Language Access Toolkit - Strategic Planning

Language Access Toolkit - Strategic PlanningEvaluate your court's language access practices with a self-assessment tool and review successful programs and other resources to help you create a long-term strategic plan to ensure language access in your court.

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet: Language Access
Soucre: California Courts Website
Language access needs in California and branch work on the issue

Limited English Proficiency

Federal Interagency Website: Limited English Proficiency
Source: www.lep.gov
Description: This site acts as a clearinghouse, providing and linking to information, tools, and technical assistance regarding limited English proficiency and language services for federal agencies, recipients of federal funds, users of federal programs and federally assisted programs, and other stakeholders.

Protocol and Action Guide for Serving LEP Court Users

Protocol for Serving Limited English Proficient Court Users
Whether you are a court employee who is working with the public in jury services, the self-help center or the clerk’s office, you have probably encountered members of the public who need help and do not speak English.  These encounters can be frustrating due to language barriers, and you may be left wondering whether you were able to help at all.  This protocol provides recommended steps for court employees to follow that will help them meet the needs of limited English proficient (LEP) court users.

Action Guide for Serving Limited English Proficient Court Users
The Action Guide is a shortened version of the protocol and is designed to be a quick reference guide to assist court employees. It can be placed  at various workstations throughout the courthouse (e.g., security, clerk counters, family law facilitator office or self-help centers). The Action Guide can be adapted by each court to provide court-specific information on the court’s available bilingual employees, telephonic interpreting services and translated resources.

Courthouse Design, Signage and Wayfinding

Wayfinding and Signage Strategies for Language Access in the California Courts: Report and Recommendations
The National Center for State Courts, in collaboration with the Language Access Plan Implementation Task Force, conducted four site visits to local courthouses and ten phone interviews with staff from a variety of courts across the state to explore the current use of bilingual and multilingual signage. This report compiles best practices from around the state in courthouse design and in the use of signage and wayfinding strategies to enhance access for LEP court users.  The report also makes specific recommendations regarding the incorporation of language access considerations in courthouse design and the use of technology to augment the court’s ability to provide information in multiple languages.

Glossary of Signage Terms and Icons
The Glossary of Signage Terms and Icons contains the following:

  • 73 common signage terms edited to render them in plain language to the maximum extent possible.
  • Translations of each of the terms into 10 languages (Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese). 
  • Recommendations on the type of font that is most appropriate for the each language. 
  • 25 icons available for use by the courts that are looking to add or standardize visual images on their physical signage or on local websites.

Please note: The attached document can be downloaded as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet can be filtered and organized to display the desired signage terms for individual courts. It is locked to avoid an accidental deletion of terms, but is not protected with a password—any user who has downloaded the file can "unprotect" it.

Processes

Model Procedures and Complaint Form
Best Practices for Superior Courts
Individual courts may choose to develop their local complaint form and process based on the materials contained in the model packet. A long-term goal is to develop a Rule of Court to make clear that all courts must develop a complaint form and process. Prior to adoption of a rule, courts will be able to use the model form and model procedures to set up their language access complaint process, and allow court users to submit a complaint or make suggestions regarding language access. If you would like to register a language access services complaint about Judicial Council meetings, forms, or other translations hosted on the California Courts website, please go to the Language Access Contact Us page for more information.

Coming soon: the model complaint form will be translated into multiple languages to assist LEP court users in their efforts to complete the form in English.

Los Angeles Superior Court's complaint process for issues with access to language services.
Source: Los Angeles Superior Court

Language Access Tools for Courts and Court Programs (Mindlin & Nelson)
Source: Transcend.net
Description: Two-page overview of steps for courts to take to ensure full language access

Assessment

Department of Justice Language Access Assessment
Source: Transcend.net

Department of Justice Language Access Instruments
Source: Transcend.net

Language Assistance Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance
Source: Transcend.net
Description: Assistance to courts in strategic planning for language access compliance.

Interpreters

Court Interpreters Program
Source: California Courts website
Description: Description of court interpreters program on California Courts website.

TIPS on Hiring the Right Telephone Interpretation Vendor
Source: www.lep.gov
Description: Recommended process and best practices for hiring the right telephone interpreter service for your court.

2015 Language Need and Interpreter Use Study
Source: California Courts website
Description: The study, conducted by the National Center for State Courts, details interpreter use in the trial courts for the fiscal year (FY) period FY 2009–FY 2013 and projects future language need.

Spanish Resources

Judicial Council of California Spanish-English Glossary
Source: Transcend.net
Description: Glossary of legal terms in Spanish and English developed by Transcend.

Language Access Universal Icon

Language Access Icons
Use of a universal language access icon helps LEP court users to easily identify language access services provided by the court.  Courts may use the language access icon (courtesy of Transcend) in their web and print materials, but not for any commercial purpose.

Translation Tools

Master Agreement for Translation Services (MA-201608)
The Judicial Council has entered a Master Agreement with Transcend Translations for translation services on behalf of Judicial Branch Entities (JBEs). JBEs, which include courts, may place individual orders for translation services by issuing a Purchase Order as described in Section 1 of the Agreement.

Translation Protocol
If your court is interested in translating documents for the public, we encourage you to review this Translation Protocol.  The Protocol is a model set of steps and standards for the translation of written documents that can be adapted for local court implementation.  It includes standards for professional translator credentials and guidelines for managing foreign language documents in your organization.

Translation Action Plan
This document creates a prioritized ranking for the translation of Judicial Council documents, including forms and orders, information sheets and website content.  The ranking provides a model for local courts that considers what documents are of greatest utility to court users and how to manage translation work with a limited budget.

Web Guidance Materials

Web Guidance Materials
Court web content guidance materials are designed to be helpful for courts to update their web sites to promote consistency and uniformity throughout the state, including: updating local language access and LEP plan web pages; web site placement of language access information; use of a universal language access icon; sample updated LEP plan template; and effective web practices in the California courts.

© 2017 Judicial Council of California