Language block and language block stuffer
Background: DHS is required to include a language block (LB) on most public documents. Federal statutes and regulations require that governmental entities, including their independent contractors, provide meaningful access to their public services for people with limited English proficiency (LEP). DHS fulfillment includes giving notice of language assistance in publications intended for the general public. To ensure consistent notification to the public of their right to meaningful access, DHS uses the LB, which is a graphic block of text developed to ensure consistent notification of the right to free help in 10 languages in interpreting specified DHS documents. These languages are Arabic, Hmong, Khmer (Cambodian), Lao, Oromo, Russian, Serbo-Croatian (Bosnian), Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.
DHS uses three versions depending on the purpose of the document and the audience:
- LB1: Attention. If you need free help interpreting this document, ask your worker or call the number below for your language.
- LB2: Attention. If you need free help interpreting this document, call _____________.
- LB3: Attention. If you need free help interpreting this document, call the above number.
LB1 lists the telephone numbers for the DHS Multilingual Referral Line (MRL). This is a referral service provided in 10 languages that connects LEP callers with interpreters, who help them by connecting them to staff who, with the aid of a an interpreting, and it is not intended to be an interpreting service. MRL staff will not interpret written documents for the caller. Instead they will connect the caller to a staff person in DHS or a county agency who will respond to the caller’s request. LB1 cannot be used on documents without prior approval from the DHS LEP coordinator.
LB2 and LB3 list the phone numbers for the program area responsible for the document. Approval is not needed to use LB2 and LB3, which are primarily used by counties and other DHS partner organizations on their documents as needed. Keep in mind that staff answering the phone numbers listed in LB2 and LB3 must be prepared to take calls from non-English speaking clients and should have an LEP Plan in place. For more information, see the LEP Plan or contact the DHS LEP coordinator.
Sample of LB3
Language block stuffer
Occasionally when it is not practical there isn’t enough room to include a LB in a document, a language block stuffer can be used instead. The stuffer is a copy of LB1 printed two-sided on an 8.5-inch by 5.5-inch sheet of paper. The LB symbol below is used on DHS documents to indicate that a LB stuffer must be included with that publication, and is located in the upper-right corner of the document. For more information about how to use the stuffer, contact DHS Translation.
Document with LB symbol in upper-right corner
LB stuffer symbol