enhancing access for individuals with limited english profiency toolkit

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Safety Alert: If you believe your computer activities are being monitored, please access this site from a safer computer. To immediately exit this site, click the escape button. If you are in immediate danger, contact 911, a local crisis line, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Which Languages are Spoken in Our Community?

Identify the most commonly spoken languages in the area that you serve in order to help define your plan to meet those language needs. 

One comprehensive and easy-to-use resource is the Modern Language Association’s MLA Language Map Data Center. You can tailor your search for the languages spoken in your program’s community by county, subdivision (district, township, etc.), city, and zip code. The results are ranked by the size of the population that speaks the language. The MLA’s data source is the US Census Bureau, which has organized its Language Use data.

You may prefer to use this research as an opportunity to build or strengthen relationships in your community. Ask your partners what languages are being spoken and how they are providing language access, and discuss your program’s plans to increase its own language accessibility. Groups that receive federal funding should have their own Language Access Plans, ask for a copy. Some groups to contact include:

  • Local government and administration, such as town or city halls, courts, school districts, and departments of health.
  • Service providers, such as area hospitals and health clinics.
  • Educational institutions, such as local universities, community colleges, elementary and high schools.
  • Community groups, such as faith groups, merchants and business associations, and community-based organizations.

List the languages spoken in your community, ranked by the size of the population that speaks each language, on the Language Access Plan Template, Section 1B: Language Access Needs.