Documents and written materials in other languages

Changes in DHS written translation practices

Translated forms and documents

Language assistance tools

Changes in DHS written translation practices


Since 2000, DHS has been providing written translations of selected DHS documents in up to 10 languages. The department's translation work is coordinated centrally in the Business Document Management unit of the Management Services Division to help ensure the quality of translation and document design and consistency of terminology across the department's documents. In recent years the volume of translation requests has grown to exceed the capacity to process them, resulting in many outdated translations on eDocs. In order to provide accurate, updated translations, the DHS Senior Management Team recently approved recommendations from the LEP Coordination Team to restructure the translation process while maintaining the department's commitment to providing meaningful access to program information and benefits for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP).

Changes and enhancements

A recent analysis by DHS LEP staff of data on DHS program participants, combined with knowledge about effective communication with the communities we serve, led DHS to reassess its translation program. This reassessment resulted in four changes.

1. Documents will be translated in five languages only. The number of primary languages that will be considered for translation has been reduced from 10 to five.

  • • Hmong
  • • Russian
  • • Somali
  • • Spanish
  • • Vietnamese
  • The five languages that are no longer considered primary translation languages are Arabic, Khmer (Cambodian), Laotian, Oromo and Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian.

    2. The documents that will be translated and maintained are limited to those on a departmentwide preferred translation list. Documents on the translation list must meet certain criteria and the list will be reviewed annually against those criteria. An exception process is being created to consider requests to translate/maintain documents that are not on the list.

    3. Enhance DHS’ commitment to providing meaningful access for individuals with LEP by using a variety of language access tools in addition to translation:

    4. Effective May 1, 2010, only those translated documents (regardless of language and regardless of whether they are on the preferred translation list) that are current or within one version of the current English will remain on eDocs. Older documents will be removed.

    On an ongoing basis, translated documents not on the preferred translation list that become outdated and are no longer within one version of the current English will be removed from eDocs and will not be updated.


    Contact the DHS LEP coordinator or the DHS translation coordinator with questions.

    Translated forms and documents

    DHS’ eDocs database allows you to search for and download DHS forms, applications and other documents in many non-English languages. To see all of the available documents in a given language or languages, go to the Advanced Search page, select the desired language(s), leave all of the keyword fields blank and click Search.

    You can also search by document number or keywords if you are looking for a specific document or subject area. See the tips for searching eDocs for additional help.

    Language assistance tools

    “I need a language interpreter” cards (PDF)

    Also known as the “I Speak” cards, these cards say in both English and another language “I need a ________ interpreter.” The cards are available in 10 languages: Arabic, Hmong, Khmer (Cambodian), Laotian, Oromo, Russian, Serbo-Croatian (Bosnian), Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Clients may present the cards when they contact a state, county or community agency to assist with conveying their need for a language interpreter.

    “I Speak” cards can be downloaded from eDocs. DHS-4374-ENG contains all 10 languages on one page. DHS-4374 with each separate language extension (e.g., DHS-4374-SPA) contains one language per page.

    Language assistance posters (PDF)

    Also known as “free interpreter” posters, these posters can be placed in an accessible location for public viewing to let individuals with limited English proficiency know that they can ask for a free interpreter if they need one to access public information or services. The posters are available for downloading on eDocs.

    Limited English Proficiency Notice (PDF)

    This document is a notice of the public's right to free language assistance in 10 languages.

    Catalogue of languages (PDF)

    This document is a catalogue of the Notice of Rights to Language Assistance translated into 75 languages.

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