Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Department of Labor

Language Access and Assistance

What is Language Access?

On October 6, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 26, which directed executive branch state agencies to provide language assistance services (translation and interpretation) to people of Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Individuals of LEP are identified in a Language Access Plan developed by each agency.

Language Services fact sheet

Please view, print, and share this flier about Language Services.

The Language Services fact sheet is also available in the following non-English languages.

Language Access Plan

You can review the Department of Labor's current Language Access Plan. The Language Access Plan is updated approximately every two years.

Interpretation versus translation:

Interpretation is spoken and translation is written.  Affected agencies should provide an interpreter for any language. This service is primarily provided by telephone. The agency should also translate select vital documents into specific languages. The documents and languages they are translated into are identified in the Language Access Plan.

What is a vital document?

The U.S. Department of Justice Language Access Assistance Guide states, “vital written documents include, but are not limited to:

  • consent and complaint forms;
  • intake and application forms with the potential for important consequences;
  • written notices of rights;
  • notices of denials, losses, or decreases in benefits or services;
  • notices of disciplinary action;
  • signs; and
  • notices advising LEP individuals of free language assistance services.”

Get Free Language Assistance
  • Español (Spanish)
    Llámenos al 1-888-469-7365 si necesita ayuda gratis en su idioma.
  • 中文 (Chinese)
    請給我們打電話號碼 : 1-888-469-7365, 要求免費的語言協助服務。
  • Русский (Russian)
    Чтобы получить бесплатные переводческие услуги, позвоните, пожалуйста, по следующему номеру: 1-888-469-7365
  • Italiano (Italian)
    Chiamare il 1-888-469-7365 per assistenza linguistica gratuita.
  • Kreyòl ayisyen (Haitian-Creole)
    Tanpri rele nou nan 1-888-469-7365 pou jwenn sèvis èd gratis nan lang
  • বাঙালি (Bengali)
    অনুগ্রহ করে বিনামূল্যে ভাষা সহায়তা পরিষেবার জন্য আমাদের ফোন নম্বরে 1-888-469-7365 ফোন করুন।
  • 한국어 (Korean)
    전화 1-888-469-7365 로 무료 언어 지원 서비스를 요청하십시오.
  • Polski (Polish)
    Pod numerem telefonu 1-888-469-7365 otrzymają Państwo bezpłatną pomoc językową.

What are the languages into which agencies will translate vital documents?

According to the Executive Order, vital documents must be provided "in the six most common non-English languages spoken by individuals with limited-English proficiency in the State of New York, based on United States census data". Some agencies may also choose to translate documents into additional languages based on their experience and other federal requirements.

At the moment, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Bengali, and Korean are the six most common non-English languages spoken in the state. This is based on US Census data and may change over time.

As a result, at the Department of Labor, vital documents are provided in Spanish, traditional Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Bengali, and Korean. Some printed materials are available in other languages. Language interpretation services are provided in more than 200 languages.

Who is making sure this happens?

Each agency has a Language Access Coordinator to oversee that agency's Language Access Plan.  The Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Civil Rights will make sure each agency complies with the order.

Language Access Coordinator

To reach the Department of Labor's Language Access Coordinator:
Language Access Coordinator: Eric Denk
Office phone: 607-778-2836
Mobile phone: 607-205-5491
E-Mail: [email protected]
Fax: 212-775-3389
Mailing address: 601-635 Harry L Drive Suite 56 Johnson City New York 13790-1245

What else is being done?

Agencies also have uniform documents to help people identify the services that are available.  Posters, notices, and complaint forms are all the same, so people can easily identify and recognize them.

What should I expect if I visit the Department of Labor?

As a result of the Executive Order, every New Yorker is entitled to receive certain services in his or her preferred language.

Every State of New York office that is open to the public is required to provide interpretation at no cost to you. This includes New York State Career Centers operated by the Department of Labor and Career Centers operated by other partner agencies, such as counties. A poster should be displayed in that office called Language Identification Tool, and which says, in more than thirty languages, “Point to your language. An interpreter will be called. The interpreter is provided at no cost to you.”

What does the poster look like?

Here is a copy of the Language Identification Tool. It should be posted prominently in every New York State office that is open to the public. If you don’t see one, please ask about it.

What if someone does not receive adequate language assistance?

Those who feel that we have not provided adequate interpretation services, or have denied them access to an available translated document, may submit a complaint form to give us their feedback.

Additional information

If you would like to obtain more information about language access at New York State agencies, visit the Division of Human Rights.

Thanks for the feedback! It will help us improve your experience.