Metaphrasis Language and Cultural Solutions LLC recently announced
that it is providing education, training, assistance, and compliance services for organizations covered under Title VI and other federal language and accessibility mandates in the U.S. The new offering, called "Keeping it Legal - Language and Accessibility Compliance Services," supplies guidance on what organizations must do to comply with federal language access requirements, along with the requisite language services.
Metaphrasis is partnering with a top name in the compliance field: Bruce Adelson, former Senior Attorney with enforcement authority for Title VI at the U.S. Department of Justice (Disclaimer: Common Sense Advisory previously teamed up with Adelson to write this brief
). Title VI
, part of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by organizations that receive any type of financial support from the U.S. government. It applies to all levels of government, educational and health care providers, as well as any private entity that receives federal assistance - no matter how large or small the amount.
"National origin" has historically been equated with a person's ability to speak, write, and understand English. For those with limited English proficiency (LEP), Title VI is meant to ensure that any recipient of federal funds communicates - iin writing and verbally - so that these individuals can understand the information well enough to act on it. The types of communication covered include printed materials for items such as election ballots, conversations during hospital emergency room visits, voice-activated response systems for school switchboards, and every other type of communication that fluent speakers of English can access.
We have described before the risks of non-compliance, especially since the Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Obama has made it a higher priority to enforce Title VI
. Health care providers are under even more pressure now that healthcare reform
has been passed and upheld by the highest U.S. court. And even bankers and other financial services providers have found themselves under the watchful eye of the DOJ as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This is all fine and good, but how are government institutions and private companies supposed to educate themselves on the best ways to comply with all of the federal, state, and local regulations related to effective language accessibility? A search for "LEP accessibility" and "LEP accessibility consulting" yields only page after page of links to bits and pieces of various federal and state agency LEP documents and programs. The U.S. government has attempted to provide resources to make compliance issues clearer (see www.lep.gov
). However, it takes a lot of time to sift through all of this information. At the end of it all, organizations must still figure out what they specifically need to do.
What can other LSPs learn from this new offering?