Language Access

The Language Access Technical Assistance Program facilitates an ongoing language access advisory committee and it provides technical assistance and resources to districts and other LEAs specific to language access.


The Language Access Self-Assessment serves to help identify a current baseline of language access services and to inform the creation of a language access plan.

Data Collection

Identifying Parents' Language Assistance Needs

School districts must have a process to determine parents' language needs, such as a home language survey or questions on an enrollment form about each parent's language needs. The OSPI Home Language Survey's Question #1 can be helpful for this data collection.

OSPI Home Language Survey Translated in 40 Languages


Language Access Service Evaluation Templates

Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, districts are to provide participants in interpreted initial IEPs, annual IEPs, or disciplinary reengagement meetings an opportunity to provide feedback on the effectiveness of interpretation and language access services. This template can be used for those purposes. It may be adapted as appropriate by the district.

Language Access Service Evaluation Templates


Providing Appropriate Services

Identifying Language Access Needs

Poster: We Can Help You in Your Language!
Use this multi-language poster to inform families how to request an interpreter or a translated document.

Interpreters & Translators

Master Contract for Phone Interpretation Services
The Department of Enterprise Services has a contract for phone interpretation that schools or districts can arrange to use. Once a school or district has set up an account, users can access interpreters in more than 170 different languages, 24 hours a day, every day of the year (no appointment needed). The interpreter can even listen and identify the language that the parent is speaking. With a phone interpreter, school staff can communicate with families who need assistance through an interpreter on the phone. This service can also be used for in-person meetings with the interpreter on speaker phone.

Master Contract for Written Translation Services
The Department of Enterprise Services has a contract for written translation that schools and districts can arrange to use.

Informing Families About Their Rights

Schools should take steps to inform parents that free translation and interpretation services are available and how to request these services.

Parents' Rights: Interpretation and Translation Services (School Template) - English
Schools can personalize these materials to inform families about their rights. This version has space for your district or school to include information about who to contact if parents have questions or concerns about language services. Schools can include this information in parent and student handbooks, make these materials available in the front office, or pass the information out to parents in back-to-school packets.

Translations of Parents' Rights Templates


Providing Guidance to District Staff on Working with Interpreters

This widely-accessed video includes some helpful reminders and tips for working with an interpreter during an interpreted session.

Other Resources

Glossary of Education Terms

See a Glossary of common Education Terms in Washington state. Please note, we are currently in the process of updating the glossaries and making them available in more languages.

Glossary of Education Terms - Russian | Spanish | Somali | Vietnamese is a clearinghouse of information, tools, and resources regarding language services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a student or child be asked to interpret or translate?

No. Schools may not rely on or ask students, siblings, or other children to interpret for parents. It is the school’s obligation to plan for and provide competent, adult interpreters and translators to communicate with parents.

What types of information must be translated?

School districts must ensure meaningful communication with LEP parents in a language they understand and adequately notify LEP parents of information about any program, service, or activity of the school district that is called to the attention of non-LEP parents.

At the school and district levels, this essential information includes but is not limited to information regarding:

  • Language assistance programs
  • Special education and related services
  • IEP meetings
  • Grievance procedures
  • Notices of nondiscrimination
  • Student discipline policies and procedures
  • Registration and enrollment
  • Report cards
  • Requests for parent permission for student participation in district or school activities
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Parent handbooks
  • Gifted and talented programs
  • Magnet and charter schools, and
  • Any other school and program choice options

Schools must translate this essential information when a significant percentage of the population in a school or school district needs the information in a language other than English. For less common languages, the district must still ensure that LEP parents are timely notified of the availability of free, qualified interpreters who can explain district- and school-related information that is communicated in writing to parents.

School and districts may also be required to provide written translations of specific types of documents under different laws, including but not limited to, certain student discipline or special education notices.

Can a school use machine translations like Google Translate?

Using web-based automatic translators (e.g., Google Translate) is appropriate only if: (1) the translated document accurately conveys the meaning of the source document, including accurate translations of technical vocabulary; and (2) the translation is reviewed and edited by someone qualified to do so.