[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 239 (Wednesday, December 14, 2005)]
[Pages 74087-74100]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-23972]



Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. OST-2001-8696]

Policy Guidance Concerning Recipients' Responsibilities to 
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Persons

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary (OST), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of guidance with request for comments.


SUMMARY: The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is 
publishing guidance concerning services and policies by recipients of 
Federal financial assistance from the Department of Transportation 
related to persons with limited English proficiency. The guidance is 
based on the prohibition against national origin discrimination in 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as it affects limited English 
proficient persons.

DATES: This guidance is effective immediately. Comments must be 
received on or before January 13, 2006. Late-filed comments will be 
considered to the extent practicable. DOT will review all comments and 
will determine what modifications to the guidance, if any, are 
necessary. This guidance supplants existing guidance on the same 
subject originally published at 66 FR 6733 (January 22, 2001).

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the docket number 
[OST-2001-8696], by any of the following methods:
     Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for 
submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management System; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: To the Docket Management System; Room PL-
401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket number 
[OST-2001-8696] or the Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this 
notice at the beginning of your comment. Note that all comments 
received will be posted without change to http://dms.dot.gov, including 
any personal information provided.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the 
DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published 
on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may 
visit http://dms.dot.gov.
    Docket: You may view the public docket through the Internet at 
http://dms.dot.gov or in person at the Docket Management System office 
at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph Austin, Chief, External Policy 
and Program Development Division, Departmental Office of Civil Rights, 
Telephone: (202) 366-5992, TTY: (202) 366-9696, E-mail: 
[email protected]; or Bonnie Angermann, Attorney-Advisor, Office of 
General Law, Office of the General Counsel, Telephone: (202) 366-9166, 
E-mail: [email protected]. Arrangements to receive the policy 
guidance in an alternative format may be made by contacting the named 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 
U.S.C. 2000d, et seq., and its implementing regulations provide that no 
person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, 
color, or national origin under any program or activity that receives 
Federal financial assistance. The purpose of this limited English 
proficiency policy guidance is to clarify the responsibilities of 
recipients of Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT) (``recipients''), and assist them in fulfilling 
their responsibilities to limited English proficient (LEP) persons, 
pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and implementing 
    Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to Services for Persons 
With Limited English Proficiency,'' reprinted at 65 FR 50121 (August 
16, 2000), directs each Federal agency that is subject to the 
requirements of Title VI to publish guidance for its respective 
recipients clarifying that obligation.

[[Page 74088]]

Executive Order 13166 further directs that all such guidance documents 
be consistent with the compliance standards and framework detailed in 
the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Policy Guidance entitled 
``Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--National 
Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English 
Proficiency.'' See 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 2000) (DOJ's General LEP 
    DOT published its initial guidance regarding its recipients' 
obligations to take reasonable steps to ensure access by LEP persons on 
January 22, 2001, and requested public comment on the guidance. See 66 
FR 6733. DOT received 21 comments in response to its January 22, 2001, 
policy guidance. The comments reflected the views of individuals, 
organizations serving LEP populations, organizations favoring the use 
of the English language, and recipient agencies. While many comments 
identified areas for improvement and/or revision, the majority of the 
comments on the DOT LEP Guidance expressed agreement with its overall 
goal of ensuring access of LEP individuals to recipients' services. DOT 
worked closely with DOJ to ensure that recipients' comments were 
addressed in a consistent fashion.
    In the order most often raised, the common areas of comment 
regarded: cost considerations, especially for smaller recipients 
serving few LEP persons; increased litigation risk and liability for 
recipients as a result of the guidance; and use of interpreters and the 
definition of ``qualified interpreter.''
    A large number of comments focused on cost considerations and 
suggested that the Department address them as part of its evaluation of 
the language assistance needs of LEP persons. Particularly, this 
concern was expressed by state agencies that at the time received Coast 
Guard grants to administer safe boating courses.\1\ But this policy 
guidance does not require DOT recipients to translate all courses or 
materials in every circumstance or to take unreasonable or burdensome 
steps in providing LEP persons access. We have clarified the guidance 
to better convey its flexibility, based on the four-factor analysis set 
forth in DOJ's General LEP Guidance.

    \1\ This guidance does not address the extent to which Executive 
Order 13166 requires language access services in the provision of 
boating safety courses funded by the Coast Guard, because that 
agency is no longer a component of the Department of Transportation.

    Several recipients commented that they serve few if any LEP persons 
and that the cost of interpreting all of their courses and materials 
would be excessive and unnecessary. While none urged that costs be 
excluded from consideration altogether, at least one comment expressed 
concern that a recipient could use cost as a basis for avoiding 
otherwise reasonable and necessary language assistance to LEP persons. 
In contrast, a few comments suggested that the flexible fact-dependent 
compliance standard set forth in the guidance, when combined with the 
desire of most recipients to avoid the risk of noncompliance, could 
lead some large recipients to incur unnecessary or inappropriate fiscal 
burdens in the face of already strained program budgets. The Department 
is mindful that cost considerations could be inappropriately used to 
avoid providing otherwise reasonable and necessary language assistance. 
Similarly, cost considerations could be ignored or minimized to justify 
the provision of a particular level or type of language service even 
though effective alternatives exist at a minimal cost. The Department 
also is aware of the possibility that satisfying the need for language 
services might be quite costly for certain types of recipients, 
particularly if they have not updated their programs and activities to 
the changing needs of the populations they serve.
    The potential for some recipients to assert adverse cost impacts in 
order to avoid Title VI obligations does not, in the Department's view, 
justify eliminating cost as a factor in all cases when determining the 
necessary scope of reasonable language assistance services under DOT's 
guidance. The Department continues to believe that costs are a 
legitimate consideration in identifying the reasonableness of 
particular language assistance measures, and the DOJ Recipient LEP 
Guidance identifies the appropriate framework through which costs are 
to be considered. See Department of Justice Final Guidance to Federal 
Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against 
National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient 
Persons, 67 FR 41455 (June 18, 2002).
    The second most common category of comments DOT received expressed 
concern over increased litigation risk and liability for recipients as 
a result of the LEP Guidance. As is addressed below in the 
Introduction, Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), holds 
principally that there is no private right of action to enforce Title 
VI disparate impact regulations. The LEP Guidance is based on Title VI 
and DOT's Title VI regulations at 49 CFR part 21 and does not provide 
any private right of action beyond that which exists in those laws. 
Thus, the LEP Guidance does not increase the risk of recipients' legal 
liability to private plaintiffs. However, the Department does not 
dismiss the possibility that individuals may continue to initiate such 
legal actions.
    The third most numerous category of comments DOT received regarded 
the definition of ``qualified interpreter'' and expressed commentators' 
concern with recipients' responsibility to make interpreters available, 
especially for recipients who serve populations with extremely diverse 
language needs. Set forth below in section VI are practices to help 
recipients ascertain that their interpreters are both competent and 
effective. This section should enable recipients to assess the 
qualifications of the interpreters they use and identify any 
improvements that need to be addressed.
    Three of the comments urged withdrawal of the guidance, arguing it 
is unsupported by law. In response, the Department notes that its 
commitment to implementing Title VI and its regulations to address 
language barriers is longstanding and is unaffected by recent judicial 
action precluding individuals from successfully maintaining suits to 
enforce agencies' Title VI disparate impact regulations. This guidance 
clarifies existing statutory and regulatory provisions by describing 
the factors recipients should consider in fulfilling their 
responsibilities to LEP persons.
    The remaining 18 comments were generally supportive of the guidance 
and DOT's leadership in this area. One recipient commented that 
constraining LEP persons' access to services may actually hinder their 
ability to become more proficient in the English language, therefore 
justifying increased programs for LEP persons. Several comments 
received addressed areas unique to the provision of transportation 
services to LEP persons. One recipient discussed the inconsistency 
between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA's) 
regulations requiring all drivers to speak and understand a certain 
amount of English, and the guidance's requirement that the FMCSA 
division offices provide information and services in other languages to 
accommodate LEP persons. Pursuant to 49 CFR 391.11(b)(2), a person is 
qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he or she ``[c]an read and speak 
the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, 
to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English 
language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on 
reports and records.'' In 1997, following an

[[Page 74089]]

