HHS EIR Accessibility Policy, Chapter 11: Spanish Language Translation

A person with limited English proficiency (LEP) is one whose primary language is not English and who has a limited ability to read, speak, and understand English. Federal law requires access to services for all people with LEP, regardless of their primary language. For additional information about these requirements, refer to Title VI, Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq. and HHS Circular C-013.

1 TAC §206.51(b)—To facilitate the use of state websites by people with limited English proficiency, in addition to English language content, and the provisions set forth in subsection (a) of this section, agencies should consider providing the content of their websites in the primary language or languages used by the people using the website.

This chapter addresses the translation of English text (source language) to an equivalent Spanish text (target language).

11.1 Spanish Language Content on Agency Websites

11.1.1 Meaningful Access

1 TAC §206.51(a)—Each state agency must make a reasonable effort to ensure that Spanish-speaking persons of limited English proficiency can meaningfully access state agency website information in accordance with provisions of Texas Government Code §2054.116.

To ensure meaningful access, each HHS agency must translate its vital external website program information, including forms and documents, into Spanish. Vital information from those documents should be interpreted when translations are not available for people who speak Spanish. If a person can speak only Spanish but cannot read or write, oral communication may be more effective.

Note: Awareness of rights or services is imperative to providing meaningful access.

11.1.2 Determining Vital Information

Determining if a document (or the information it solicits) is "vital" may depend upon

11.1.3 Translating Vital Electronic Documents

1 TAC §206.51(c)—An agency should use reasonable efforts in determining the parts of its website that should be translated into languages in addition to English. An agency should consider:

(1) the number or proportion of people in the eligible service population with limited English proficiency;

(2) the frequency with which those individuals contact the program;

(3) the importance of the services provided; and

(4) the resources available to the recipient agency and costs.

Each HHS agency should develop procedures, including time frames, for translating vital electronic documents into Spanish. Types of online documents HHS agencies should translate include

Types of information that is not vital include

For example, a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application form is vital, while general nutrition information is not.

11.2 Training and Tools for Employees

Each HHS agency provides language services information on its intranet site that contains