22.31.1  IRS Language Services

Manual Transmittal

November 06, 2012

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 22.31.1, Multilingual Initiative, IRS Language Services.

Background

This IRM provides guidelines and procedures for implementing the requirements of Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency and complying with Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes were made throughout the IRM.

(2) This IRM has been reorganized to combine related subsections and group similar topics in new subsections, and to clarify guidance and improve reading flow.

(3) These updates provide changes made since the IRM was initially finalized, including:

  • Processes (e.g., expanded explanation of translation process)

  • Organizations (e.g., correction of organizational names and clarification of roles and responsibilities)

  • Products (e.g., specific products provided)

  • Services (e.g., specific services offered)

  • Standards (e.g., standard dictionaries, terms, and phrases to use)

(4) The following subsections have been removed and subsequent subsections have been renumbered:

  • IRM 22.31.1.3.3 - The Virtual Translation Office

  • IRM 22.31.1.7.3 - Peer Quality Reviewer

  • IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4 - Request for Translation of Vital Notices, Letters, and Notice Related Documents

  • IRM 22.31.1.9 - Internal Revenue Computer-Assisted Translation (IRCAT)

  • IRM 22.31.1.9.1 - WorldServer Policy and Procedures

  • IRM 22.31.1.9.2 - IRCAT Glossaries, Dictionaries, Lexicons, etc

  • IRM 22.31.1.9.3 - Multilingual Document Repository

  • IRM 22.31.1.9.4 - Issue resolution

  • IRM 22.31.1.9.5 - Policy and Procedural Communications

(5) IRM 22.31.1.3.3 – Added new subsection called Asian Language Cadre to provide information about activities related to delivering Asian language services.

(6) IRM 22.31.1.5.3 (3) Table – Added Multilingual Gateway as product/service that the Multilingual and Agency Services Branch provides.

(7) IRM 22.31.1.6.1 (3) – Updated actions that would be taken on regularly encountered languages.

(8) IRM 22.31.1.6.2 (5) – Updated information on written language assistance standards.

(9) IRM 22.31.1.6.3 (2) – Updated information on Publication 850, which establishes uniformity in language usage in IRS tax products.

(10) IRM 22.31.1.6.3 (3) – Added new paragraph to advise that Document 12714 (IRS Spanish Writing Style Guide) must be used when performing translations or preparing Spanish-language material.

(11) IRM 22.31.1.6.3 (4) – Added information on the translation assessments and documents that should be used as the standard dialect for translations.

(12) IRM 22.31.1.7 – Updated the language certification process for translated documents.

(13) IRM 22.31.1.7.1 – Added new subsection called Certifying Individuals in Other Non-English Languages.

(14) IRM 22.31.1.7.1.1 – Added new subsection called Language Certification Level 1 – Minimal Performance.

(15) IRM 22.31.1.7.1.2 – Added new subsection called Language Certification Level 2 – Limited Performance.

(16) IRM 22.31.1.7.1.3 – Added new subsection called Language Certification Level 3 – Professional Performance.

(17) IRM 22.31.1.8 (4) – Added additional materials that may be included in the Standard Translation Process.

(18) IRM 22.31.1.8 (7) – Added new paragraph with Figure 22.31.1-1a and Figure 22.31.1-1b to illustrate the Standard Translation Process.

(19) IRM 22.31.1.8.1.1 (2) – Added various African languages, Arabic, and Iranian Farsi to the list of languages that can be translated into English.

(20) IRM 22.31.1.8.2 (3) – Deleted information regarding Form 13779 (Translation Approval Form).

(21) IRM 22.31.1.8.3 (4) – Deleted information regarding Form 13779 (Translation Approval Form).

(22) IRM 22.31.1.8.3 (6) – Added a new paragraph to explain the determination that must be made after the impact assessment is completed.

(23) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.2 – Updated procedures for approving documents for translations and removed information regarding Form 13779 (Translation Approval Form).

(24) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.3 (2) – Added new paragraph to indicate that whenever possible, electronic files should be provided when requesting that vital documents be translated/reviewed.

(25) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.3 (3) – Added new paragraph to indicate that TF&P quality reviewers translate/review vital documents.