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) legal challenge to this 
requirement, DOT issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
(ANPRM) to address this issue. On July 24, 2003, FMCSA withdrew this 
ANPRM, concluding that the information introduced in response to the 
notice ``does not establish that the current regulation requires an 
unnecessarily high level of English fluency that has resulted in a 
discriminatory impact or effect based upon national origin, color, or 
ethnicity.'' FMCSA determined the regulation ``as written and properly 
enforced effectively balances issues of civil rights and highway 
safety.'' 68 FR 43890.
    Another recipient, who works with community-based organizations 
concerned with transportation practices and policies, suggested 
mandatory LEP Access Assessments be attached to the standard financial 
assistance Assurance Forms that recipients must execute, to serve as a 
basis for disqualifying recipients submitting inaccurate or 
substantially incomplete assessments from Federal grant funding. While 
providing LEP persons with meaningful access is the law and should be 
given high priority, DOT advocates a flexible approach in ensuring such 
access, as outlined below in section V, in order to suit the varying 
needs of its recipients, and therefore has not adopted this suggestion. 
As discussed in section VIII, DOT seeks to promote voluntary compliance 
to meet Title VI's goal of ensuring that Federal funds are not used in 
a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, color, or national 
origin. DOT will work with recipients to meet this goal, and will 
resort to more intrusive administrative remedies only if voluntary 
compliance cannot be secured and stronger measures become necessary to 
ensure LEP persons have meaningful access to services from recipients 
of DOT financial assistance.
    This document has been modified based on careful consideration of 
public comments received by DOT, and the approach DOJ adopted after 
analyzing the public comments it received following its initial 
guidance published at 66 FR 3834 (January 16, 2001). This guidance is 
consistent with: Title VI, implementing regulations, Executive Order 
13166, the DOJ General LEP Guidance, and the model DOJ Recipient 
Guidance issued on June 18, 2002.
    With particular emphasis on the concerns mentioned above, the 
Department proposes this ``Limited English Proficiency Guidance for 
Department of Transportation Recipients.'' The text of this guidance 
document appears below.
    Because this guidance must adhere to the Federal-wide compliance 
standards and framework detailed in the model DOJ Recipient Guidance 
issued on June 18, 2002, DOT specifically solicits comments on the 
nature, scope, and appropriateness of the DOT-specific examples set out 
in this guidance explaining and/or highlighting how those consistent 
Federal-wide compliance standards are applicable to recipients of 
Federal financial assistance from DOT. This guidance supplants the 
existing guidance on the same subject published at 66 FR 6733 (January 
22, 2001). This guidance does not constitute a regulation subject to 
the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 
U.S.C. 553.

    Dated: December 7, 2005.
J. Michael Trujillo,
Director, Departmental Office of Civil Rights.

Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI 
Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited 
English Proficient Persons

I. Introduction

    Most individuals living in the United States read, write, speak, 
and understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom 
English is not their primary language. For instance, based on the 2000 
census, regarding individuals older than age 5, over 26 million 
individuals speak Spanish and almost 7 million individuals speak an 
Asian or Pacific Island language at home. If these individuals have a 
limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English, they are 
limited English proficient, or ``LEP.''
    In a 2001 Supplementary Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, \2\ 33% 
of Spanish speakers and 22.4% of all Asian and Pacific Island language 
speakers aged 18-64 reported that they spoke English either ``not 
well'' or ``not at all.''

    \2\ PO35. Age by Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak 
English for the Population 5 Years and Over. Cens. Summ. File 3, 
2001 Supp. Survey Summ. Tables (SF 3) (based on 12 monthly samples 
during 2001) Washington: U.S. Dep't of Comm., Bur. of the Census. 
Viewed 14 September 2004, available at: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=D&-ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-mt_name=DSS_2001_EST_G2000_P035.

    Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to accessing 
important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important 
rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding 
other information provided by federally funded programs and activities. 
The Federal Government funds an array of services that can be made 
meaningfully accessible to otherwise eligible LEP persons. The Federal 
Government is committed to improving the accessibility of these 
programs and activities to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces 
its equally important commitment to promoting programs and activities 
designed to help individuals learn English. Recipients of Federal 
financial assistance have an obligation to reduce language barriers 
that can preclude meaningful access by LEP persons to important 
government services.\3\

    \3\ DOT recognizes that many recipients had language assistance 
programs in place prior to the issuance of Executive Order 13166. 
This policy guidance provides a uniform framework for a recipient to 
integrate, formalize, and assess the continued vitality of these 
existing and possibly additional reasonable efforts based on the 
nature of its programs and activities, the current needs of the LEP 
populations it encounters, and its prior experience in providing 
language services in the community it serves.

    In certain circumstances, failure to ensure that LEP persons can 
effectively participate in or benefit from federally assisted programs 
and activities may violate the prohibition under Title VI of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, and Title VI regulations against 
national origin discrimination. The purpose of this policy guidance is 
to assist recipients in fulfilling their responsibilities to provide 
meaningful access to LEP persons under existing law. This guidance 
clarifies existing legal requirements for LEP persons by describing the 
factors recipients should consider in fulfilling their responsibilities 
to LEP persons.\4\ These are the same criteria DOT will use in 
evaluating whether recipients are complying with Title VI and Title VI 

    \4\ This policy guidance is not a regulation but rather a guide. 
Title VI and its implementing regulations require that recipients 
take responsible steps to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons. 
Recipients should use the guidance to determine how best to comply 
with statutory and regulatory obligations to provide meaningful 
access to the benefits, services, information, and other important 
portions of their programs and activities for individuals who are 

    Executive Order 13166 charges DOJ with the responsibility for 
providing LEP Guidance to other Federal agencies, such as DOT, and for 
ensuring consistency among each agency-specific guidance. Consistency 
among Federal Government agencies is particularly important. 
Inconsistent or contradictory guidance could confuse recipients of 
Federal funds and needlessly increase costs without facilitating the 
meaningful access for LEP persons that this policy guidance is designed 
to address. As with most government initiatives, this requires 
balancing several principles.

[[Page 74090]]

While this guidance discusses that balance in some detail, it is 
important to note the basic principles behind that balance. First, we 
must ensure that federally assisted programs and activities aimed at 
the American public do not leave individuals behind simply because they 
face challenges communicating in English. This is of particular 
importance because, in many cases, LEP individuals form a substantial 
portion of those who particularly benefit from federally assisted 
programs and activities. Second, we must achieve this goal while 
finding constructive methods to reduce the costs of LEP requirements on 
small businesses, small local governments, or small nonprofit 
organizations that receive Federal financial assistance. There are many 
productive steps that the Federal Government, either collectively or as 
individual agencies, can take to help recipients reduce the costs of 
language services without sacrificing meaningful access for LEP 
persons. Without these steps, certain smaller recipients may choose not 
to participate in federally assisted programs or activities, 
threatening the critical functions that the programs or activities 
strive to assist. To that end, DOT plans to continue to work with DOJ 
and other Federal agencies to provide ongoing assistance and guidance 
in this important area. In addition, DOT plans to work with recipients 
of Federal financial assistance--for example, with motor vehicle 
departments, transit authorities, state departments of transportation, 
and other transportation service providers--and LEP persons, to 
identify and share model plans, examples of best practices, and cost-
saving approaches. Moreover, DOT intends to explore how language 
assistance measures and cost-containment approaches developed with 
respect to its own federally conducted programs and activities can be 
effectively shared or otherwise made available to recipients, 
particularly small businesses, small local governments, and small 
nonprofit organizations. An interagency working group on LEP has 
developed a Web site, http://www.lep.gov, to assist in disseminating 
this information to recipients, Federal agencies, and the communities 
being served.
    Many commentators have noted that some have interpreted the case of 
Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), as impliedly striking down 
the regulations promulgated under Title VI that form the basis for the 
part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally assisted 
programs and activities. We have taken the position that this is not 
the case, and will continue to do so. Accordingly, we will strive to 
ensure that federally assisted programs and activities work in a way 
that is effective for all eligible beneficiaries, including those with 
limited English proficiency.

II. Legal Authority

    Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 
2000d, provides that no person shall ``on the ground of race, color, or 
national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the 
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or 
activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'' Section 602 
authorizes and directs Federal agencies that are empowered to extend 
Federal financial assistance to any program or activity ``to effectuate 
the provisions of [section 601] * * * by issuing rules, regulations, or 
orders of general applicability.'' 42 U.S.C. 2000d-1.
    Department of Justice regulations promulgated pursuant to section 
602 forbid recipients from ``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of 
administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to 
discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or 
have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment 
of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a 
particular race, color, or national origin.'' 28 CFR 42.104(b)(2). 
DOT's Title VI regulations include almost identical language in this 
regard. See 49 CFR 21.5(b)(vii)(2) (portions of these regulations are 
provided in Appendix A).
    The Supreme Court, in Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), 
interpreted regulations promulgated by the former Department of Health, 
Education, and Welfare, including a regulation similar to that of DOJ, 
45 CFR 80.3(b)(2), to hold that Title VI prohibits conduct that has a 
disproportionate effect on LEP persons because such conduct constitutes 
national origin discrimination. In Lau, a San Francisco school district 
that had a significant number of non-English-speaking students of 
Chinese origin was required to take reasonable steps to provide them 
with a meaningful opportunity to participate in federally funded 
educational programs.
    On August 11, 2000, Executive Order 13166 was issued. ``Improving 
Access to Services for Persons With Limited English Proficiency,'' 65 
FR 50121 (August 16, 2000). Under that order, every Federal agency that 
provides financial assistance to non-Federal entities must publish 
guidance on how its recipients can provide meaningful access to LEP 
persons and thus comply with Title VI regulations forbidding recipients 
from ``restrict[ing] an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any 
advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, 
financial aid, or other benefit under the program'' or from 
``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of administration which have the 
effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their 
race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or 
substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program 
as respects individuals of a particular race, color, or national 
    On that same day, DOJ issued a general guidance document addressed 
to ``Executive Agency Civil Rights Officers'' setting forth general 
principles for agencies to apply in developing guidance documents for 
recipients pursuant to the Executive Order. ``Enforcement of Title VI 
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--National Origin Discrimination Against 
Persons With Limited English Proficiency,'' 65 FR 50123 (August 16, 
2000) (DOJ's General LEP Guidance).
    Subsequently, Federal agencies raised questions regarding the 
requirements of the Executive Order, especially in light of the Supreme 
Court's decision in Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001). On 
October 26, 2001, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights 
issued a memorandum for ``Heads of Departments and Agencies, General 
Counsels and Civil Rights Directors.'' This memorandum clarified and 
reaffirmed the DOJ LEP Guidance in light of Sandoval. The Assistant 
Attorney General stated that because Sandoval did not invalidate any 
Title VI regulations that proscribe conduct that has a disparate impact 
on covered groups--the types of regulations that form the legal basis 
for the part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally 
assisted programs and activities--the Executive Order remains in 

