All New York City agencies, offices, and customer service centers should be able to provide free interpretation for customers who do not speak English or who are more comfortable communicating in another language.

All agencies must also translate their most commonly distributed materials into 10 designated citywide languages.

You can make a complaint about the lack of interpretation or translation at a City agency or about the quality of language access.

You can also request that a City agency or office provide additional language access services to the public.

Your case will not be hurt if you make a complaint or request.

You can make a complaint or request no matter what your immigration status is.

You are not required to leave your name, if you want to be anonymous. If you do leave your name and address, the agency will send you a letter explaining what they have done to respond to your complaint or request.

Local Law 30 went into effect in July 2017. It requires City agencies that provide direct services to the public to translate their most commonly distributed documents into ten designated citywide languages.

Those languages are:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu

It also requires that City agencies with direct public services provide over-the-phone interpretation in at least 100 languages.

You can make a request that a City agency or office provide additional language access services to the public, including translations of agency materials.

It helps if you can provide this information when 311 takes your request:

  • The name of the agency you are making the request to
  • The language you speak

Call 311 for assistance.

You can make a complaint if:

  • A City employee knew you do not speak English but did not ask if you would like an interpreter.
  • A City employee was not able to provide an interpreter either in person or on the phone to help you understand or apply for a City service or benefit.
  • You waited too long to receive interpretation services.
  • The quality of interpretation or translation was poor.

It helps if you can provide this information when 311 takes your complaint:

  • A description of the problem
  • When the problem happened
  • The agency you spoke to
  • The names of the employees you spoke to
  • The Office address you went to or the phone number you called
  • The language you speak

You cannot make a complaint about private businesses or stores that did not help you in your language.

Call 311 for assistance.

Department of Education (DOE) schools and offices can assist customers who do not speak English or who are more comfortable speaking another language.

You can make a complaint about school staff that was not able to provide an interpreter, either in person or on the phone, or translated documents. You can also make a request for additional language services.

You can make a complaint no matter what your immigration status is. Your child’s status at the school will not be affected.

Use the School Document Translation page to request to translate DOE documents.

Call 311 for assistance.