FAQ - Language Access for Non-English Speaking New Yorkers

Frequently Asked Questions
Have a Question About Language Access at DOL?
How do I contact DOL for a question about Language Access?

For more information on Language Access services at the Department of Labor, you can contact the DOL’s Language Access Coordinator at:

Attention: Language Access Coordinator, Eric Denk
New York State Department of Labor
Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs
W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus
Building 12, Room 570, Albany, NY 12240
Office Phone:  607-778-2836
Mobile Phone:  607-205-5491
TDD/TTY:  800-662-1220
Fax:  212-775-3389
Email:  [email protected]

What is the difference between interpretation and 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
  • notices advising LEP individuals of free language assistance services.
What are the languages into which agencies will translate vital documents?

According to state law, vital documents must be provided in the 12 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, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Yiddish are the 12 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 those 12 languages. Some printed materials are available in other languages.

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. 

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.”

Language Identification Tool posters: