time expense, consideration 
should be given to whether the upfront cost of translating a document 
(as opposed to oral interpretation) should be amortized over the likely 
lifespan of the document when applying this four-factor analysis.
    Safe Harbor. Many recipients would like to ensure with greater 
certainty that they comply with their obligations to provide written 
translations in languages other than English. Paragraphs (a) and (b) 
outline the circumstances that can provide a ``safe harbor'' for 
recipients regarding the requirements for translation of written 
materials. A ``safe harbor'' means that if a recipient provides written 
translations under these circumstances, such action will be considered 
strong evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation 
    The failure to provide written translations under the circumstances 
outlined in paragraphs (a) and (b) does not mean there is non-
compliance. Rather, they provide a common starting point for recipients 
to consider whether and at what point the importance of the service, 
benefit, or activity involved; the nature of the information sought; 
and the number or proportion of LEP persons served call for written 
translations of commonly-used forms into frequently-encountered 
languages other than English. Thus, these paragraphs merely provide a 
guide for recipients that would like greater certainty of compliance 
than can be provided by a fact-intensive, four-factor analysis.
    Example: Even if the safe harbors are not used, if written 
translation of a certain document(s) would be so burdensome as to 
defeat the legitimate objectives of its program, the translation of the 
written materials is not necessary. Other ways of providing meaningful 
access, such as effective oral interpretation of certain vital

[[Page 64611]]

documents, might be acceptable under such circumstances.
    Safe Harbor. The following actions will be considered strong 
evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation 
    (a) The Corporation recipient provides written translations of 
vital documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes 
five percent or 1,000, whichever is less, of the population of persons 
eligible to be served or likely to be affected or encountered. 
Translation of other documents, if needed, can be provided orally; or
    (b) If there are fewer than 50 persons in a language group that 
reaches the five percent trigger in (a), the recipient does not 
translate vital written materials but provides written notice in the 
primary language of the LEP language group of the right to receive 
competent oral interpretation of those written materials, free of cost.
    These safe harbor provisions apply to the translation of written 
documents only. They do not affect the requirement to provide 
meaningful access to LEP individuals through competent oral 
interpreters where oral language services are needed and are 
reasonable. For example, programs that address the needs of immigrants 
and refugees who may not be literate should, where appropriate, ensure 
that crucial information regarding medical, financial or legal rights 
have been explained.
    Competence of Translators. As with oral interpreters, translators 
of written documents should be competent. Many of the same 
considerations apply. However, the skill of translating is very 
different from the skill of interpreting, and a person who is a 
competent interpreter may or may not be competent to translate.
    Particularly where medical, legal or other vital documents are 
being translated, competence can often be achieved by use of certified 
translators. Certification or accreditation may not always be possible 
or necessary.\8\ Competence can often be ensured by having a second, 
independent translator ``check'' the work of the primary translator. 
Alternatively, one translator can translate the document, and a second, 
independent translator could translate it back into English to check 
that the appropriate meaning has been conveyed. This is called ``back 

    \8\ For those languages in which no formal accreditation 
currently exists, a particular level of membership in a professional 
translation association can provide some indicator of 

    Translators should understand the expected reading level of the 
audience and, where appropriate, have fundamental knowledge about the 
target language group's vocabulary and phraseology. Sometimes direct 
translation of materials results in a translation that is written at a 
much more difficult level than the English language version or has no 
relevant equivalent meaning.\9\ Community organizations may be able to 
help consider whether a document is written at a good level for the 
audience. Likewise, consistency in the words and phrases used to 
translate terms of art, legal, or other technical concepts helps avoid 
confusion by LEP individuals and may reduce costs.

    \9\ For instance, there may be languages which do not have an 
appropriate direct translation of some legal terms and the 
translator should be able to provide an appropriate translation. The 
translator should likely also make the recipient aware of this. 
Recipients can then work with translators to develop a consistent 
and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in that language 
that can be used again, when appropriate. Recipients will find it 
more effective and less costly if they try to maintain consistency 
in the words and phrases used to translate terms of art and legal or 
other technical concepts. Creating or using already-created 
glossaries of commonly used terms may be useful for LEP persons and 
translators and cost effective for the recipient. Providing 
translators with examples of previous translations of similar 
material by the recipient, other recipients, or federal agencies may 
be helpful.