(26) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4 (2) – Added new paragraph to indicate the Publishing Services Request process will be used to submit non-vital document translation requests.

(27) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4 (5) – Added new paragraph to provide the guidelines for requesting translation services.

(28) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4.1 – Added new subsection called Requesting Delivery Dates of Translated Non-Vital Documents.

(29) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.5 – Updated the procedures for performing quality review of translated non-vital documents.

(30) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.5.1 – Added new subsection called Requesting Delivery Dates of Non-Vital Documents that Undergo Quality Review.

(31) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.6 – Added new subsection called Proofreading of Non-Vital Documents.

(32) IRM 22.31.1.8.4.7 (3) – Deleted Figure 22.31.1-2a, which is a flowchart illustrating the maintenance of translated documents, and Figure 22.31.1-2b, which is a flowchart of the Standard Translation Process.

(33) IRM 22.31.1.9 – Added new subsection called Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI) Service.

(34) IRM 22.31.1.9.1 – Added new subsection called OPI Participants and Contacts.

(35) IRM 22.31.1.9.2 – Added new subsection called Before Using OPI Service.

(36) IRM 22.31.1.9.3 – Added new subsection called How to Access OPI Service.

(37) IRM 22.31.1.9.3.1 – Added new subsection called Providing Feedback on OPI Use.

(38) IRM 22.31.1.9.4 – Added new subsection called Invoice Review Criteria for OPI Service.

(39) IRM 22.31.1.9.5 – Added new subsection called Timely Invoice Payment for OPI Service.

(40) IRM 22.31.1.9.6 – Added new subsection called Updated Program Information on OPI Service.

(41) IRM 22.31.1.10 – Updated to include procedures on the Multilingual Gateway Site.

(42) IRM 22.31.1.10.3 – Added new subsection called Content Management.

(43) IRM 22.31.1.10.3.2 – Added new subsection called LPTS Multilingual Gateway Content Manager.

(44) IRM 22.31.1.10.4 – Added new subsection called Transmitting Submission Packages to LPTS.

(45) IRM 22.31.1.10.5 – Updated to include procedures on the Multilingual Gateway.

(46) IRM 22.31.1.10.6 – Updated to include procedures on the Multilingual Gateway.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 22.31.1 dated April 1, 2006 is superseded.

Audience

All IRS employees, vendors, contractors, etc. who provide oral and written language assistance to Limited English Proficiency and non-English speaking taxpayers.

Effective Date

(11-06-2012)

Related Resources

The Multilingual and Agency Services website, http://mli.web.irs.gov/v3/home/index.asp or at your BOD Intranet site

The IRS Language Resources Intranet website can be found at http://mli.web.irs.gov/v5/index.asp..

Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, can be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/Pubs/eolep.php.

Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 (June 18, 2002), Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, can be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/lep/DOJFinLEPFRJun182002.php.

Department of Treasury LEP Guidance, 70 FR 6067 (February 4, 2005), Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, can be found at http://www.lep.gov/guidance/depttreas_lep_guide_final.pdf.

Stacey Becker
Director, Tax Forms and Publications
Wage and Investment Division

22.31.1.1  (11-06-2012)
IRS Language Services Program Introduction

  1. This IRM provides guidance for implementing the Language Services (LS) Program throughout the IRS.

  2. The LS Program demonstrates IRS' commitment to assist taxpayers lacking full command of the English language ("limited English proficient" or "LEP" ) with understanding and meeting their tax responsibilities.

  3. This IRM’s target audience is IRS employees who serve taxpayers lacking full command of the English language because it is not their primary language.

  4. The scope of the LS Program includes all tax-related written and oral assistance provided for taxpayers in non-English languages. It does not apply to Braille or American Sign Language, or internal use documents or information.

  5. The LS Program is Service-wide. All IRS organizations and their agents (e.g., contractors, volunteers) must uphold its requirements.

  6. The LS Program, through the Standard Translation Process (STP) establishes procedures, processes, and requirements for translation.

  7. Research identifies initiatives that increase IRS' understanding of LEP customer needs.

  8. Language assistance is available through the over the phone interpreter (OPI) service (IRM 22.31.1.9), fact sheets, bilingual assisters, telephone help lines, translated forms and publications, Publication 850, IRS.gov, the Español website and Multilingual Gateway (IRM 22.31.1.10), and many other resources.

