What if I do not speak English?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

If English is not your primary language, DTA must provide you with a bilingual DTA worker or communicate through a translation service.

When calling the DTA Assistance Line, DTA has a recording with the prompts you can push to get service in your language. The Assistance Line language capacity in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, and a separate prompt to push for other languages. 

If you select a language other than English, then: 

  • You should be connected to a bilingual DTA worker, or 
  • The DTA worker should add a bilingual DTA interpreter to do a three-way call with you, or 
  • The DTA worker should use their language line interpreter service.

Under federal law, DTA must provide you with an interpreter if you need one. DTA should not tell you to bring your own interpreter. See Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. DTA should not tell you to have a family member interpret for you.

When you fill out the application, be sure to tell DTA what language you prefer!

DTA Online applications at DTAConnect.com are currently in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

DTA paper applications are available in 13 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Italian, Polish, Arabic and English. You can download and print these applications at Mass.gov/snap.

DTA notices and forms (like recertification and interim reports) are currently only in English and Spanish. DTA also sends a standard flier in other languages that recommends you get the information translated. 

DTA Connect and languages: The “preferred language” question on the DTAConnect.com online application currently defaults to English, even for applications filed in languages other than English. As of the writing of this Guide, DTA does not record the language of the application if it differs from the “preferred language” question answer.  

Language Access Resources: For more information on the federal and state government’s duties to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP), see www.lep.gov and www.justice.gov/crt/executive-order-13166.

​Contact MLRI at [email protected] if DTA contacts an LEP applicant or Snap recipient in English and/or refuses to provide an interpreter for a client who speaks a language other than English.

DTA Online Guide: See Appendix G for links to the DTA's BEACON 5 Online Guide for this section.


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