    While quality and accuracy of translation services is critical, the 
quality and accuracy of translation services is nonetheless part of the 
appropriate mix of LEP services required. For instance, documents that 
are simple and have no legal or other consequence for LEP persons who 
rely on them may use translators that are less skilled than important 
documents with legal or other information upon which reliance has 
important consequences (including, e.g., information or documents of 
recipients regarding certain health and safety services and certain 
legal rights). The permanent nature of written translations, however, 
imposes additional responsibility on the recipient to ensure that the 
quality and accuracy permit meaningful access by LEP persons.

VII. Elements of Effective Plan on Language Assistance for LEP Persons

    After completing the four-factor analysis and deciding what 
language assistance services are appropriate, a recipient should 
develop an implementation plan to address the identified needs of the 
LEP populations they serve. Recipients have considerable flexibility in 
developing this plan. The development and maintenance of a 
periodically-updated written plan on language assistance for LEP 
persons (``LEP plan'') for use by recipient employees serving the 
public will likely be the most appropriate and cost-effective means of 
documenting compliance and providing a framework for the provision of 
timely and reasonable language assistance.
    Moreover, such written plans would likely provide additional 
benefits to a recipient's managers in the areas of training, 
administration, planning, and budgeting. These benefits should lead 
most recipients to document in a written LEP plan their language 
assistance services, and how staff and LEP persons can access those 
services. Despite these benefits, certain recipients of the 
Corporation, such as recipients serving very few LEP persons and 
recipients with very limited resources, may choose not to develop a 
written LEP plan. However, the absence of a written LEP plan does not 
obviate the underlying obligation to ensure meaningful access by LEP 
persons to a recipient's program or activities. Accordingly, in the 
event that a recipient elects not to develop a written plan, it should 
consider alternative ways to articulate in some other reasonable manner 
a plan for providing meaningful access. Entities having significant 
contact with LEP persons, such as schools, religious organizations, 
community groups, and groups working with new immigrants can be very 
helpful in providing important input into this planning process from 
the beginning.
    The following five steps may be helpful in designing an LEP plan 
and are typically part of effective implementation plans.
(1) Identifying LEP Individuals Who Need Language Assistance
    The first two factors in the four-factor analysis require an 
assessment of the number or proportion of LEP individuals eligible to 
be served or encountered and the frequency of encounters. This requires 
recipients to identify LEP persons with whom it has contact.
    One way to determine the language of communication is to use 
language identification cards (or ``I speak cards''), which invite LEP 
persons to identify their language needs to staff. Such cards, for 
instance, might say ``I speak Spanish'' in both Spanish and English, 
``I speak Vietnamese'' in both English and Vietnamese, etc. To reduce 
costs of compliance, the federal government has made a set of these 
cards available on the Internet. The Census Bureau ``I speak card'' can 
be found and downloaded at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/13166.htm. When 
records are

[[Page 64612]]

normally kept of past interactions with members of the public, the 
language of the LEP person can be included as part of the record. In 
addition to helping employees identify the language of LEP persons they 
encounter, this process will help in future applications of the first 
two factors of the four-factor analysis. In addition, posting notices 
in commonly encountered languages notifying LEP persons of language 
assistance will encourage them to self-identify.
(2) Language Assistance Measures
    An effective LEP plan would likely include information about the 
ways in which language assistance will be provided. For instance, 
recipients may want to include information on at least the following:
    [sbull] Types of language services available.
    [sbull] How staff can obtain those services.
    [sbull] How to respond to LEP callers.
    [sbull] How to respond to written communications from LEP persons.
    [sbull] How to respond to LEP individuals who have in-person 
contact with recipient staff.
    [sbull] How to ensure competency of interpreters and translation 
(3) Training Staff
    Staff should know their obligations to provide meaningful access to 
information and services for LEP persons. An effective LEP plan would 
likely include training to ensure that:
    [sbull] Staff know about LEP policies and procedures.
    [sbull] Staff having contact with the public are trained to work 
effectively with in-person and telephone interpreters.
    Recipients may want to include this training as part of the 
orientation for new employees. It is important to ensure that all 
employees in public contact positions are properly trained. Recipients 
have flexibility in deciding the manner in which the training is 
provided. The more frequent the contact with LEP persons, the greater 
the need will be for in-depth training. Staff with little or no contact 
with LEP persons may only have to be aware of an LEP plan. However, 
management staff, even if they do not interact regularly with LEP 
persons, should be fully aware of and understand the plan so they can 
reinforce its importance and ensure its implementation by staff.
(4) Providing Notice to LEP Persons
    Once an agency has decided, based on the four factors, that it will 
provide language services, it is important for the recipient to let LEP 
persons know that those services are available and that they are free 
of charge. Recipients should provide this notice in a language LEP 
persons will understand. Examples of notification that recipients 
should consider include:
    [sbull] Posting signs in intake areas and other entry points. When 
language assistance is needed to ensure meaningful access to 
information and services, it is important to provide notice in 
appropriate languages in intake areas or initial points of contact so 
that LEP persons can learn how to access those language services. This 
is particularly true in areas with high volumes of LEP persons seeking 
access to certain services or activities run by recipients of the 
Corporation dealing with assisting individuals in accessing health, 
safety or social services. For instance, signs in intake offices could 
state that free language assistance is available. The signs should be 
translated into the most common languages encountered. They should 
explain how to get the language help.\10\