22.31.1.1.1  (11-06-2012)
Executive Order 13166 - Limited English Proficient (LEP) Persons and Other Authority

  1. Executive Order (EO) 13166 mandates Federal agencies to provide LEP persons meaningful access to products and services. The EO defines "providing meaningful access" as:

    "…ensuring that the language assistance provides results in accurate and effective communication between the agency and the customer about the types of service and benefits available."

  2. Federal agencies must develop a written language assistance policy and guidelines under Department of Justice LEP Guidance, 67 FR 41455 (June 18, 2002) and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance, 70 FR 6067 (February 4, 2005) to provide oral and written language assistance to regularly encountered LEP populations (within resource constraints).

  3. The aforementioned LEP guidance requires assessment of language assistance needs based on the following factors:

    • Number and/or proportion of "regularly encountered" LEP person

    • Frequency with which LEP persons are encountered

    • Importance of the service to the LEP and general population

    • Resources needed to provide language assistance

  4. IRS, under the LEP guidance previously mentioned, requires identification, translation (for written materials), and/or interpretation (of spoken interactions) of tax-related items vital to LEP taxpayers who speak regularly-encountered languages if there are no alternative means to get the same information.

  5. The aforementioned guidance requires the evaluation and reassessment of the language assistance program at least every three years to ensure compliance.

22.31.1.1.2  (11-06-2012)
IRS Language Services Policy Statement

  1. Policy Statement 22-3 (see IRM 1.2.22.1.3) affirms IRS' commitment to help non-English speaking taxpayers understand their tax obligations as follows:

    "The IRS commits to provide top quality service to each taxpayer, including those who lack a full command of the English language. The needs of these taxpayers will be included in the agency strategic plans, consistent with available resources. Language assistance may be provided, within resource constraints."

22.31.1.2  (11-06-2012)
Definition of Terms

  1. This section lists terms and definitions that will be used throughout this IRM.

22.31.1.2.1  (11-06-2012)
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Persons

  1. IRS defines LEP persons as individuals whose primary language is not English and who cannot speak, read, write, or understand English at a level that permits them to effectively obtain benefits and services to which they may be entitled or to meet their Federally-mandated responsibilities.

  2. IRS further defines LEP persons as those who either do not speak English well or do not speak English at all, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

22.31.1.2.2  (11-06-2012)
Regularly Encountered Languages

  1. Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 provide specific translation requirements for regularly encountered LEP language groups.

  2. Regularly encountered languages, as defined by the aforementioned LEP guidance, are determined by taking into consideration the number and/or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served and the frequency of interaction with the agency.

22.31.1.2.3  (11-06-2012)
"Vital" Documents (or Tax Products) for Translation

  1. Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 require translation for the regularly encountered LEP language groups of documents considered vital.

  2. Pursuant to the LEP guidance mentioned above, IRS defines documents vital for translation as those:

    • Containing critical information for accessing tax services, rights, and/or benefits; or

    • Required by law; and

    • Having no "alternate means" for obtaining the information in the LEP language.

  3. Vital documents are translated by the bilingual staff of the Individual and Business [Tax Forms] Branches in the Tax Forms and Publications (TF&P) Division, and will receive priority in the translation process.

    Note:

    All tax products originated by the TF&P Division are considered vital documents.

  4. Vital documents will only be translated into "regularly encountered" languages.

  5. During the LEP Needs Assessment Process, IRS documents are reviewed and a determination is made about which IRS documents are considered vital (IRM 22.31.1.5).

22.31.1.2.4  (11-06-2012)
"Non-Vital" Documents (or Non-Tax Products) for Translation

  1. IRS documents that do not meet the “vital” document criteria will be categorized as non-vital.

  2. Non-vital documents are categorized as either national relevance or local relevance . The category of the non-vital document will determine the priority in which it is processed.

