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Language Access

  • Languages and dialects spoken in California—more than 250
  • Percentage of Californians that speak a non-English language at home: 44%
  • Percentage of Californians with English-language limitations: approximately 19% (more than 7 million)
  • Languages certified for court interpreters: 16 - Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Farsi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language
  • Spanish remains the most requested language by court users statewide (72% of all requests), followed by Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Arabic, and Punjabi

What is Language Access?

Language access allows limited-English-proficient (LEP) individuals access to a wide range of services. As defined by the U.S. Department of Justice, LEP individuals are persons who do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.

How Language Access Impacts Court Users

On January 22, 2015, the Judicial Council adopted the Strategic Plan for Language Access in the California Courts, which provides a consistent statewide approach to ensure language access for all LEP court users in California in all 58 superior courts. The plan set the goal that by 2017, qualified interpreters be provided in the California courts to LEP court users, at no cost to the LEP court user, in all courtroom proceedings. 

graphic of language needs in California