Getting Help in Your Language

If you do not speak English well, you have the right to get help from the county in your primary language

  • YOU get to say which language you need. The county must let you get services in the language you need to use. Ask for the language that is most comfortable for you for speaking and reading.
    • Be careful! If you pick English for your written information, the county will think you understand English well or you have your own qualified interpreter. Using your own interpreter can mean not getting full or correct information, or getting the translation late. You could lose your rights!
  • YOU have a right to a free interpreter. If you ask for an interpreter, the county must give you one. They should not charge you or ask you to bring your own interpreter. The interpreter the county provides must be able to speak both English and your language very well. The interpreter must keep your information that he or she interprets private. Ask for another interpreter if there is a problem with the interpreter.
  • YOU have a right to written materials in your language. If the state has translated the information you need, the county must give you the written translation. It does not matter how many people in your county speak that language.
    • Sometimes the state has not translated the materials into your language. In that case, the county must interpret the information for you. Tell the county if you need an oral explanation of materials because of reading problems.

What if I have problems getting language services?

  • Use this form to ask for an interpreter or translations.
  • If the county refuses to provide information in the language you need, it may be discriminating against you. You can file a discrimination complaint. This helps the county follow the law. It is not bad thing for you to complain. You have the right to file a complaint against the county. Call toll free: (866) 741-6241 or (800) 735-2929 (California Relay Services).
  • Call your local legal aid office for help.

PDF Form - Request for Language Assistance

PDF version of this fact sheet - Getting Help in Your Language

If you need legal help, contact Legal Services of Northern California.