  3. Non-vital Documents with nationwide relevance:

    1. Are distributed nationally

    2. Have nationwide impact on the general public

    3. May contain technical tax information

  4. Non-vital Documents with local relevance:

    1. Are only distributed locally

    2. Have particular relevance to the local LEP population

    3. Contain no technical tax information

    4. Are general or administrative in nature

22.31.1.3  (11-06-2012)
Language Services Program Oversight

  1. The Language Services Executive Committee (LSEC) serves as the executive oversight board, and is the Service-wide focal point for language services communications, coordination, and risk management.

  2. Ownership of the Language Services Program resides with the Wage and Investment (W&I) Commissioner.

  3. The Director of Media and Publications within W&I serves as the Language Services Program executive director and is responsible for interfacing in conflict resolution, managing funding, approving priority status, and chairing the LSEC.

  4. The Multilingual and Agency Services (MAS) Branch within W&I Media and Publications manages language services strategic operations.

22.31.1.3.1  (11-06-2012)
Language Services Executive Council (LSEC)

  1. The LSEC serves as the oversight board that establishes the language services strategic vision. Responsibilities include:

    1. Establishing policy and major areas of focus relative to the Language Services Program

    2. Coordinating resolution of cross-functional policy issues (e.g., human capital issues) relevant to the Language Services Program

    3. Defining Service-wide improvement initiatives related to LEP taxpayers

    4. Ensuring communication, coordination, and risk management for all Language Services initiatives

  2. The LSEC chairperson is the Director of Media and Publications who:

    1. Provides direction and oversight to the LSEC

    2. Acts as liaison between the LSEC and the W&I Commissioner

  3. LSEC members include executive representatives from organizations such as (there may be more than one representative from each):

    • W&I

    • SB/SE

    • TE/GE

    • Human Capital Office

    • Accounts Management

    • LB&I

    • Communications and Liaison

    • Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

    • Appeals

    • Criminal Investigation (CI)

    • Office of Taxpayer Correspondence

    • Chief Counsel

  4. Other IRS internal stakeholders who have a vested interest in service to LEP taxpayers are non-voting participants of the LSEC.

22.31.1.3.2  (11-06-2012)
Multilingual and Agency Services (MAS)

  1. The mission of MAS is to facilitate IRS’ administration of policies and strategies supporting delivery of language assistance to LEP taxpayers.

  2. MAS works with the LSEC to provide oversight of language services implementation.

  3. MAS monitors compliance with Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 by:

    1. Working with W&I Research to conduct environmental scans and related research to identify regularly encountered languages

    2. Developing and administering the IRS language assistance policies and standards

    3. Coordinating the identification of documents vital for translation into the "regularly encountered" LEP language(s)

    4. Monitoring the communication, product, and service needs of the regularly encountered LEP community

    5. Implementing the Language Assistance Strategic Process, involving analysis to better understand the LEP customer base and developing strategic documents for Service-wide use

  4. MAS is responsible for the Español and Multilingual Gateway websites on IRS.gov (IRM 22.31.1.10.).

22.31.1.3.3  (11-06-2012)
Asian Language Cadre

  1. The Asian Language Cadre has Service-wide functional and language subject matter experts (SMEs) from different Business Operating Divisions (BODs) supporting MAS to deliver Asian language services. Major areas of focus include:

    1. Addressing policy, procedures, and standards related to the top Asian languages in the U.S. (i.e., Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian)

    2. Using SMEs and language experts to help IRS deliver consistent, accurate and timely Asian languages communications

    3. Establishing a process to provide internal review of translated materials in the top Asian languages and display the content through the Multilingual Gateway for public access

  2. The Asian Language Cadre Executive Champion role includes:

    1. Representing the cadre in the LSEC to identify, communicate, and coordinate policy issues related to the IRS Language Services Program

    2. Ensuring that Service-wide issues related to delivery of products and services in non- English languages are efficient and addressed across the IRS in a timely manner

  3. Asian Language Cadre members include representatives from the following organizations (there may be more than one representative from each area):

    • W&I

    • LB&I

    • SB/SE

    • TE/GE

    • Agency-Wide Shared Services

    • Communications and Liaison

    • TAS

    • Appeals

22.31.1.4  (11-06-2012)
LEP Strategic Process

  1. The LEP Strategic Process establishes the methodology for development of the Service-wide LEP Strategy. The strategy is documented as part of LEP Strategic Plan.

