Language Access Service provision at OPWDD

NYS Language Access Law directs New York state agencies that provide direct public services -- like OPWDD -- to translate vital documents, including such items as forms, letters and instructions. The translations will be in the six most common non-English languages, as determined by the U.S. Census, which are: Bengali, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, and Spanish. OPWDD has also determined Urdu and Yiddish to be vital languages for the people we support and serve. However, OPWDD will provide language access services in any language required.

NYS Language Access Law also requires OPWDD to provide interpretation services between the agency and a person in his or her primary language, with respect to the provision of services or benefits.

The purpose of the NYS Language Access Law is to ensure equal access to New York state agency supports and services, programs, and activities in a nondiscriminatory basis.

People who do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, write or understand English may be considered limited-English proficient or LEP.

You have the right to refuse language access services. If you do so, you may be asked to fill out the Waiver of Right to Free Interpretation Services.
OPWDD's Language Access Plan identifies how we will ensure that meaningful access will be available to people who are LEP. The Plan outlines the tasks to be taken, establishes deadlines by which actions will be taken, identifies responsible personnel and establishes priorities. OPWDD's Language Access Plan is updated every two years.

Each agency’s Language Access Coordinator has ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the NYS Language Access Law. At OPWDD, that person is Nicole Weinstein, Statewide Language Access Coordinator.

What is the difference between “interpretation” and “translation”?
“Interpretation” involves the immediate communication of meaning from one language to the other. An interpreter conveys meaning, orally, while a translator conveys meaning from written text to written text. As a result, interpretation requires skills that are different from those needed for translation. 
Translation is the written word.

If I requested and was not provided with language access services by OPWDD, what can I do?
You can do one of two things: