Language Access Resources

Community Language Needs

About one-third of Travis County residents (32%) speak a language other than English at home and 12% speak English less than “very well”, according to 5-year American Community Survey data. In 25% of Spanish-speaking households and 21% of households speaking Asian languages, no one over the age of 14 speaks English very well. Since 2000, the number of residents over the age of 5 who speak English less than “very well” has grown by 41%, compared to 35% growth in the total population over 5 years old.

As a result of previous Work Plan initiatives, CAN conducted a language access survey in January 2015, receiving 121 responses. The survey assessed current language needs and translation/interpretation practices in public agencies and non-profit organizations in the Greater Austin Area. To access a copy of the Language Survey results, click here.

Purpose of Language Access Work Group

Community Advancement Network (CAN) staff will convene an ongoing work group consisting of staff from CAN partner agencies and other interested public and private organizations. Work Group members will share best practices and develop shared community standards to increase the quality and availability of translation and interpretation services in the Greater Austin area. Work Group will meet 6 times per year; each meeting will be focused around a particular topic, with continuation if necessary. Work Group members will share best practices (locally and from other communities) and develop collaborative community solutions for:

  • Regular assessment of language needs in order to meet the needs of clients and comply with federal laws;
  • Creating organizational language access plans
  • Training and testing requirements translators and interpreters, including language proficiency levels and professional standards, including ethical and confidentiality standards
  • Planning for language-inclusive events and services
  • Cross-department and cross-agency standards for contracting for interpreter and translator services
  • Resources for connecting with trained and qualified interpreters and translators
  • Resources for utilizing bilingual volunteers