Language access

Session 2

Purpose: The purpose of this session is to look at your organizational and community realities to define what “reasonable steps” your organization should or could take to provide meaningful access at this point in time.

Discuss the following items among the group:

  1. What did the research reveal about:


    1. How frequently are community members with limited English proficiency requesting our services?


    2. How frequently are these requests met and how are they addressed?


    3. Do our service statistics reflect the community we serve?


    4. What does it mean if there are significant communities of people with limited English proficiency in our area who are not coming to us for services?


    5. Record your conversations in the Language Access Plan Template, Section 1B: Language Access Needs.
  1. What are our current practices, policies and capacity regarding language access?
    1. Have we captured all of the potential points of contact?


    2. Are expectations of staff clear?


    3. Are tools and resources adequate?


    4. This worksheet may be helpful in recording your conversation and building a tool that your organization may use in the implementation of your plan.

Begin to discuss potential improvements/enhancements (immediate and long-term):

  1. What tools, trainings, resources or strategies could enhance our capacity to provide language access immediately and with little or no cost to the organization? (I Speak posters, welcome signs in multiple languages, etc.)


  2. What could help enhance capacity in the next 3-6 months? (Enhance existing partnerships, develop a video or audio recording, etc.)


  3. What are long-term (1-3 years) strategies that we could explore? (hiring bilingual staff, recruiting and training bilingual volunteers, etc.)


  4. Record your decisions and/or recommendations in Section 1C of the Language access template.

At this point, all ideas are important to capture and can be explored further with work before the next session. Decide among the group how many strategies can be realistically explored by the team (or volunteers/interns) before the next session. If necessary, prioritize at least two strategies within each of the categories above to research. Make sure that for each strategy, you consider the needs of the individuals with LEP (e.g., community outreach to let them know they may request an interpreter and that the services are free of charge, and how to do so) and staff/volunteers (e.g., training on how to identify a person’s spoken language, access an interpreter, and communicate with someone through an interpreter).

Work to be completed before Session 3

Divide the potential ideas for enhancement among the group. Assess feasibility of improvements with multiple lenses.

Consider the following questions for each strategy:

  1. What resources already exist to implement or support this strategy? (Current staffing, interest among staff, general operating funds, etc.)


  2. What resources would we need to secure to implement this strategy?


    1. Staff


    2. Volunteers


    3. Training


    4. Funding


  3. Are there any resources or relationships that could help us address any of the needs above? (Board members, grant opportunities, organizational partners or collaborations, trainings, etc.)


  4. What timeline would be realistic to implement the strategy?