    \5\ The memorandum noted that some commentators have interpreted 
Sandoval as impliedly striking down the disparate impact regulations 
promulgated under Title VI that form the basis for the part of 
Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally assisted programs 
and activities. See, e.g., Sandoval, 532 U.S. at 286, 286 n.6 
(``[W]e assume for purposes of this decision that section 602 
confers the authority to promulgate disparate-impact regulations; * 
* * We cannot help observing, however, how strange it is to say that 
disparate-impact regulations are `inspired by, at the service of, 
and inseparably intertwined with' Sec. 601 * * * when Sec. 601 
permits the very behavior that the regulations forbid''). The 
memorandum, however, made clear that DOJ disagreed with the 
commentators' interpretation. Sandoval holds principally that there 
is no private right of action to enforce Title VI disparate impact 
regulations. It did not address the validity of those regulations or 
Executive Order 13166 or otherwise limit the authority and 
responsibility of Federal agencies to enforce their own Title VI 


[[Page 74091]]

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, DOT developed its own guidance 
document for recipients and initially issued it on January 22, 2001. 
``DOT Guidance to Recipients on Special Language Services to Limited 
English Proficient (LEP) Beneficiaries.'' However, in light of the 
public comments received and the Assistant Attorney General's October 
26, 2001, clarifying memorandum, DOT has revised its LEP guidance to 
ensure greater consistency with DOJ's revised LEP guidance, published 
June 18, 2002, and other agencies' revised LEP guidance. 67 FR 117 
(June 18, 2002).

III. Who Is Covered?

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the meaningful access 
requirement of Title VI, the Title VI regulations, and the four-factor 
analysis set forth in the DOJ's revised LEP Guidance, 67 FR 117 (June 
18, 2002), apply to the programs and activities of Federal agencies, 
including DOT. Federal financial assistance includes grants, 
cooperative agreements, training, use of equipment, donations of 
surplus property, and other assistance. Recipients of DOT assistance 
include, for example:
     State departments of transportation.
     State motor vehicle administrations.
     Airport operators.
     State highway safety programs.
     Metropolitan planning organizations.
     Regional transportation agencies.
     Regional, state, and local transit operators.
     Public safety agencies.\6\

    \6\ Recipients should review DOJ's LEP Guidance for specific 
examples of how the four-factor analysis applies to interactions 
between funded law enforcement authorities and first responders.

     Hazardous materials transporters and other first 
     State and local agencies with emergency transportation 
responsibilities, for example, the transportation of supplies for 
natural disasters, planning for evacuations, quarantines, and other 
similar action.
    Subrecipients likewise are covered when Federal funds are passed 
through from one recipient to a subrecipient.
    Coverage extends to a recipient's entire program or activity, i.e., 
to all parts of a recipient's operations. This is true even if only one 
part of the recipient receives the Federal assistance.
    Example: DOT provides assistance to a state department of 
transportation to rehabilitate a particular highway on the National 
Highway System. All of the operations of the entire state department of 
transportation--not just the particular highway program--are covered by 
the DOT guidance.
    Finally, some recipients operate in jurisdictions in which English 
has been declared the official language. Nonetheless, these recipients 
continue to be subject to Federal nondiscrimination requirements, 
including those applicable to the provision of federally assisted 
services to persons with limited English proficiency.

IV. Who Is a Limited English Proficient Individual?

    Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and 
who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English 
can be limited English proficient, or ``LEP,'' and, therefore, are 
entitled to language assistance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 
of 1964 with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or 
encounter. However, if a Federal agency were to decide to terminate 
Federal funds based on noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations, 
only funds directed to the particular program or activity that is out 
of compliance would be terminated. 42 U.S.C. 2000d-1.
    Examples of populations likely to include LEP persons who are 
served or encountered by DOT recipients and should be considered when 
planning language services include, but are not limited to:
     Public transportation passengers.
     Persons who apply for a driver's license at a state 
department of motor vehicles.
     Persons subject to the control of state or local 
transportation enforcement authorities, including, for example, 
commercial motor vehicle drivers.
     Persons served by emergency transportation response 
     Persons living in areas affected or potentially affected 
by transportation projects.
     Business owners who apply to participate in DOT's 
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.

V. How Does a Recipient Determine the Extent of Its Obligation to 
Provide LEP Services?

    Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure 
meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. 
While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the 
starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the 
following four factors: (1) The number or proportion of LEP persons 
eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by a program, 
activity, or service of the recipient or grantee; (2) the frequency 
with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program; (3) the 
nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by 
the recipient to people's lives; and (4) the resources available to the 
recipient and costs. As indicated above, the intent of this policy 
guidance is to suggest a balance that ensures meaningful access by LEP 
persons to critical services while not imposing undue burdens on small 
businesses, small local governments, or small nonprofit organizations.
    After applying the above four-factor analysis to the various kinds 
of contacts a recipient has with the public, the recipient may conclude 
that different language assistance measures are sufficient to ensure 
meaningful access to the different types of programs or activities in 
which it engages. For instance, some of a recipient's activities will 
have a greater impact on or contact with LEP persons than others, and 
thus may require more in the way of language assistance. The 
flexibility that recipients have in addressing the needs of the LEP 
populations they serve does not diminish, and should not be used to 
minimize, the obligation that those needs be addressed. DOT recipients 
should apply the following four factors to the various kinds of 
contacts that they have with the public to assess language needs and 
decide what reasonable steps they should take to ensure meaningful 
access for LEP persons.

(1) The Number or Proportion of LEP Persons Served or Encountered in 
the Eligible Service Population

    The greater the number or proportion of LEP persons from a 
particular language group served or encountered in the eligible service 
population, the more likely language services are needed. Ordinarily, 
persons ``eligible to be served, or likely to be directly affected, 
by'' a recipient's programs or activities are those who are in fact, 
served or encountered in the eligible service population. This 
population will be program-specific, and includes persons who are in 
the geographic area that is part of the recipient's service area. 
However, where, for instance, a motor vehicle office serves a large LEP 
population, the appropriate service area is that served by the office, 
and not the entire population served by the department. Where no 
service area has previously been approved, the relevant service area 
may be that which is approved by state or local authorities or 
designated by the recipient itself,

[[Page 74092]]

provided that these designations do not themselves discriminatorily 
exclude certain populations. When considering the number or proportion 
of LEP individuals in a service area, recipients should consider LEP 
parent(s) whose English proficient or LEP minor children and dependents 
encounter the services of DOT recipients.
    Recipients should first examine their prior experiences with LEP 
individuals and determine the breadth and scope of language services 
that are needed. In conducting this analysis, it is important to: 
Include language minority populations that are eligible beneficiaries 
of recipients' programs, activities, or services but may be underserved 
because of existing language barriers; and consult additional data, for 
example, from the census, school systems and community organizations, 
and data from state and local governments, community agencies, school 
systems, religious organizations, and legal aid entities.\7\

    \7\ The focus of the analysis is on lack of English proficiency, 
not the ability to speak more than one language. Note that 
demographic data may indicate the most frequently spoken languages 
other than English and the percentage of people who speak that 
language but speak or understand English less than well. People who 
are also proficient in English may speak some of the most commonly 
spoken languages other than English.

(2) The Frequency With Which LEP Individuals Come in Contact With the 
Program, Activity, or Service

    Recipients should assess, as accurately as possible, the frequency 
with which they have or should have contact with LEP individuals from 
different language groups seeking assistance, as the more frequent the 
contact, the more likely enhanced language services will be needed. The 
steps that are reasonable for a recipient that serves an LEP person on 
a one-time basis will be very different than those expected from a 
recipient that serves LEP persons daily. Recipients should also 
consider the frequency of different types of language contacts, as 
frequent contacts with Spanish-speaking people who are LEP may require 
certain assistance in Spanish, while less frequent contact with 
different language groups may suggest a different and/or less 
intensified solution. If an LEP individual accesses a program or 
service on a daily basis, a recipient has greater duties than if the 
same individual's program or activity contact is unpredictable or 
infrequent. However, even recipients that serve LEP persons on an 
unpredictable or infrequent basis should use this balancing analysis to 
determine what to do if an LEP individual seeks services under the 
program in question. This plan need not be intricate. It may be as 
simple as being prepared to use a commercial telephonic interpretation 
service to obtain immediate interpreter services. Additionally, in 
applying this standard, recipients should consider whether appropriate 
outreach to LEP persons could increase the frequency of contact with 
LEP language groups.

(3) The Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or Service 
Provided by the Program

    The more important the activity, information, service, or program, 
or the greater the possible consequences of the contact to the LEP 
individuals, the more likely language services are needed. The 
obligations to communicate rights to an LEP person who needs public 
transportation differ, for example, from those to provide recreational 
programming. A recipient needs to determine whether denial or delay of 
access to services or information could have serious or even life-
threatening implications for the LEP individual. Decisions by a 
Federal, state, or local entity to make an activity compulsory, such as 
requiring a driver to have a license, can serve as strong evidence of 
the importance of the program or activity.

