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Improving the Usage of Language Services by the District's Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Improving the Usage of Language Services by the District's Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The Language Access Survey 2011 on limited English proficient (LEP) persons in the District of Columbia (LAS 2011) is an individual based, face-to-face survey.

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Phone: (202) 727-3120

The Language Access Survey 2011 on limited English proficient (LEP) persons in the District of Columbia (LAS 2011) is an individual based, face-to-face survey and a part of the Language Access Survey in the Language Access Program in the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.

The purposes of LAS 2011 were: to identify the effect District Agencies outreach efforts have on language services to LEP persons in the District of Columbia and to promote the DC Language Access Act of 2004. The demographics of LEPs surveyed during this first part LAS 2011 were:

  • Half of the Chinese LEPs are seniors age 61 and over; and half of the Chinese LEP seniors’ English ability is poor to very poor;
  • The majority of Chinese LEP seniors (86%) have no more than high school education; and their annual income is less than $10,000; and
  • Younger Chinese LEPs (14% of the total Chinese LEP population) have better English ability, more educational attainment and higher incomes than the older generation.
    Findings of LAS 2011 show that:
  • Over half of Chinese LEPs know the Language Access Act of 2004, but the majority of them do not seek or obtain language services from the District agencies;
  • Chinese LEPs who received language services rate such services from very helpful to helpful, and they believe telephone services are better than interpretation services provided by staff in the agency they visited;
  • The strongest motivation for Chinese LEPs to actively seek language services from the District agencies is “free”, rather than “efficiency/fast” or “offered by various channels.”

APIA recommends the following:

  • Promote the language services as “free.” This is the strongest motivation for ALL Chinese LEPs to actually use the service.
  • The telephone interpretation service seems an effective channel to provide such language services to Chinese LEPs in the District versus non-certified employees.
  • Promote the accessibility of language services more than promote the Language Access Law of 2004.

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