    \10\ The Social Security Administration has made such signs 
available at http://www.ssa.gov/multilanguage/langlist1.htm. These 
signs could, for example, be modified for recipient use.

    [sbull] Stating in outreach documents that language services are 
available from the agency. Announcements could be in, for instance, 
brochures, booklets, and in outreach and recruitment information. These 
statements should be translated into the most common languages and 
could be ``tagged'' onto the front of common documents.
    [sbull] Working with community-based organizations and other 
stakeholders to inform LEP individuals of the recipients' services, 
including the availability of language assistance services.
    [sbull] Using a telephone voice mail menu. The menu could be in the 
most common languages encountered. It should provide information about 
available language assistance services and how to get them.
    [sbull] Including notices in local newspapers in languages other 
than English.
    [sbull] Providing notices on non-English-language radio and 
television stations about the available language assistance services 
and how to get them.
    [sbull] Presentations and/or notices at schools and religious 
(5) Monitoring and Updating the LEP Plan
    Recipients should, where appropriate, have a process for 
determining, on an ongoing basis, whether new documents, programs, 
services, and activities need to be made accessible for LEP 
individuals, and they may want to provide notice of any changes in 
services to the LEP public and to employees. In addition, recipients 
should consider whether changes in demographics, types of services, or 
other needs require annual reevaluation of their LEP plan. Less 
frequent reevaluation may be more appropriate where demographics, 
services, and needs are more static. One good way to evaluate the LEP 
plan is to seek feedback from the community.
    In their reviews, recipients may want to consider assessing changes 
    [sbull] Current LEP populations in service area or population 
affected or encountered.
    [sbull] Frequency of encounters with LEP language groups.
    [sbull] Nature and importance of activities to LEP persons.
    [sbull] Availability of resources, including technological advances 
and sources of additional resources, and the costs imposed.
    [sbull] Whether existing assistance is meeting the needs of LEP 
    [sbull] Whether staff knows and understands the LEP plan and how to 
implement it.
    [sbull] Whether identified sources for assistance are still 
available and viable.
    In addition to these five elements, effective plans set clear 
goals, management accountability, and opportunities for community input 
and planning throughout the process.

VIII. Voluntary Compliance Effort

    The goal for Title VI and Title VI regulatory enforcement is to 
achieve voluntary compliance. The requirement to provide meaningful 
access to LEP persons is enforced and implemented by the Corporation 
through the procedures identified in the Title VI regulations. These 
procedures include complaint investigations, compliance reviews, 
efforts to secure voluntary compliance, and technical assistance.
    The Title VI regulations provide that the Corporation will 
investigate whenever it receives a complaint, report, or other 
information that alleges or indicates possible noncompliance with Title 
VI or its regulations. If the investigation results in a finding of 
compliance, the Corporation will inform the recipient in writing of 
this determination, including the basis for the determination. The 
Corporation uses voluntary mediation to resolve most complaints. 
However, if a case is fully investigated and results in a finding of 
noncompliance, the Corporation must inform the recipient of the 
noncompliance through a Letter of Findings that sets out the areas of