(4) The Resources Available to the Recipient and Costs

    A recipient's level of resources and the costs imposed may have an 
impact on the nature of the steps it should take in providing 
meaningful access for LEP persons. Smaller recipients with more limited 
budgets are not expected to provide the same level of language services 
as larger recipients with larger budgets. In addition, ``reasonable 
steps'' may cease to be reasonable where the costs imposed 
substantially exceed the benefits. Recipients should carefully explore 
the most cost-effective means of delivering competent and accurate 
language services before limiting services due to resource concerns.
    Resource and cost issues, however, can often be reduced by 
technological advances, reasonable business practices, and the sharing 
of language assistance materials and services among and between 
recipients, advocacy groups, affected populations, and Federal 
agencies. For example, the following practices may reduce resource and 
cost issues where appropriate:
     Training bilingual staff to act as interpreters and 
     Information sharing through industry groups.
     Telephonic and video conferencing interpretation services.
     Translating vital documents posted on Web sites.
     Pooling resources and standardizing documents to reduce 
translation needs.
     Using qualified translators and interpreters to ensure 
that documents need not be ``fixed'' later and that inaccurate 
interpretations do not cause delay or other costs.
     Centralizing interpreter and translator services to 
achieve economies of scale.\8\

    \8\ Small recipients with limited resources may find that 
entering into a bulk telephonic interpretation service contract will 
prove cost effective.

     Formalized use of qualified community volunteers.
    Large entities and those entities serving a significant number or 
proportion of LEP persons should ensure that their resource limitations 
are well substantiated before using this factor as a reason to limit 
language assistance. Such recipients may find it useful to be able to 
articulate, through documentation or in some other reasonable manner, 
their process for determining that language services would be limited 
based on resources or costs.
    This four-factor analysis necessarily implicates the ``mix'' of LEP 
services required. Recipients have two main ways to provide language 
services: Oral interpretation either in person or via telephone 
interpretation service (hereinafter ``interpretation'') and written 
translation (hereinafter ``translation''). Oral interpretation can 
range from on-site interpreters for critical services provided to a 
high volume of LEP persons to access through commercially available 
telephonic interpretation services. Written translation, likewise, can 
range from translation of an entire document to translation of a short 
description of the document. In some cases, language services should be 
made available on an expedited basis while in others the LEP individual 
may be referred to another office of the recipient for language 
    The correct mix should be based on what is both necessary and 
reasonable in light of the four-factor analysis. For instance, a motor 
vehicle department or an emergency hazardous material clean-up team in 
a largely Hispanic neighborhood may need immediate oral interpreters 
available and should give serious consideration to hiring bilingual 
staff (of course, many such departments have already made these 
arrangements). Additionally, providing public

[[Page 74093]]

transportation access to LEP persons is crucial. An LEP person's 
inability to utilize effectively public transportation may adversely 
affect his or her ability to obtain health care, or education, or 
access to employment. In contrast, there may be circumstances where the 
importance and nature of the activity and number or proportion and 
frequency of contact with LEP persons may be low and the costs and 
resources needed to provide language services may be high--such as in 
the case of a voluntary general public tour of an airport or train 
station--in which pre-arranged language services for the particular 
service may not be necessary. Regardless of the type of language 
services provided, quality and accuracy of those services can be 
critical. Recipients have substantial flexibility in determining the 
appropriate mix.

VI. Selecting Language Assistance Services

    Recipients may provide language services in either oral or written 
form. Quality and accuracy of the language service is critical in order 
to avoid potential serious consequences to the LEP person and to the 

A. Oral Language Services (Interpretation)

    Interpretation is the act of listening to something in one language 
(source language) and orally translating it into another language 
(target language). Where interpretation is needed and is reasonable, 
recipients should consider some or all of the options below for 
providing competent interpreters in a timely manner.
    Competence of Interpreters. When providing oral assistance, 
recipients should ensure competency of the language service provider, 
no matter which of the strategies outlined below are used. Competency 
requires more than self-identification as bilingual. Some bilingual 
staff and community volunteers, for instance, may be able to 
communicate effectively in a different language when communicating 
information directly in that language, but not be competent to 
interpret into and out of English. Likewise, they may not be able to do 
written translations.
    Competency to interpret, however, does not necessarily mean formal 
certification as an interpreter, although certification is helpful. 
When using interpreters, recipients should ensure that they:
     Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to communicate 
information accurately in both English and in the other language and 
identify and employ the appropriate mode of interpreting (e.g., 
consecutive, simultaneous, summarization, or sight translation).
     Have knowledge in both languages of any specialized terms 
or concepts peculiar to the recipient's program or activity and of any 
particularized vocabulary and phraseology used by the LEP person;\9\ 
and understand and follow confidentiality and impartiality rules to the 
same extent as the recipient employee for whom they are interpreting 
and/or to the extent their position requires.

    \9\ Many languages have ``regionalisms,'' or differences in 
usage. For instance, a word that may be understood to mean something 
in Spanish for someone from Cuba may not be so understood by someone 
from Mexico. In addition, because there may be languages that do not 
have an appropriate direct interpretation of certain legal terms, 
the interpreter should be able to provide the most appropriate 
interpretation. The interpreter should make the recipient aware of 
the issue and the interpreter and recipient can then work to develop 
a consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in 
that language that can be used again, when appropriate.

     Understand and adhere to their role as interpreters 
without deviating into a role as counselor, legal advisor, or other 
    Additionally, some recipients may have their own requirements for 
interpreters, as individual rights may depend on precise, complete, and 
accurate interpretations or translations. In some cases, interpreters 
may be required to demonstrate that their involvement in a matter would 
not create a conflict of interest.
    While quality and accuracy of language services are critical, they 
are nonetheless part of the appropriate mix of LEP services required. 
The quality and accuracy of language services as part of disaster 
relief programs, or in the provision of emergency supplies and 
services, for example, must be extraordinarily high, while the quality 
and accuracy of language services in a bicycle safety course need not 
meet the same exacting standards.
    Finally, when interpretation is needed and is reasonable, it should 
be provided in a timely manner in order to be effective. Generally, to 
be ``timely,'' the recipient should provide language assistance at a 
time and place that avoids the effective denial of the service, 
benefit, or right at issue or the imposition of an undue burden on or 
delay in important rights, benefits, or services to the LEP person. For 
example, when the timeliness of services is important, such as when an 
LEP person needs access to public transportation, a DOT recipient does 
not provide meaningful LEP access when it has only one bilingual staff 
member available one day a week to provide the service.
    Hiring Bilingual Staff. When particular languages are encountered 
often, hiring bilingual staff offers one of the best, and often most 
economical, options. Recipients can, for example, fill public contact 
positions, such as transit station managers, department of motor 
vehicle service representatives, security guards, or program directors, 
with staff that are bilingual and competent to communicate directly 
with LEP persons in their language. If bilingual staff members are also 
used to interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to 
orally interpret written documents from English into another language, 
they should be competent in the skill of interpreting, as discussed 
above. Effective management strategies, including any appropriate 
adjustments in assignments and protocols for using bilingual staff, can 
ensure that bilingual staff members are fully and appropriately 
utilized. When bilingual staff cannot meet all of the language service 
obligations of the recipient, the recipient should turn to other 
    Hiring Staff Interpreters. Hiring interpreters may be most helpful 
where there is a frequent need for interpreting services in one or more 
languages. Depending on the facts, sometimes it may be necessary and 
reasonable to provide on-site interpreters to facilitate accurate and 
meaningful communication with an LEP person.
    Contracting for Interpreters. Contract interpreters may be a cost-
effective option when there is no regular need for a particular 
language skill. In addition to commercial and other private providers, 
many community-based organizations and mutual assistance associations 
provide interpretation services for particular languages. Contracting 
with interpreters and providing training regarding the recipient's 
programs and processes to these organizations can be a cost-effective 
option for providing language services to LEP persons from those 
language groups.
    Using Telephone Interpreter Lines. Telephone interpreter service 
lines often offer prompt interpreting assistance in many different 
languages. They may be particularly appropriate where the mode of 
communicating with an English proficient person would also be over the 
phone. Although telephonic interpretation services are useful in many 
situations, it is important to ensure that, when using such services, 
the interpreters are competent to interpret any technical or legal 
terms specific to a particular program that may be important parts of 
the conversation. Nuances in language and non-verbal communication can 
often assist an

