Two people seated at a computer speaking through a headset.

Your Language Access Rights in New York State

New York State Language Access Law

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ASL Interpretation of Language Access Rights Brochure

New Yorkers speak more than 800 languages. To make sure all New Yorkers can access government services and benefits— no matter how well you communicate in English— Governor Kathy Hochul signed New York State’s language access policy into law and created the state’s Office of Language Access. The Office of Language Access, within the Office of General Services, is responsible for ensuring that New York State agencies covered under this law implement it efficiently and effectively.


Under the law, New York State agencies that provide services or benefits to the public must:

  1. Offer interpretation services to the person receiving services or benefits in their primary language, including American Sign Language (ASL).
  2. Translate vital documents related to their services or benefits into the top 12 languages spoken by New Yorkers who don’t speak English very well. Agencies may also choose to translate their vital documents into up to four more languages based on criteria detailed in the language access law.
  3. Choose a Language Access Coordinator who will work with the Office of Language Access to make sure their agency is following the language access law.
  4. Post their Language Access Plan on their agency’s website and update it every two years.


The Office of Language Access publishes a report about these services every year. Visit for more information about the Office of Language Access, the agencies covered under the language access law and to submit feedback about your experience receiving language access services.

There are 2.5 million New Yorkers who don’t speak English very well. These are the top twelve languages most commonly spoken in New York, besides English:

  • Arabic 
  • Bangla
  • Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin)
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu
  • Yiddish


Did you know?

American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language of many people in the United States and Canada. While ASL is the sign language most commonly signed by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the United States, it is not universal. There are many varieties of sign language used in different regions, like British Sign Language, French Sign Language or Chinese Sign Language. Sign languages can have a very different structure than spoken languages. Just like anyone who learns English as a second language, ASL users may find it difficult to communicate in English and have the right to an interpreter when seeking services or benefits from New York State agencies covered under the language access law.

For more information from the New York State Office of the Chief Disability Officer, please visit the Office of the Chief Disability Officer website.


How to Use Your “I Speak” Card

You can use the "I Speak" card to identify your preferred language. You can carry your card with you and show it to staff at any New York State agency covered under the language access law, when requesting their services or benefits. This will help agency staff understand how to get the right interpreter for you. You can also download the card to your phone—just follow the steps below.

  1. Download the card to your phone
  2. Check your language from the list, or type it in if you don't see it.
  3. Click on the icon on the top right corner to save it in your phone.
  4. Open the card and show it to staff whenever you visit a State agency to get their services or benefits.


Download the Your Language Access Rights Brochure

The Your Language Access Rights in New York State brochure is available in the following languages:


Të drejtat tuaja për akses gjuhësor

حقوق المساعدة اللغوية المقدمة لك

আপনার ভাষা অ্যাক্সেসের অধিকার

သင်၏ဘာသာစကားပိုင်းဆိုင်ရာ ရယူအသုံးပြုပိုင်ခွင့်များ

Your Language Access Rights

Vos droits en matière d’accès linguistique

Τα δικαιώματά σας στη γλωσσική πρόσβαση

Dwa W pou Gen Aksè ak Lang

भाषाकीय पहुँच के आपके अधिकार

I vostri diritti di accesso linguistico


언어 접근성에 관한 권리

तपाईंका भाषिक पहुँचसम्बन्धी अधिकारहरू

ستاسو د ژبې د لاسرسي حق

Twoje prawa do usług językowych

Seus direitos de acesso linguístico

Ваши права в отношении языкового доступа


Sus derechos de acceso lingüístico

Ang Iyong Mga Karapatan ng Pag-access sa Wika


Ваші права на мовний доступ

لسانی رسائی کے آپ کے حقوق

Quyền tiếp cận ngôn ngữ của quý vị

אייער שפראך צוטריט רעכטן

Àwọn Ẹ̀tọ́ Rẹ sí síṣe àmúlò Èdè