You have the right to be treated the same as English-speaking individuals when you visit a government office – this means that you should not suffer long delays in waiting for interpreter services and you should not be treated disrespectfully.
At Welfare, Medicaid and Food Stamp offices, you have the right to interpreter services in any language. If you speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Arabic or Korean, you have the right to receive translated forms and documents in your language.
You have the right to an interpreter when you appear in court. You should not have to wait very long for an interpreter. If you were denied an interpreter or if the services you received were unsatisfactory, you can file a complaint by contacting the Office of Court Interpreting Services at (646) 386-5670 or email@example.com
You have the right to an interpreter when you go to a hospital, whether you are in the emergency room or just seeing a doctor. In many cases you also have the right to receive forms in your language from your hospital.
If your child is in public school and you speak Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish or Urdu, you have the right to an interpreter when you interact with your child’s school, attend citywide meetings or otherwise contact the school system. You also have the right to receive most important documents in your own language.&
If you cannot communicate with a government agency, ask for an interpreter. Document the response you get.
Last Reviewed: October 30, 2011