[[Page 74094]]

interpreter and cannot be recognized over the phone. The issues 
discussed above regarding interpreter competency are also relevant to 
telephonic interpreters. Video teleconferencing and allowing 
interpreters to review relevant documents in advance may also be 
    Using Community Volunteers. In addition to consideration of 
bilingual staff, staff interpreters, or contract interpreters (either 
in-person or by telephone) as options to ensure meaningful access by 
LEP persons, use of recipient-coordinated community volunteers may 
provide a cost-effective supplemental language assistance strategy 
under appropriate circumstances. They may be particularly useful in 
providing language access for a recipient's less critical programs and 
activities. To the extent the recipient relies on community volunteers, 
it is often best to use volunteers who are trained in the information 
or services of the program and can communicate directly with LEP 
persons in their language. Just as with all interpreters, community 
volunteers used to interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, 
or to orally translate documents, should be competent in the skill of 
interpreting and knowledgeable about applicable confidentiality and 
impartiality rules. Recipients should consider formal arrangements with 
community-based organizations that provide volunteers to address these 
concerns and help ensure that services are available more regularly.
    Use of Family Members, Friends, Other Customers/Passengers as 
Interpreters. Although recipients should not plan to rely on an LEP 
person's family members, friends, or other informal interpreters to 
provide meaningful access to important programs and activities, where 
LEP persons so desire, they should be permitted to use an interpreter 
of their choice at their own expense (whether a professional 
interpreter, family member, or friend) in place of or as a supplement 
to the free language services expressly offered by the recipient. LEP 
persons may feel more comfortable when a trusted family member or 
friend acts as an interpreter. In addition, in exigent circumstances 
that are not reasonably foreseeable, temporary use of interpreters not 
provided by the recipient may be necessary. However, with proper 
planning and implementation, recipients should be able to avoid most 
such situations.
    Recipients, however, should take special care to ensure that family 
members, legal guardians, caretakers, and other informal interpreters 
are appropriate in light of the circumstances and subject matter of the 
program, service or activity, including protection of the recipient's 
own administrative, mission-related, or enforcement interest in 
accurate interpretation. In many circumstances, family members 
(especially children) or friends are not competent to provide quality 
and accurate interpretations. Issues of confidentiality, privacy, or 
conflict of interest may also arise. LEP individuals may feel 
uncomfortable revealing or describing sensitive or confidential 
information to a family member, friend, or member of the local 
community. In addition, such informal interpreters may have a personal 
connection to the LEP person or an undisclosed conflict of interest, 
such as the desire to obtain an LEP person's personal identification 
information, for example, in the case of an LEP person attempting to 
apply for a driver's license. Thus, DOT recipients should generally 
offer free interpreter services to the LEP person. This is particularly 
true in situations in which health, safety, or access to important 
benefits and services are at stake, or when credibility and accuracy 
are important to protect an individual's rights and access to important 
    An example of such a case is when no interpreters, or bilingual or 
symbolic signs are available in a state department of motor vehicles. 
In an effort to apply for a driver's license, vehicle registration, or 
parking permit, an LEP person may be forced to enlist the help of a 
stranger for translation. This practice may raise serious issues of 
competency or confidentiality and may compromise the personal security 
of the LEP person, as the stranger could have access to the LEP 
person's personal identification information, such as his or her name, 
phone number, address, social security number, driver's license number 
(if different from the social security number), and medical 
information. However, there are situations where proper application of 
the four factors would lead to a conclusion that recipient-provided 
services are not necessary. An example of this is a voluntary 
educational tour of an airport, or a train or bus station. There, the 
importance and nature of the activity may be relatively low and 
unlikely to implicate issues of confidentiality, conflict of interest, 
or the need for accuracy. In addition, the resources needed and costs 
of providing language services may be high. In such a setting, an LEP 
person's use of family, friends, or others to interpret may be 
    If the LEP person voluntarily chooses to provide his or her own 
interpreter, a recipient should consider whether a record of that 
choice and of the recipient's offer of assistance is appropriate. Where 
precise, complete, and accurate interpretations or translations of 
information and/or testimony are critical, or where the competency of 
the LEP person's interpreter is not established, a recipient might 
decide to provide its own, independent interpreter, even if an LEP 
person wants to use his or her own interpreter as well. Extra caution 
should be exercised when the LEP person chooses to use a minor as the 
interpreter. While the LEP person's decision should be respected, there 
may be additional issues of competency, confidentiality, or conflict of 
interest when the choice involves using children as interpreters. The 
recipient should take care to ensure that the LEP person's choice is 
voluntary, that the LEP person is aware of the possible problems if the 
preferred interpreter is a minor child, and that the LEP person knows 
that a competent interpreter could be provided by the recipient at no 

B. Written Language Services (Translation)

    Translation is the replacement of a written text from one language 
(source language) into an equivalent written text in another language 
(target language).
    What Documents Should be Translated? After applying the four-factor 
analysis, a recipient may determine that an effective LEP plan for its 
particular program or activity includes the translation of vital 
written materials into the language of each frequently encountered LEP 
group eligible to be served and/or likely to be affected by the 
recipient's program. Such written materials could include, for example:
     Driver's license, automobile registration, and parking 
permit forms.
     Parking tickets, citation forms, and violation or 
deficiency notices, or pertinent portions thereof.
     Emergency transportation information.
     Markings, signs, and packaging for hazardous materials and 
     Signs in bus and train stations, and in airports.
     Notices of public hearings regarding recipients' proposed 
transportation plans, projects, or changes, and reduction, denial, or 
termination of services or benefits.
     Signs in waiting rooms, reception areas, and other initial 
points of entry.
     Notices advising LEP persons of free language assistance 
and language identification cards for staff (i.e., ``I speak'' cards).

[[Page 74095]]

     Statements about the services available and the right to 
free language assistance services in appropriate non-English languages, 
in brochures, booklets, outreach and recruitment information, and other 
materials routinely disseminated to the public.
     Written tests that do not assess English-language 
competency, but test competency for a particular license, job, or skill 
for which knowing English is not required.
     Applications, or instructions on how to participate in a 
recipient's program or activity or to receive recipient benefits or 
     Consent forms.
    Whether or not a document (or the information it solicits) is 
``vital'' may depend upon the importance of the program, information, 
encounter, or service involved, and the consequence to the LEP person 
if the information in question is not accurate or timely. For instance, 
applications for bicycle safety courses should not generally be 
considered vital, whereas access to safe driving handbooks could be 
considered vital. Where appropriate, recipients are encouraged to 
create a plan for consistently determining, over time and across their 
various activities, what documents are ``vital'' to the meaningful 
access of the LEP populations they serve.
    Classifying a document as vital or non-vital is sometimes 
difficult, especially in the case of outreach materials like brochures 
or other information on rights and services. Awareness of rights or 
services is an important part of ``meaningful access,'' as lack of 
awareness may effectively deny LEP individuals meaningful access. Thus, 
where a recipient is engaged in community outreach efforts in 
furtherance of its programs and activities, it should regularly assess 
the needs of the populations frequently encountered or affected by the 
program or activity to determine whether certain critical outreach 
materials should be translated. Community organizations may be helpful 
in determining what outreach materials may be most helpful to 
translate, and some such translations may be made more effective when 
done in tandem with other outreach methods, including utilizing the 
ethnic media, schools, and religious and community organizations to 
spread a message.
    Sometimes a very large document may include both vital and non-
vital information. This may also be the case when the title and a phone 
number for obtaining more information on the contents of the document 
in frequently encountered languages other than English is critical, but 
the document is sent out to the general public and cannot reasonably be 
translated into many languages. Thus, vital information may include, 
for instance, providing information in appropriate languages regarding 
where an LEP person might obtain an interpretation or translation of 
the document.
    Into What Languages Should Documents be Translated? The extent of 
the recipient's obligation to provide written translations of documents 
should be determined by the recipient on a case-by-case basis, looking 
at the totality of the circumstances in light of the four-factor 
analysis. Because translation is a one-time expense, consideration 
should be given to whether the upfront cost of translating a document 
(as opposed to oral interpretation) should be amortized over the likely 
lifespan of the document when applying this four-factor analysis.
    The languages spoken by the LEP individuals with whom the recipient 
has frequent contact determine the languages into which vital documents 
should be translated. However, because many DOT recipients serve 
communities in large cities or across an entire state and regularly 
serve areas with LEP populations that speak dozens and sometimes more 
than 100 languages, it would be unrealistic to translate all written 
materials into each language. Although recent technological advances 
have made it easier for recipients to store and share translated 
documents, such an undertaking would incur substantial costs and 
require substantial resources. However, well-substantiated claims of 
lack of resources to translate all such documents into dozens or more 
than 100 languages do not necessarily relieve the recipient of the 
obligation to translate vital documents into at least several of the 
more frequently encountered languages. The recipient should then set 
benchmarks for continued translations into the remaining languages over 
    Safe Harbor. Many recipients would like to ensure with greater 
certainty that they comply with their obligations to provide written 
translations in languages other than English. Paragraphs (a) and (b) 
below outline the circumstances that can provide a ``safe harbor'' for 
recipients regarding the requirements for translation of written 
materials. A ``safe harbor'' means that if a recipient provides written 
translations under these circumstances, such action will be considered 
strong evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation 
obligations under Title VI.
    The failure to provide written translations under the circumstances 
outlined in paragraphs (a) and (b) does not mean there is 
noncompliance. Rather these paragraphs merely provide a guide for 
recipients that would like greater certainty of compliance than can be 
provided by a fact-intensive, four-factor analysis. For example, even 
if a safe harbor is not used, if written translation of a certain 
document(s) would be so burdensome as to defeat the legitimate 
objectives of its program, it is not necessary. Other ways of providing 
meaningful access, such as effective oral interpretation of certain 
vital documents, might be acceptable under such circumstances.
    Safe Harbor. The following actions will be considered strong 
evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation 
    (a) The DOT recipient provides written translations of vital 
documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes 5% or 
1,000, whichever is less, of the population of persons eligible to be 
served or likely to be affected or encountered. Translation of other 
documents, if needed, can be provided orally; or
    (b) If there are fewer than 50 persons in a language group that 
reaches the 5% trigger in (a), the recipient does not translate vital 
written materials but provides written notice in the primary language 
of the LEP language group of the right to receive competent oral 
interpretation of those written materials, free of cost.
    These safe harbor provisions apply to the translation of written 
documents only. They do not affect the requirement to provide 
meaningful access to LEP individuals through competent oral 
interpreters where oral language services are needed and are 
    Competence of Translators. As with oral interpreters, translators 
of written documents should be competent. Many of the same 
considerations apply. However, the skill of translating is very 
different from the skill of interpreting, and a person who is a 
competent interpreter may or may not be competent to translate, and 
vice versa.
    Particularly where vital documents are being translated, competence 
can often be achieved by use of certified translators. Certification or 
accreditation may not always be possible or necessary.\10\ Competence 
can often be ensured by having a second, independent translator check 
the work of the primary translator. Alternatively, one translator can 
translate the document, and a second, independent