  2. The LEP Strategic Process integrates the needs of the regularly encountered LEP language group(s) into the IRS Strategic Planning Process.

  3. The MAS Branch will conduct the necessary assessments to develop the LEP Customer Base Report.

  4. The LSEC utilizes the LEP Customer Base Report, LSEC meetings, Language Services Summit meetings, and LEP Strategy Team activities, to develop the LEP Strategic Plan.

  5. The MAS Branch crosswalks the LEP Strategic Plan with the IRS Strategic Plan and works with BODs to incorporate LEP strategies and operating priorities into BOD strategic plans.

22.31.1.4.1  (11-06-2012)
LEP Strategic Plan

  1. The LEP Strategic Plan includes IRS strategies, operating priorities and improvement projects related to language services.

  2. The LEP Strategic Plan is the source for recommended improvements to products and services for the LEP customer base. The objectives of the LEP Strategic Plan are delivered by the BODs and/or functions.

  3. The LSEC has responsibility for development and oversight of the language assistance strategies, operational priorities and improvement projects.

  4. The MAS Branch works with BODs to obtain buy-in and incorporate LEP improvement projects into BOD strategic plans to deliver the requirements of the IRS Strategic Plan.

22.31.1.5  (11-06-2012)
LEP Needs Assessment

  1. The LEP Needs Assessment is the formal process used to obtain feedback from LEP taxpayers and stakeholders (external and internal) on LEP customer needs related to tax responsibilities.

  2. The LEP Needs Assessment provides a three-pronged approach to identifying LEP taxpayer communication, product, vital document, and service needs. A report of the findings is issued after the assessment.

  3. The LEP Needs Assessment process includes the:

    • Demographic Assessment

    • External Needs Assessment

    • Internal Needs Assessment

    • IRS LEP Customer Base Report

22.31.1.5.1  (11-06-2012)
LEP Demographic Assessment

  1. The LEP Demographic Assessment is the Service-wide resource for demographic data on the LEP customer base.

  2. This assessment process includes environmental scans, such as research studies, and data from U.S. Census reports to provide demographics and other characteristics of the LEP customer base.

  3. Information in this assessment will identify the "regularly encountered" LEP languages and areas with high concentrations of LEP persons.

  4. The assessment provides the following information on the largest LEP language groups:

    LEP Profiles
    Demographics
    • Languages

    • Numbers

    • Location (National, State, Zip Code)

    • Ethnic Islands and Communities

    • Number of tax returns

    Characteristics
    • Economic

    • Local

    • Household

    • Social

    • Ancestry

    • Date of U.S. entry

    • E-filers

    • EITC filers

    • Comparison to nationwide population

    • Filing habits (adjusted gross income, refunds, balance due, dependents, income, tax withheld, age, preparer [(self or paid])

22.31.1.5.2  (11-06-2012)
External LEP Needs Assessment

  1. The External Needs Assessment is a mechanism to obtain direct taxpayer and stakeholder input on the needs of LEP customers, including "vital" document needs.

  2. Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 require routine assessment of communication, product, and service needs of the regularly encountered LEP language groups.

  3. The External LEP Needs Assessment includes analysis on data and feedback from various external sources to include the LEP taxpayer.

    Area Methodology and Frequency Information Obtained
    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
    • General survey of LEP taxpayers and VITA/TCE Site Coordinators

    • Every two years

    • Trends

    • Vital documents

    • Language needs

    • Effectiveness of products and services

    • Communication needs

    Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)
    • General survey of LEP taxpayers and LITCs Directors

    • Every two years

    • Trends

    • Vital documents

    • Language needs

    • Effectiveness of products and services

    • Communication needs

    Stakeholder, Partnership, Education, and Communication
    • Direct LEP taxpayer input through face-to-face survey and/or focus groups on specific topics

    • Stakeholder feedback through partners

    • Every two years

    • Information on specific issues and concerns

    Spanish Language Product Surveys
    • Direct LEP taxpayer input on specific services received

    • Ongoing/Annual

    • Effectiveness of products and services

    Tax Practitioner Survey
    • Tax practitioner input through face-to-face survey and/or focus groups

    • Every two years

    • Trends

    • Vital documents

    • Language needs

    • Effectiveness of products and services

    • Communication needs

22.31.1.5.3  (11-06-2012)
Internal LEP Needs Assessment

  1. The Internal LEP Needs Assessment is performed to meet Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 requirements to evaluate the following:

    • Agency points of contact to determine where language assistance is likely to be needed

    • Resources needed to provide effective language assistance

    • Location and availability of the (current) resources

    • Arrangements that must be made to access these resources in a timely fashion

  2. This assessment focuses on the identification of documents vital for LEP taxpayers and internal communication/training needs related to providing service to LEP taxpayers.

