Language Access

  • Languages and dialects spoken in California—more than 200
  • Percentage of Californians that speak a non-English language at home: 44%
  • Percentage of Californians with English-language limitations: approximately 17.4% (more than 6.4 million)
  • Languages certified for court interpreters: American Sign Language and 15 spoken languages—Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Farsi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese
  • Spanish remains the most interpreted language in courtroom proceedings statewide (91%), followed by Vietnamese, American Sign Language, Mandarin, and Cantonese

*Source: 2020 Language Need and Interpreter Use Study

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.

Multilingual Resources for Court Users

The Language Access Toolkit contains multilingual resources to help court users understand how to work with an interpreter and better understand the court process.

graphic of language needs in California