[[Page 74096]]

translator could translate it back into English to check that the 
appropriate meaning has been conveyed. This is called ``back 

    \10\ For those languages in which no formal accreditation 
exists, a particular level of membership in a professional 
translation association can provide some indicator of professional 

    Translators should understand the expected reading level of the 
audience and, where appropriate, have fundamental knowledge about the 
target language group's vocabulary and phraseology. Sometimes direct 
translation of materials results in a translation that is written at a 
much more difficult level than the English-language version or has no 
relevant equivalent meaning.\11\ Community organizations may be able to 
help consider whether a document is written at an appropriate level for 
the audience. Likewise, consistency in the words and phrases used to 
translate terms of art, legal, or other technical or programmatic terms 
helps avoid confusion by LEP individuals and may reduce costs. Creating 
or using already created glossaries of commonly used terms may be 
useful for LEP persons and translators and cost effective for the 
recipient. Providing translators with examples of previous accurate 
translations of similar material by other recipients or Federal 
agencies may also be helpful.

    \11\ For instance, although there may be languages that do not 
have a direct translation of some legal, technical, or program-
related terms, the translator should be able to provide an 
appropriate translation. The translator should likely also make the 
recipient aware of this. Recipients can then work with translators 
to develop a consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of those 
terms in that language that can be used again, when appropriate.

    While quality and accuracy of translation services are critical, 
they are nonetheless part of the appropriate mix of LEP services 
required. For instance, documents that are simple and have no important 
consequences for LEP persons who rely on them may be translated by 
translators who are less skilled than important documents with legal or 
other information upon which reliance has important consequences 
(including, e.g., driver's license written exams and documents 
regarding important benefits or services, or health, safety, or legal 
information). The permanent nature of written translations, however, 
imposes additional responsibility on the recipient to ensure that the 
quality and accuracy permit meaningful access by LEP persons.

VII. Elements of an Effective Implementation Plan on Language 
Assistance for LEP Persons

    After completing the four-factor analysis and deciding what 
language assistance services are appropriate, a recipient should 
develop an implementation plan to address the identified needs of the 
LEP populations it serves. Although recipients have considerable 
flexibility in developing such a plan, maintaining a periodically 
updated written plan on language assistance for LEP persons (``LEP 
plan'') for use by recipient employees serving the public would be an 
appropriate and cost-effective means of documenting compliance and 
providing a framework for the provision of timely and reasonable 
language assistance. Such written plans may also provide additional 
benefits to a recipient's managers in the areas of training, 
administration, planning, and budgeting. Thus, recipients may choose to 
document the language assistance services in their plan, and how staff 
and LEP persons can access those services. Certain DOT recipients, such 
as those serving very few LEP persons or those with very limited 
resources, may choose not to develop a written LEP plan. However, the 
absence of a written LEP plan does not obviate the underlying 
obligation to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons to a recipient's 
program or activities. In that event, a recipient should consider 
alternative ways to reasonably articulate a plan for providing 
meaningful access. Early input from entities such as schools, religious 
organizations, community groups, and groups working with new immigrants 
can be helpful in forming this planning process. The following five 
steps may be helpful in designing an LEP plan and are typically part of 
effective implementation plans.

(1) Identifying LEP Individuals Who Need Language Assistance

    There should be an assessment of the number or proportion of LEP 
individuals eligible to be served or encountered and the frequency of 
encounters pursuant to the first two factors in the four-factor 
    One way to determine the language of communication is to use 
language identification cards (or ``I speak cards''), which invite LEP 
persons to identify their language needs to staff. Such cards, for 
instance, might say, ``I speak Spanish'' in both Spanish and English, 
or ``I speak Vietnamese'' in both English and Vietnamese. To reduce 
costs of compliance, the Federal Government has made a set of these 
cards available on the Internet. The Census Bureau's ``I speak card'' 
can be found and downloaded at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/13166.htm.
    When records are normally kept of past interactions with members of 
the public, the language of the LEP person can be included as part of 
the record. In addition to helping employees identify the language of 
LEP persons they encounter, this process will help in future 
applications of the first two factors of the four-factor analysis. In 
addition, posting notices in commonly encountered languages notifying 
LEP persons of language assistance will encourage them to self-

(2) Language Assistance Measures

    An effective LEP plan would likely include information about the 
ways in which language assistance will be provided. For instance, 
recipients may want to include information on at least the following:
     Types of language services available.
     How recipient staff can obtain those services.
     How to respond to LEP callers.
     How to respond to written communications from LEP persons.
     How to respond to LEP individuals who have in-person 
contact with recipient staff.
     How to ensure competency of interpreters and translation 

(3) Training Staff

    Staff members should know their obligations to provide meaningful 
access to information and services for LEP persons, and all employees 
in public contact positions should be properly trained. An effective 
LEP plan would likely include training to ensure that:
     Staff knows about LEP policies and procedures.
     Staff having contact with the public (or those in a 
recipient's custody) is trained to work effectively with in-person and 
telephone interpreters.
    Recipients may want to include this training as part of the 
orientation for new employees. Recipients have flexibility in deciding 
the manner in which the training is provided, and the more frequent the 
contact with LEP persons, the greater the need will be for in-depth 
training. However, management staff, even if they do not interact 
regularly with LEP persons, should be fully aware of and understand the 
plan so they can reinforce its importance and ensure its implementation 
by staff.

(4) Providing Notice to LEP Persons

    Once an agency has decided, based on the four factors, that it will 
provide language services, it is important that the recipient notify 
LEP persons of services available free of charge. Recipients should 
provide this notice in languages LEP persons would understand. Examples 
of notification that recipients should consider include:

[[Page 74097]]

     Posting signs in intake areas and other entry points. This 
is important so that LEP persons can learn how to access those language 
services at initial points of contact. This is particularly true in 
areas with high volumes of LEP persons seeking access to certain 
transportation safety information, or other services and activities run 
by DOT recipients.\12\

    \12\ For instance, signs in intake offices could state that free 
language assistance is available. The signs should be translated 
into the most common languages encountered and should explain how to 
get the necessary language assistance. The Social Security 
Administration has made such signs available at http://www.ssa.gov/multilanguage/langlist1.htm. DOT recipients could, for example, 
modify these signs for use in programs, activities, and services.

     Stating in outreach documents that language services are 
available from the agency. Announcements could be in, for instance, 
brochures, booklets, and in outreach and recruitment information. These 
statements should be translated into the most common languages and 
could be ``tagged'' onto the front of common documents.
     Working with community-based organizations and other 
stakeholders to inform LEP individuals of the recipients' services, 
including the availability of language assistance services.
     Using an automated telephone voice mail attendant or menu 
system. The system could be in the most common languages encountered. 
It should provide information about available language assistance 
services and how to get them.
     Including notices in local newspapers in languages other 
than English.
     Providing notices on non-English-language radio and 
television stations about the available language assistance services 
and how to get them.
     Providing presentations and/or notices at schools and 
religious organizations.

(5) Monitoring and Updating the LEP Plan

    Recipients should, where appropriate, have a process for 
determining, on an ongoing basis, whether new documents, programs, 
services, and activities need to be made accessible for LEP 
individuals, and they may want to provide notice of any changes in 
services to the LEP public and to employees.
    In addition, recipients should consider whether changes in 
demographics, types of services, or other needs require annual 
reevaluation of their LEP plan. Less frequent reevaluation may be more 
appropriate where demographics, services, and needs are more static. 
One good way to evaluate the LEP plan is to seek feedback from the 
    In their reviews, recipients may want to consider assessing changes 
     Current LEP populations in the service area or population 
affected or encountered.
     Frequency of encounters with LEP language groups.
     Nature and importance of activities to LEP persons.
     Availability of resources, including technological 
advances and sources of additional resources, and the costs imposed.
     Whether existing assistance is meeting the needs of LEP 
     Whether staff knows and understands the LEP plan and how 
to implement it.
     Whether identified sources for assistance are still 
available and viable.
    In addition to these five elements, effective plans set clear 
goals, management accountability, and opportunities for community input 
and planning throughout the process.

