Language Access

What is language access?

 “Language access” means providing individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) people with reasonable access to the same services as English-speaking individuals. New Hanover County is currently working on a Language Access Plan that will help us offer more equitable services and enhance inclusivity in our community across all county departments to build bridges in communication.

There are more than 51 languages spoken in New Hanover County and this plan will address and outline our efforts to empower individuals with limited English proficiency and enable them to fully engage with and access services throughout the county. The collaborative plan will include interpretation by trained and certified interpreters, translations of written documents, increasing multilingual staff as resources, language access hotlines, training programs, and more.

Language Access Collaborative

New Hanover County was selected to participate in the Language Access Collaborative, an initiative that brings together local governments and community-based organizations to build inclusive practices and policies related to language access, learn from immigrant leaders and language access practitioners, conduct assessments, and create language access plans to expand communication with residents in community languages.

Photo of the New Hanover County Language Access Collaborative team members
  • Melvin Felipe, Cape Fear Latinos
  • Lauren McConville, New Hanover County
  • Monica Rohena, New Hanover County
  • Marimer McKenzie, New Hanover County
  • Linda Thompson, New Hanover County
  • Fawn Rhodes, New Hanover County
  • Jean Lozada, Cape Fear Latinos
  • Vannia Raya, Cape Fear Latinos (not pictured)

New Hanover County Language Resources

New Hanover County has a number of resources readily available to residents with additional communication needs. If you do not see a resource listed below that meets your specific needs or would like further information on these resources, please reach out to the Office of Diversity and Equity at 910-798-7430.

  • The Language Line is available at all customer-facing facilities to provide access to live interpreters in 240 languages. Once connected through a phone line, an interpreter will translate for the customer and the employee throughout the transaction. Employees serving customers who are deaf or hard of hearing will have access to sign language video interpretation through an app at the following locations:
County FacilityDevice Location
Government CenterCustomer Service Counter, first floor
Health and Human ServicesFirst floor, front desk reception
Sheriff's OfficeDetension Division, front desk
320 Chestnut StreetRegister of Deeds' office
Northeast LibraryReference desk
Downtown LibraryReference desk
Pine Valley LibraryReference desk
Carolina Beach LibraryReference desk
Cape Fear MuseumFront desk/lobby area
Senior Resource CenterFront desk/lobby area
  • On-site multilingual staff at the NHC Government Center, Sheriff’s Office, and Health and Human Services facility.
  • County-wide enhancements to include bilingual signage on buildings and at county facilities.
  • Re-designed county website that includes translation access for up to 133 languages, as well as an online feature for individuals with visual impairments.
  • Ongoing work to translate vital county documents
  • Additional accommodations for language needs: https://www.nhcgov.com/314/ADA-Compliance