The City of Durham is committed to advancing language access and ensuring meaningful access to city services, programs, information, and activities to Durham residents who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) or who don't speak English.
What is Language Access?
Language access ensures all LEP individuals have reasonable and equitable access to City services and resources as English-speaking individuals. Limited English Proficient (LEP) speakers are referred to by the U.S. Census and American Community Survey as individuals who speak English less than “very well” – or have the limited ability to speak, read, write or understand English.
Through the City’s Language Access Plan, residents can:
|Request interpretation and translation services free of charge when engaging with City services, activities, or programs.|
|Receive translation or a translation notice of vital documents and emergency communications in the City’s largest identified LEP language, which is Spanish. Translation in other languages can be made upon request.|
|Know City staff and employees will receive education on the diverse cultures represented in our communities and training on how to properly interact and serve non-English speaking residents.|
Submit complaints of discrimination on the basis of LEP status or on the failure to adequately provide services in accordance with the City’s Language Access Plan Policy.
Requesting an Interpreter
View the tabs below for details on how to request an interpreter.
- When visiting City facilities
- When on the phone with staff
- When attending a City event/program or a City Council meeting
At several of our public-facing City facilities, you will now see signs to let visitors know that free interpretation services are available—all you need to do is ask a staff member.
Several of our public-facing City departments have access to a language line to access an interpreter over the phone. When on the phone with staff, inform them of the language you speak and that an interpreter is needed.
When attending a City event/program either virtually or in person, please contact organizers at least 48 hours in advance to ensure an interpreter is present.
For interpretation assistance at a City Council Meeting or Work Session, please email the request and meeting date to [email protected]. This notification must be sent at least ten calendar days in advance.
Why IS THE CITY OF DURHAM INCREASing LANGUAGE ACCESS?
The City of Durham recognizes that its residents speak a variety of languages. As part of the City’s commitment to effectively communicate with all members of the public, it is working to reduce the communication gap for residents who speak a language other than English through its Language Access Plan (LAP). The City created and adopted this plan in 2019 to better serve the community and advance language access efforts that make the City a more welcoming and inclusive place to live, work, and play for all.
The LAP also serves as a tool to ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance, including a local government and its departments, from discriminating based on race, color, or national origin in the provision of any program or activity. The federal government interprets discrimination based upon national origin to include failure to ensure LEP individuals can effectively participate in, or benefit from, federally assisted programs. Residents can be assured the City is committed to supporting their language access rights by setting policies and procedures in place that’ll help them engage and participate in local government.