VIII. Voluntary Compliance Effort

    The goal for Title VI and Title VI regulatory enforcement is to 
achieve voluntary compliance. DOT enforces Title VI as it applies to 
recipients' responsibilities to LEP persons through the procedures 
provided for in DOT's Title VI regulations (49 CFR part 21, portions of 
which are provided in Appendix A).
    The Title VI regulations provide that DOT will investigate whenever 
it receives a complaint, report, or other information that alleges or 
indicates possible noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations. If 
the investigation results in a finding of compliance, DOT will inform 
the recipient in writing of this determination, including the basis for 
the determination. DOT uses voluntary mediation to resolve most 
complaints. However, if a case is fully investigated and results in a 
finding of noncompliance, DOT must inform the recipient of the 
noncompliance through a Letter of Findings that sets out the areas of 
noncompliance and the steps that must be taken to correct the 
noncompliance. It must attempt to secure voluntary compliance through 
informal means. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, DOT must 
secure compliance through the termination of Federal assistance after 
the DOT recipient has been given an opportunity for an administrative 
hearing and/or by referring the matter to DOJ with a recommendation 
that appropriate proceedings be brought to enforce the laws of the 
United States. In engaging in voluntary compliance efforts, DOT 
proposes reasonable timetables for achieving compliance and consults 
with and assists recipients in exploring cost-effective ways of coming 
into compliance. In determining a recipient's compliance with the Title 
VI regulations, DOT's primary concern is to ensure that the recipient's 
policies and procedures provide meaningful access for LEP persons to 
the recipient's programs, activities, and services.
    While all recipients must work toward building systems that will 
ensure access for LEP individuals, DOT acknowledges that the 
implementation of a comprehensive system to serve LEP individuals is a 
process and that a system will evolve over time as it is implemented 
and periodically reevaluated. As recipients take reasonable steps to 
provide meaningful access to federally assisted programs and activities 
for LEP persons, DOT will look favorably on intermediate steps 
recipients take that are consistent with this guidance, and that, as 
part of a broader implementation plan or schedule, move their service 
delivery system toward providing full access to LEP persons. This does 
not excuse noncompliance but instead recognizes that full compliance in 
all areas of a recipient's activities and for all potential language 
minority groups may reasonably require a series of implementing actions 
over a period of time. However, in developing any phased implementation 
schedule, DOT recipients should ensure that the provision of 
appropriate assistance for significant LEP populations or with respect 
to activities having a significant impact on the health, safety, legal 
rights, or livelihood of beneficiaries is addressed first. Recipients 
are encouraged to document their efforts to provide LEP persons with 
meaningful access to federally assisted programs and activities.

IX. Promising Practices

    The following examples are provided as illustrations of the 
responses of some recipients to the need to provide services to LEP 
persons, and are meant to be interesting and useful examples of ways in 
which LEP recipients can provide language services. Recipients are 
responsible for ensuring meaningful access to all portions of their 
program or activity, not just the portions to which DOT assistance is 
targeted. So long as the language services are accurate, timely, and 
appropriate in the manner outlined in this guidance, the types of 
promising practices summarized below can assist recipients in moving 

[[Page 74098]]

meeting the meaningful access requirements of Title VI and the Title VI 
regulations. These examples do not, however, constitute an endorsement 
by DOT, which will evaluate recipients' situations on a case-by-case 
basis using the factors described elsewhere in this guidance.
    Language Banks. In several parts of the country, both urban and 
rural, community organizations and providers have created language 
banks that dispatch competent interpreters, at reasonable rates, to 
participating organizations, reducing the need to have on-staff 
interpreters for low-demand languages. This approach is particularly 
appropriate where there is a scarcity of language services or where 
there is a large variety of language needs but limited demand for any 
particular language.
    Language Support Offices. A state social services agency has 
established an ``Office for Language Interpreter Services and 
Translation.'' This office tests and certifies all in-house and 
contract interpreters, provides agency-wide support for translation of 
forms, client mailings, publications, and other written materials into 
non-English languages, and monitors the policies of the agency and its 
vendors that affect LEP persons.
    Some recipients have established working liaisons with local 
community colleges to educate the LEP community in transportation 
matters. One city formed a multilingual/multi-agency task force to 
address language barriers and the concerns of the affected communities. 
The task force completed a survey of city staff with multilingual 
skills in order to identify employees willing to serve as interpreters 
and is preparing lists of community and cultural organizations.
    Use of Technology. Some recipients use their Internet and/or 
intranet capabilities to store translated documents online, which can 
be retrieved as needed and easily shared with other offices. For 
example, a multilanguage gateway on a Web page could be developed for 
LEP persons and the public to access documents translated into other 
    Telephone Information Lines and Hotlines. Recipients have 
subscribed to telephone-based interpretation services and established 
telephone information lines in common languages to instruct callers on 
how to leave a recorded message that will be answered by someone who 
speaks the caller's language. For example, a recipient may choose to 
adopt a program similar to the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration's (NHTSA's) Auto Safety Hotline, which has four 
representatives who speak Spanish and are available during normal 
hotline business hours (Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-10 p.m. eastern time).\13\

    \13\ The evening hours permit people from the West Coast (where 
a significant number of LEP persons reside) to call after work, 
providing an option for instructions in Spanish, a separate queue, 
and Spanish-speaking operators.

    Signage and Other Outreach. Recipients have provided information 
about services, benefits, eligibility requirements, and the 
availability of free language assistance, in appropriate languages by 
(a) posting signs and placards with this information in public places 
such as grocery stores, bus shelters, and subway stations; (b) putting 
notices in print media and on radio and television stations that serve 
LEP groups or broadcasting in languages other than English;\14\ (c) 
airing videos and public service announcements for non-English-speaking 
residents; (d) placing flyers and signs in the offices of community-
based organizations that serve large populations of LEP persons; (e) 
distributing information at places of worship, ethnic shopping areas, 
and other gathering places for LEP groups; (f) using posters with 
appropriate languages designed to reach potential beneficiaries; and 
(g) developing pictures, images, figures, or icons that could be 
understandable alternatives to written words.

    \14\ Notifications should be delivered in advance of scheduled 
meetings or events to allow time for persons to request 
accommodation and participate.

    DOT agencies and recipients have implemented numerous language 
access services:
     DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration (formerly known as the Research and Special Programs 
Administration), at 49 CFR Sec. Sec.  192.616 and 195.440, requires 
pipeline officers to establish a program for effective reporting by the 
public of gas pipeline emergencies to the operator or public officials, 
also providing that the program must be conducted in English and other 
common languages.\15\ We recommend that recipients consider the 
appropriateness of such an approach to meet their individual service 
provision needs.

    \15\ ``Each [pipeline] operator shall establish a continuing 
educational program to enable customers, the public, appropriate 
government organizations, and persons engaged in excavation related 
activities to recognize a gas pipeline emergency for the purpose of 
reporting it to the operator or the appropriate public officials. 
The program and the media used should be as comprehensive as 
necessary to reach all areas in which the operator transports gas. 
The program must be conducted in English and in other languages 
commonly understood by a significant number and concentration of the 
non-English speaking population in the operator's area.'' 49 CFR 
Sec.  192.616. Section 195.440 of title 49, Code of Federal 
Regulations, imposes similar requirements in the case of hazardous 
liquid or carbon dioxide pipeline emergencies.

     DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA) has translated the National Standardized Child Passenger Safety 
Training Program curriculum into Spanish. The course, designed to help 
communities work with parents and caregivers on the proper installation 
of child safety seats, has been pilot tested and is scheduled to be 
available to the public by early 2006 through many national Latino 
organizations and State Highway Safety Offices.
     DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
division offices in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Puerto 
Rico employ personnel conversant in Spanish to communicate the agency's 
critical safety regulations.
     The Del Rio, Texas, Police Department implemented the El 
Protector program in Del Rio and developed public service broadcasts in 
Spanish about traffic safety issues such as loading and unloading 
school buses, drinking and driving, and pedestrian safety.
     Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff in Los Angeles 
reported that their system is equipped to receive calls in more than 
150 languages, although Spanish is the most frequent language used by 
911 callers who do not speak English.
     District of Columbia DMV information, forms, and support 
material are available in German, Spanish, French, Russian, Dutch, and 
Portuguese and can be downloaded from the division's Web site. The DC 
DMV also provides a ``City Services Guide'' in Chinese, Korean, 
Spanish, and Vietnamese. DC's ``Click It or Ticket'' program material 
and information on child safety seat loaner programs and fitting 
station locations are available in Spanish.
     The New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles administers 
driver's license tests in more than 15 languages, including Arabic, 
French, Greek, Korean, Portuguese, and Turkish.\16\

    \16\ DOT recommends that state agencies share such information, 
to avoid the necessity of each agency performing every translation.

