For a full video of our testimony, you can find the fully archived video here (starts at 14:40).

Since the passage of Language Access Ordinance, San Francisco city departments must provide translated materials and services in language to limited English proficient individuals (who make up 21% of San Francisco). As part of LANSF, CAA has found that many city departments are falling behind in fulfilling LAO through regular spot checks.

On Thursday, May 16th, we joined in with the Language Access Network San Francisco and directly impacted community members to testify at the Government Audit Oversight committee meeting on the continued language access barriers that immigrant communities face when accessing public services.

The Government Audit Oversight committee heard community concerns on language access as a result of poor translation between a robbery victim and the police interpreter. The owner of the Good Orchard Bakery was injured in a robbery and had to wait hours for assistance because the interpreter failed to report the severity of the crime to the dispatcher. The incident sparked concern and distrust among community members and highlighted ongoing language access disparities.

For example, all but 7 departments had a bilingual staff member to communicate with community members. City department staff also used hand signals and body language to communicate with community members, which are insufficient attempts to provide competent and adequate assistance to community members seeking city services. In worse cases, the staff simply told the community members they couldn’t be served at the time of visit and they either need to come back at a later time or continue to wait.

CAA will continue to fight for our LEP community members so that they are given equal access to government services they are entitled to. You can find LANSF’s findings and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors here.