[[Page 64613]]

noncompliance and the steps that must be taken to correct the 
noncompliance. It must attempt to secure voluntary compliance through 
informal means. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the 
Corporation must secure compliance through the termination of federal 
assistance after the Corporation recipient has been given an 
opportunity for an administrative hearing and/or by referring the 
matter to the Department of Justice to seek injunctive relief or pursue 
other enforcement proceedings.
    The Corporation engages in voluntary compliance efforts and 
provides technical assistance to recipients at all stages of an 
investigation. During these efforts, the Corporation proposes 
reasonable timetables for achieving compliance and consults with and 
assists recipients in exploring cost-effective ways of coming into 
compliance. In determining a recipient's compliance with the Title VI 
regulations, the Corporation's primary concern is to ensure that the 
recipient's policies and procedures provide meaningful access for LEP 
persons to the recipient's programs and activities.
    While all recipients must work toward building systems that will 
ensure access for LEP individuals, the Corporation acknowledges that 
the implementation of a comprehensive system to serve LEP individuals 
is a process and that a system will evolve over time as it is 
implemented and periodically reevaluated. As recipients take reasonable 
steps to provide meaningful access to federally assisted programs and 
activities for LEP persons, the Corporation will look favorably on 
intermediate steps recipients take that are consistent with this 
Guidance, and that, as part of a broader implementation plan or 
schedule, move their service delivery system toward providing full 
access to LEP persons.
    This does not excuse noncompliance but instead recognizes that full 
compliance in all areas of a recipient's activities and for all 
potential language minority groups may reasonably require a series of 
implementing actions over a period of time. However, in developing any 
phased implementation schedule, recipients of the Corporation should 
ensure that the provision of appropriate assistance for significant LEP 
populations or with respect to activities having a significant impact 
on the health, safety, legal rights, or livelihood of beneficiaries is 
addressed first. Recipients are encouraged to document their efforts to 
provide LEP persons with meaningful access to federally assisted 
programs and activities.

IX. Promising Practices

    This section provides examples of promising practices that 
recipients engage in using the federal financial assistance (the 
national service volunteers) provided by the Corporation. Recipient 
programs are responsible for ensuring meaningful access to all portions 
of their program or activity, not just the portions in which national 
service participants serve. So long as the language services are 
accurate, timely, and appropriate in the manner outlined in this 
guidance, the types of promising practices summarized below can assist 
recipients in meeting the meaningful access requirements of Title VI 
and the Title VI regulations.
Examples of Promising Practices That Provide Access to LEP Persons
    The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs AmeriCorps 
program recruits former farmworkers to serve as AmeriCorps members. 
Most members are bilingual, and many are LEP. Members are encouraged to 
take English as a Second Language classes as a part of their member 
development plan. The program provides pesticide safety training to 
farmworkers and their families. Members conduct the training in 
    The program uses the following techniques to ensure that members 
understand their terms of service and benefits:
    [sbull] Recruiting posters, flyers and the Member Service Contract 
are provided in Spanish.
    [sbull] AmeriCorps project staff are bilingual (Spanish/English).
    [sbull] Orientation training is provided in Spanish and English.
    [sbull] Conference calls are held in Spanish when all members speak 
    [sbull] Two bilingual second-year members led a team of members 
that communicated about their service projects exclusively in Spanish.
    [sbull] Members had to be bilingual, but did not require English as 
the first language.
    [sbull] Recruitment took place at the local field office level, and 
candidates were often from the farmworker community.
    The Parents Making a Difference AmeriCorps program recruits a 
diverse corps including many bilingual members to provide outreach to 
parents in low-income school communities. Members translate at parent-
teacher conferences, call parents about absent children, and organize a 
wide variety of parent-oriented outreach and educational activities.
    ``Classroom in the Kitchen'' gives parents tips on how to support 
the educational growth of their children in their homes. Diverse 
language abilities and cultural knowledge are extremely important in 
this regard. The range of English proficiency is varied, allowing 
members to help each other, and communication about program activities 
is largely bilingual.
    The program provides English-Second-Language classes for LEP 
AmeriCorps members as part of their Member Development Plan. (This 
language support is required by the Rhode Island Commission for all 
AmeriCorps programs, in the same vein as the GED training requirement.)
    The Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, 
Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE) program. SHINE 
is a national, multicultural, intergenerational service-learning 
initiative in five cities. College students provide language, literacy, 
and citizenship tutoring to elderly immigrants and refugees. Currently, 
students serve as coaches in ESL/citizenship classes or as tutors in 
community centers, temples, churches, housing developments, and ethnic 
    Northeastern University, San Francisco State University, Loyola 
University, Florida International University and Temple University are 
involved with SHINE. Students participate through courses, work study, 
and campus volunteer organizations. SHINE program coordinators partner 
with local community organizations; recruit, train, place, and monitor 
students at community sites; and provide support and technical 
    Since 1997, more than 60 faculty from education, social work, 
anthropology, political science, modern languages, sociology, English, 
Latino, and Asian studies have offered SHINE as a service-learning 
option in their courses. Over 1,000 students provided over 25,000 hours 
of instruction to 3,500 older learners at 37 sites in Boston, San 
Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia.
    The Albuquerque Senior Companion Program (SCP), sponsored by the 
City of Albuquerque, Department of Senior Affairs, serves a diverse 
senior population with Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo volunteers. 
Senior Companions assist the frail elderly with household tasks and 
    Ten of its volunteer stations are located on Pueblos. Each Pueblo 
has its own language. The program works closely with its site managers/
supervisors who are bilingual

