Serving LEP Clients Competently,
Ethically, and Uniformly
Jada B. Charley, Attorney/LEP Coordinator
South Carolina Legal Services
LEP Program-Changes in Need
• Between 2000 and 2011 the Hispanic population
in SC increased by 147.9%.
• In Greenville, the population is 8.1% Hispanic.
• 2.9% of the population, or almost 135,000 South
Carolina residents speak English “less than very
well” .
5.4% of the population in Greenville speak English “less than very well
• South Carolina currently has the fastest growing
Hispanic population in the United States.
– Data from 2010 US Census, and 2005-2009 ACS
• Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for
programs receiving federal funds to discriminate against
someone on the basis of national origin.
• National Origin discrimination includes discrimination against
people who are limited in their ability to speak, read, or write
• Executive Order 13166 says that people who are LEP
should have meaningful access to federally conducted and
federally funded programs and activities.
Background continued
• The Office of Civil Rights in 2003 released guidance to assist
federally funded programs from engaging in practices that
were discriminatory on the basis of national origin.
• This guidance specifically dealt with discrimination against
Limited English Proficient persons.
• Each federal agency provided language access guidance for
recipients of its funds (i.e. HUD, DOJ, DOT, EPA, etc.)
• This language access guidance can be found on
What is LEP and Who is a LEP
LEP means Limited English Proficient
• Individuals who do not speak English as their
primary language and who have a limited
ability to read, speak, write, or understand
English can be limited English proficient, or
• In planning for your budgets, it is important to
include a line item for language services.
How to determine what to do
• Most federal guidance requires engagement
in a 4 step process for determining what
language services need to be provided.
Number or Proportion of LEP individuals
Frequency of Contact with the Program
Nature and Importance of the Program
Resources available
Difference between Bi-lingual Staff
and Interpreters and Translators
• People who are completely bilingual are fluent in two languages. They
are able to conduct the business of the workplace in either of those
• One of the primary ways that bilingual staff can be used as part of a
broader effort to ensure meaningful access is to have them conduct
business with the agencies’ LEP clients directly in the clients’ primary
• This is sometimes called “monolingual communication in a language
other than English.” It does not involve interpretation or the translation
between languages. However, it does require fluency in the non-English
language, including fluency in agency terminology.
Difference between Bi-lingual Staff
and Interpreters and Translators cont.
• Many individuals have some proficiency in more than one language, but
are not completely bilingual.
• They may be able to greet a limited English proficient individual in his or
her language, but not conduct agency business, for instance, in that
• The distinction is critical in order to ensure meaningful communication
and appropriate allocation of resources.
• As valuable as bilingualism and ability to conduct monolingual
communication in a language other than English can be, interpretation
and translation require additional specific skills in addition to being fully
fluent in two or more languages.
Difference between Bi-lingual Staff
and Interpreters and Translators cont.
• Interpretation involves the immediate communication of meaning from
one language (the source language) into another (the target language).
• An interpreter conveys meaning orally.
• Command of at least two languages is prerequisite to any interpreting
• The interpreter must be able to
– (1) comprehend two languages as spoken and written (if the language has a
– (2) speak both of these languages, and
– (3) choose an expression in the target language that fully conveys and best
matches the meaning of the source language.
Difference between Bi-lingual Staff
and Interpreters and Translators cont.
• From the standpoint of the user, a successful interpretation
is one that faithfully and accurately conveys the meaning of
the source language orally, reflecting the style, register, and
cultural context of the source message, without omissions,
additions or embellishments on the part of the interpreter.
• Professional interpreters and translators are subject to
specific codes of conduct and should be well-trained in the
skills, ethics, and subject-matter language.
• Quality of interpretation should be a focus of concern for all
Difference between Bi-lingual Staff
and Interpreters and Translators cont.
• A translator conveys meaning from written
text to written text.
• Translation requires different skill sets and
therefore different training and testing from
Language Considerations
• Your agency may have to provide interpreters
for certain things in addition to translating
important documents (signage, materials,
• Ex. Courts, emergency management,
unemployment, police, etc.
Examples of LEP Issues Arising in
• Housing
– Failure by Housing Authority to comply with HUD’s LEP
• Education
– Failure to do special education evaluation in the language
“most likely to yield accurate results.” See 20 U.S.C. §
1414(b)(3)(A)(ii). “…evaluations must be provided and
administered in the language and form most likely to yield
accurate information on what the child knows and can do
academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless
not feasible to so provide or administer.”
More Examples
• Consumer
– Specific fraud taking place in LEP communities (immigration fraud by
notarios, contract for deed housing transactions, violations of ECOA).
• Tax
– Unauthorized worker using valid SS number of LEP person and employer
reports wages to IRS resulting in increase in tax liability for LEP person with
valid SS number
• Public Benefits
– DSS refusing food stamp benefits or refusing to accept application for food
stamp benefits to applicants with children with valid SS numbers
• Family Law
– Immigration relief available for victims of DV

LEP Program at SC Legal Services