     In North Dakota, while the Traffic Safety Office 
acknowledges a limited minority population requiring assistance with 
translation, the Driver Licensing Unit offers the option of an oral 
test in Spanish.
     The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) provides a 
Spanish version of the Commercial

[[Page 74099]]

Driver's License knowledge test using a touch screen computer, and 
study guides of the Iowa Driver's Manual in Albanian, Bosnian, Russian, 
Vietnamese, and Korean. IDOT established a liaison with a local 
community college to provide education for Bosnian refugees concerning 
the Commercial Motor Vehicle driving course.\17\

    \17\ DOT especially recommends the idea of working with local 
community colleges to educate the LEP community in transportation 

     The Wisconsin DOT created a 3rd grade level study guide, 
the Motorist Study Manual Easy Reader, which was translated by the 
Janesville Literacy Council into Spanish. Wisconsin DOT also provides 
the regular 6th grade level version of the Reader in English, Spanish, 
and Hmong; a Motorcycle Study Manual in English and Spanish; and a CDL 
(Commercial Driver's License) Study Manual in English and Spanish. In 
addition, Knowledge and Highway Sign Tests are written in 13 languages 
other than English, recorded on audiocassette tapes in English and 
Spanish, or orally interpreted by bilingual staffers obtained from a 
roster of Wisconsin DOT employees who speak, read, or write foreign 
     The Idaho Office of Traffic and Highway Safety implemented 
a Spanish-language safety belt media campaign to educate its Hispanic 
community on the statewide ``Click It, Don't Risk It!'' program to 
boost seat belt use. Information appears in Unido, Idaho's largest 
Spanish-language newspaper, and warns all motorists to buckle up or 
risk receiving a safety belt citation.
     The New Mexico State Highway and Transportation 
Department, with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) support, 
provides Spanish-language translations of its Right-of-Way Acquisition 
and Relocation brochures and also employs bilingual right-of-way agents 
to discuss project impacts in Spanish.
     The State of Oregon developed a report on multilingual 
services provided by state agencies. State agencies will use the final 
document to enhance their existing programs, including expanding 
communication efforts to serve and protect all Oregonians.
     The Texas DOT utilizes bilingual employees in its permit 
office to provide instruction and assistance to LEP Spanish-speaking 
truck drivers when providing permits to route overweight trucks through 
Texas. In its ``On the Job Training Supportive Services Program'' Texas 
DOT has used Spanish-language television to inform people who have 
difficulty reading English of opportunities in the construction 
     When the Virginia DOT (VDOT) became aware that several 
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms were about to be removed 
from construction projects in Northern Virginia because they required 
certified concrete inspectors, and that they could not comply because 
the concrete inspection test was only offered in English, it used 
supportive services funding from the Federal Highway Administration to 
translate the training manual and test material into Spanish. VDOT also 
provides tutoring for the DBE firms. The Virginia State Police 
maintains a written list of interpreters available statewide to 
troopers through the Red Cross Language Bank, as well as universities 
and local police departments.
     The Colorado State Patrol produced safety brochures in 
Spanish for farmers and ranchers. It has also printed brochures in 
Spanish pertaining to regulatory requirements for trucking firms.
     In preparation of its 20-year planning document, the 
Transportation Concept Report, the California DOT (Caltrans) held a 
public meeting titled ``Planning the Future of Highway 1'' in the 
largely Hispanic city of Guadalupe, through which Highway 1 runs. The 
meeting was broadcast on the local public access channel since many of 
the Spanish-speaking residents potentially affected by Highway 1 
projects rely on the channel to receive public affairs information. 
Caltrans provided a Spanish-language interpreter during the meeting and 
also made its Spanish-speaking public affairs officer available to meet 
with participants individually.
     During project planning for interstate improvements along 
Interstate 710 in California, engineers presented ``good'' alternatives 
to the affected communities; however, the proposed highway expansion 
would have removed low-income homes in communities that are 98% Spanish 
speaking. To ensure that their concerns were heard, California 
identified the affected communities and facilitated the establishment 
of Community Advisory Committees that held bilingual workshops between 
engineers and the public.
     The Minnesota DOT authored a manual detailing its 
requirements to provide access to all residents of Minnesota under 
environmental justice standards, which included ideas such as 
publishing notices in non-English newspapers, printing notices in 
appropriate languages, and providing interpreters at public meetings.
     In New Mexico, the Zuni Entrepreneurial Enterprises, Inc. 
(ZEE) Public Transportation Program designed the Zuni JOBLINKS program 
to develop, implement, and maintain a transportation system to link 
Native Americans and other traditionally unserved/underserved persons 
in the service area to needed vocational training and employment 
opportunities. Outreach for the program included radio announcements 
and posting of signs in English and Zuni that described ZEE's services 
and provided ZEE's phone number.
     Washington, DC's Metropolitan Area Transit Authority 
(WMATA) publishes pocket guides regarding its system in French, 
Spanish, German, and Japanese, and has a multilanguage website link.
     In North Dakota, Souris Basin Transportation (SBT) started 
using visual logos on the sides of the vehicles to help illiterate 
passengers identify the bus on which they were riding. Although the 
illiteracy rate has dropped among seniors, SBT kept the logos on its 
vehicles for use by the growing LEP population and also added 
volunteers who speak languages other than English (such as Spanish, 
German, Norwegian, Swedish, and French) available by phone to drivers 
and staff.
     New York City Transit MetroCard vending machines are 
located in every station and contain software that allows them to be 
programmed in three languages in addition to English, based upon area 
demographics. Currently, these machines are capable of providing 
information in Spanish, French, French Creole, Russian, Chinese, 
Japanese, Italian, Korean, Greek, and Polish.
     The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) 
advertises upcoming service and fare changes in Spanish, Korean, 
Vietnamese, and Chinese language newspapers. MARTA also produces a 
bilingual (Spanish/English) service modifications booklet.
     The Fort-Worth Transportation Authority communicates 
information about service and fare changes in Spanish and English. It 
recruits Spanish-speaking customer service representatives and bus 
operators and has a community outreach liaison who is bilingual. The 
transit provider also provides a Spanish-language interpreter at all 
public meetings.
     The Salt Lake City International Airport maintains a list 
of 35 bilingual and multilingual employees who speak one of 19 
languages (including three dialects of Chinese) and their contact 
information. The list is published in the

[[Page 74100]]

Airport Information Handbook and provided to all airport employees. The 
airport also contracts with a telephonic interpretation service to 
provide on-demand telephone interpretation services to beneficiaries.
     The Port of Seattle has 16 ``Pathfinders'' on staff who 
act as guides and information sources throughout the Seattle Tacoma 
International Airport. A key selection criterion for Pathfinders is 
multilingual ability. The Pathfinders collectively speak 15 languages 
and are often called on to act as interpreters for travelers who do not 
speak English. Pathfinders greet all international flights and are 
assigned to do so based on language skills.
     Seattle Tacoma International Airport's trains carry 
announcements in English, Japanese, and Korean. The Port of Seattle 
contributed $5,000 to the creation of the City of Tukwila's ``Newcomers 
Guide,'' which is published in six languages and includes information 
about the airport and Airport Jobs, a referral service for employment 
at the airport.
    The following is a sample notice that would be useful for 
recipients to add to the publications or signs for their programs, 
services, or activities, in order to notify LEP individuals of the 
availability of materials and services in other languages.

Sample Notice of Availability of Materials and Services

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For hearing-impaired individuals or 
non-English-speaking attendees wishing to arrange for a sign language 
or foreign language interpreter, please call or fax [name] of 
[organization] at Phone: xxx-yyy-zzzz, TTY: xxx-yyy-zzzz, or Fax: xxx-
yyy-zzzz.'' \18\

    \18\ If there is a known and substantial LEP population that may 
be served by the program discussed in the notice, the notice should 
be in the appropriate non-English language.

Appendix A to DOT Guidance

    DOT's Title VI regulation (49 CFR part 21) states the following, in 
relevant part:
    Sec. 21.5 Discrimination prohibited.
    (a) General. No person in the United States shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, 
be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination 
under, any program to which this part applies.
    (b) Specific discriminatory actions prohibited:
    (1) A recipient under any program to which this part applies may 
not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, on the 
grounds of race, color, or national origin.
    (i) Deny a person any service, financial aid, or other benefit 
provided under the program;
    (ii) Provide any service, financial aid, or other benefit to a 
person which is different, or is provided in a different manner, from 
that provided to others under the program;
    (iii) Subject a person to segregation or separate treatment in any 
matter related to his receipt of any service, financial aid, or other 
benefit under the program;
    (iv) Restrict a person in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage 
or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or 
other benefit under the program;
    (vi) Deny a person an opportunity to participate in the program 
through the provision of services or otherwise or afford him an 
opportunity to do so which is different from that afforded others under 
the program; or
    (vii) Deny a person the opportunity to participate as a member of a 
planning, advisory, or similar body which is an integral part of the 
    (2) A recipient, in determining the types of services, financial 
aid, or other benefits, or facilities which will be provided under any 
such program, or the class of person to whom, or the situations in 
which, such services, financial aid, other benefits, or facilities will 
be provided under any such program, or the class of persons to be 
afforded an opportunity to participate in any such program; may not, 
directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria 
or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting 
persons to discrimination because of their race, color, or national 
origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing 
accomplishment of the objectives of the program with respect to 
individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.
* * * * *
    (5) The enumeration of specific forms of prohibited discrimination 
in this paragraph does not limit the generality of the prohibition in 
paragraph (a) of this section.
* * * * *
    (7) This part does not prohibit the consideration of race, color, 
or national origin if the purpose and effect are to remove or overcome 
the consequences of practices or impediments which have restricted the 
availability of, or participation in, the program or activity receiving 
Federal financial assistance, on the grounds of race, color, or 
national origin.
[FR Doc. 05-23972 Filed 12-13-05; 8:45 am]