  3. The Internal LEP Assessment includes analysis on data and input from various internal sources (See table below). Information obtained includes:

    • Number of locations providing language assistance (state and national)

    • Site information (location, languages offered)

    • Bilingual employee information (number, languages spoken, tools available, training provided, bilingual partners)

    • Demand (total volume by language, location volume by language)

    • Cost (direct, indirect, training, overhead)

    • Reviews/Oversight (e.g., Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) audits, operational reviews)

    • Translated Documents (vital and non-vital)

    Points of Contact Products and Services
    Field Assistance
    • Over the Phone Interpreter (OPI)

    • Kiosks

    • Bilingual employees

    Accounts Management
    • Spanish Telephone Calls

    • Bilingual Employees

    • Spanish Correspondence

    Compliance Services
    • Spanish Telephone Calls

    • Bilingual Employees

    • Spanish Correspondence

    Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication
    • Bilingual Employees

    • VITA/TCE sites

    • Bilingual Partners

    • Education and Outreach

    Stakeholder Liaison
    • Bilingual Employees

    • Bilingual Partners

    • Education and Outreach

    Field Compliance
    • Bilingual Employees

    • Interpreters

    Submission Processing
    • Bilingual Employees

    • Spanish Correspondence

    Headquarters Communications and Liaison
    • Bilingual Employees

    • Spanish Marketing Products

    Taxpayer Advocate Service
    • Bilingual Employees

    • LITCs

    • Bilingual Cases

    Multilingual and Agency Services Branch
    • Español Web Site

    • Multilingual Gateway

22.31.1.5.4  (11-06-2012)
IRS LEP Customer Base Report

  1. The IRS LEP Customer Base Report is the source document for the LEP Strategic Plan. It is the culmination of research, surveys, analysis and focus groups conducted as part of the "LEP Needs Assessment" .

  2. The IRS LEP Customer Base Report includes the following information on the largest LEP customer groups:

    • Demographics

    • Characteristics

    • Profiles

    • Major TIPS (Trends, Issues and Problems)

22.31.1.6  (11-06-2012)
Providing Language Assistance

  1. Language assistance policies and standards ensure consistency and uniformity in the scope, quality, and accuracy of assistance given.

  2. Language assistance policies and standards apply to all categories of language assistance and to anyone providing assistance in non-English languages on tax-related matters, in any format.

  3. Language assistance is provided in a variety of formats, categorized as follows:

    1. Written

      Example:

      Hardcopy and electronic translations and reviews

    2. Oral

      Example:

      Interpreting, summaries

    Note:

    This language assistance guidance does not apply to Braille formats or internal use personnel documents.

22.31.1.6.1  (11-06-2012)
Language Assistance

  1. Executive Order (EO) 13166 (IRM 22.31.1.1.1) requires federal agencies to ensure that LEP taxpayers have meaningful access to products and services. Department of Justice LEP Guidance 67 FR 41455 and Department of Treasury LEP Guidance 70 FR 6067 require federal agencies to provide oral language assistance and translate vital documents in "regularly encountered" LEP languages if there are no alternate means for providing the information.

  2. In accordance with the aforementioned guidance, the IRS has designated Spanish as a regularly encountered language.

  3. Pursuant to the aforementioned guidance, the following actions will be taken for regularly encountered languages:

    1. Oral language assistance will be provided by bilingual assistors, if available. OPI Service may be used if assistors are not available. This service is determined by the MAS Branch and the BOD, within resource constraints (IRM 22.31.1.9.).

    2. Documents designated vital for translation will be translated by the applicable branch within TF&P, if there are no alternate means for obtaining the information.

