Who Must Provide You With An Interpreter?
• Most hospitals
• Legal Aid and Public Defender
• Public and Charter Schools (but not Catholic or other private schools)
• Public Housing Agencies
• All Federal agencies like Social Security, Veterans Administration, Internal Revenue Service
• State agencies like Unemployment Compensation and the BMV
• County agencies that handle public assistance and Medicaid benefits
Asking For An Interpreter
Ask an employee of the court, agency or organization for an interpreter.
If a court does not provide you with an interpreter, click here for information on your rights and how to file a complaint.
If another organization or agency does not provide you with an interpreter, try asking to speak with a supervisor, customer service person or ombudsman (person who hears complaints).
If they say no, ask a supervisor, customer service person, or ombudsman (person who hears complaints) for an interpreter.
If they still do not provide an interpreter, you may file a complaint against them with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). You may either send a letter or use DOJ's complaint form, in English or your first language. You should explain when and how they did not speak to you in your language or provide you an interpreter. Keep a copy of the complaint for your records. Send the letter or form to:
Office for Civil Rights
Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
810 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
DOJ will respond with a letter or phone call.