Access to information and equal opportunity is tied to access to the language of that country. There is a lot of diversity in New York State, where more than one language is spoken. The main spoken languages are Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian, French, and French Créole. Some people may know more than one language, for example Spanish and English. But others do not, and that is where things get complicated. Those who don’t speak more than one language, the language they speak is not English. About two and a half million New Yorkers do not speak English. They are unaware of their rights, do not know where to get help, who to ask for help, and what to do if in time of crisis or danger.
On October 6, 2011 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo order that states should provide free interpretation and translations services to non-English speakers for important forms and instructions. This is to be fulfilled with in one year. The Governor’s Deputy Secretary for Civil Right, Alphonso David, will be working with agencies to make this Executive Order happen.
The plan is already in motion, the New York State office of General Services has negotiated with all state agencies a discount for interpretation and translation services.
Non-English speakers will have the chance to access the benefits and resources that the state offers. This is not only going to be helpful for non-English speakers, but also for the state. It will improve the services that the state provides and the state will be able to keep track of which areas need what type of help.
Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order to Improve Access to State Services for Non-English Speakers Published: October 6, 2011