Language Access Philly

Ensuring that all people can access City services in their language.

What we do

The City of Philadelphia is committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of language, have access to City services and information.

In 2015, Philadelphians voted to amend the Home Rule Charter to require all City agencies to provide language access services.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs manages Language Access Philly, the City’s language access program that oversees language access policies and language services. 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 considered limited English proficient, or "LEP." Language Access Philly ensures that City departments can communicate with people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

In addition to bilingual staff, language access services offered by the City may include:

  • Interpretation over the phone.
  • Interpretation in person.
  • Translation of documents.

By providing interpretation and translation, Language Access Philly helps improve communication between Philadelphians and City government.

Connect

Email OIA@phila.gov

Process

Every department must provide services in other languages when needed and requested by a resident.

The way departments serve LEP individuals is outlined in their language access plans. These services are provided free of cost to the person seeking service.

For general information about City government services, please dial 311 and request an interpreter.

For emergencies, dial 911 and request an interpreter. Tell the operator your location and the language you need. Do not hang up while waiting for an interpreter.

Eligibility

Everyone has a right to access all City services and information in their language, regardless of residency or citizen status. This also includes visitors and tourists.

Language Access grievance form

If you believe you have been wrongly denied language assistance services when trying to obtain city services, you have the right to file a complaint.


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