[[Page 64614]]

employees of the individual Pueblo governments and generally are 
residents of the Pueblos. Senior Companions serve on their own Pueblos 
and walk to the homes of their clients.
    Due to language and cultural barriers these supervisors assist with 
all areas of the program. They are familiar with the population in 
their individual Pueblos and use this knowledge to assist with 
recruitment, placement, and training.
    ACCION International, an AmeriCorps*VISTA project sponsor, is a 
nonprofit that fights poverty through microlending. ACCION Chicago did 
outreach to home-based businesses that rarely have access to capital. 
An AmeriCorps*VISTA member found that many of the women make ends meet 
through programs such as Mary Kay cosmetics. The AmeriCorps*VISTA 
member worked with the ACCION loan officer to develop a loan product 
specifically for these women and has organized bilingual information 
sessions throughout Chicago neighborhoods.
    ``Bring New Jersey Together'' is an AmeriCorps program in Jersey 
City, New Jersey that seeks to bridge the cultural and linguistic 
barriers separating new Americans from the rest of the community. 
AmeriCorps members serve LEP community members by translating documents 
and escorting them to places such as medical appointments, the grocery 
store, or anywhere else where a translator may be necessary. The 
primary languages of the program are Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese, 
but also Albanian, Creole, Indian languages, and others depending on 
the influx of refugees.
    The New Jersey Commission built a partnership with the 
International Institute of New Jersey, which had provided services to 
the immigrant community for fifty years, to establish an AmeriCorps 
program that served the needs of the community.
    The Honolulu Chinese Citizenship Tutorial Program is a service-
learning project site in the Campus Compact National Center for 
Community Colleges, ``2+4=Service on Common Ground''. The University of 
Hawaii at Monoa's College of Social Sciences collaborated with the 
Kapl'olani Community College, Chaminade University, the Chinese 
Community Action Coalition and Child and Family Service. Local 
bilingual college students serve as tutors (during a 10-week session) 
for Chinese immigrants to help them pass their citizenship exams. The 
immigrants are recruited by visiting adult education classes, through 
Chinese radio programs, flyers, and Chinese language newspapers. The 
Chinese Community Action Coalition provides the curriculum and 
resources such as Scrabble, books, word-picture matching games, and 
card games for constructing simple English sentences.
    The tutorial sessions focus on passing the INS exam and 
conversational English. Many of the immigrants are senior citizens. The 
classes are held in Chinatown. Since the project began, about 1,000 
immigrants and refugees have enrolled. Over 300 students have 
participated as tutors and approximately one-third of the Chinese 
immigrants became citizens.
    Transition House, Santa Barbara, CA., is a facility that primarily 
serves homeless Hispanic women. The services are tailored to meet the 
needs of each family to help women and their children move from 
homelessness and unemployment to employment and permanent housing. The 
AmeriCorps*VISTA members assigned to the project are bilingual. The 
clientele is 60% monolingual Spanish speakers.
    The AmeriCorps*VISTA members are creating a Career Development 
Curriculum that is fully translated into Spanish and members host 
seminars about immigration and consumer credit counseling services. 
There was a need to improve communication with clients. One of the 
AmeriCorps*VISTA members developed ``halfsheets'', one side in Spanish, 
the other in English, that explain the services offered by Transition 
    The AmeriCorps*VISTA members are responsible for placement of 
children in daycare to enable parents to work. They accompany families 
to childcare providers to assist with translation and to help make the 
families feel at ease with placing their children in childcare.

[FR Doc. 02-26632 Filed 10-18-02; 8:45 am]