Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Non-English Proficient (NEP)?

The term, Limited English Proficient, refers to persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who speak, read, write, and understand English less than "very well." 

The term, Non-English Proficient, refers to persons who cannot speak, read, write, and/or understand the English language. 


What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

The terms, "translation" and "interpretation" are often used interchangeably although they have two separate meanings. 

  • Translation is the written conversion of texts in the source language into texts written in the target language, retaining the meaning and intent of the original source text and producing a culturally competent product. 
  • Interpretation is the verbal conversion of the meaning of a dialogue from one language to another.


What are the common types of interpretation? 

There are three common types of interpretation. 

  1. Consecutive Interpretation: When an interpreter interprets what the speaker has said orally after the speak has communicated. Each speaker should pause and allow the other to speak. This involves note taking and memory. 
  2. Simultaneous Interpretation: When an interpreter speaks at the same time as the source language speaker. This often requires auditory equipment and is typically used in large settings such as community events. 
  3. Sight Interpretation: When the interpreter reads a document in one language and translates it orally into another language.


What is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (commonly known as Title VI) and how is it relevant to interpretation and translation services?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights law which prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. Title VI is the part of this law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in activities and programs that receive federal funding. A 1974 Supreme Court case found that limiting meaningful participation of non-English speakers in a federally-funded program violates Title VI, and since then, other courts have decided that a failure to provide meaningful language access to LEP persons is national origin discrimination under Title VI.


What kind of language access is an LEP person entitled to have when participating in federally-funded activities or programs?

Title VI does not necessarily require federally-funded activities/programs to hire their own interpreters. Federally-funded activities/programs must only do what is reasonable within their abilities that will let LEP persons participate meaningfully. This may mean that a federally-funded program/activity will offer language access to LEP persons through contract interpreters or interpreting services such as AACS's I&T department or through phone interpreting services.


What does the most important part of Title VI say?

"No person in the United States 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."
-42 U.S.C. ยง 2000d


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Interpreting Hotline:614-216-4988