    3. Documents designated as non-vital for translation will be translated by the Linguistic Policy, Tools and Services (LPTS) Office.

  4. Pursuant to the guidance mentioned above, the following actions will be taken for all other non-English languages not designated as regularly encountered:

    1. Oral language assistance and written translations for education and outreach purposes may be provided in areas where there are high concentrations of LEP persons.

    2. Consideration may be given to the use of OPI services for case/account related assistance if bilingual assistors are not available. This service is determined by the MAS Branch and the BOD, within resource constraints.

    3. Vital documents will not be translated without LSEC approval.

22.31.1.6.2  (11-06-2012)
Language Standards

  1. Language standards have been established to ensure consistency and uniformity in providing language assistance.

  2. Language standards are to be used to ascertain dialects, tax terminology, and common tax phrases (e.g., Making Work Pay Credit) to be used when providing assistance.

  3. These language standards are to be followed by IRS employees and their agents (e.g., contractors and volunteer partners).

  4. Oral language assistance through OPI must be guided by the dialect, Publication 850 in the applicable language pair, and dictionary standards provided. OPI is available to most BODs (IRM 22.31.1.9).

  5. Written language assistance must follow the dialect, Publication 850 (IRM 22.31.1.6.3) in the applicable language pair, the IRS Spanish Writing Style Guide (IRM 22.31.1.6.3), dictionary standards provided, and quality review standards.

  6. BODs are responsible to apply language standards to their oral and written language assistance.

22.31.1.6.3  (11-06-2012)
Languages and Dictionary Standards

  1. This section includes standards for the top five LEP languages concentrated in the United States. These languages (listed in order by population size) include:

    • Spanish

    • Chinese

    • Vietnamese

    • Korean

    • Russian

  2. The series of the Publication 850 was developed to establish uniformity in language usage in IRS tax products and clarifying tax-related issues. This publication was issued in the top five LEP languages and is the official source for technical tax terminology. The series of Publication 850 is below:

    Language Publication
    Spanish Pub 850 (EN/SP), English-Spanish Glossary of Tax Words and Phrases
    Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) Pub 850 (CN-S), English-Chinese (Simplified) Glossary of Words and Phrases

    Pub 850 (CN-T), English-Chinese (Traditional) Glossary of Words and Phrases
    Vietnamese Pub 850 (EN/VN), English-Vietnamese Glossary of Words and Phrases
    Korean Pub 850 (EN/KR), English-Korean Glossary of Words and Phrases
    Russian Pub 850 (EN/RU), English-Russian Glossary of Words and Phrases

  3. The IRS Spanish Writing Style Guide (Document 12714) must be used by bilingual translators, non-linguist IRS professionals and paraprofessionals that perform translations or prepare Spanish-language material for any BOD. Both IRS employees and consultant translators are to adhere to the guidelines presented in the guide.

  4. The standard dialect for translation to:

    Language Translation Assessment and Document
    Spanish In general, Spanish-language material is translated and written following the usage of Spanish. Documents for use in Puerto Rico must contain specific terminology that conforms to the tax laws of Puerto Rico. The style and terminology to be used should follow the standards developed by the IRS Spanish Writing Style Guide and Publication 850 (EN/SP), English-Spanish Glossary of Tax Words and Phrases.
    Chinese The standard language for translation is Traditional Chinese. The source for the correct technical terminology for translation for Traditional Chinese is the IRS Publication 850 (CN-T), English-Chinese (Traditional) Glossary of Words and Phrases.

    The source for the correct translation for Simplified Chinese is Publication 850 (CN-S), English-Chinese (Simplified) Glossary of Words and Phrases.
    Korean The standard language for translation is Hangul. The source for the correct technical terminology for translation is the IRS Publication 850 (EN/KR), English-Korean Glossary of Words and Phrases.
    Vietnamese The source for the correct technical terminology for translation is the IRS Publication 850 (EN/VN), English-Vietnamese Glossary of Words and Phrases.
    Russian The source for the correct technical terminology for translation is the IRS Publication 850 (EN/RU), English-Russian Glossary of Words and Phrases.

22.31.1.7  (11-06-2012)
Language Certification Process

  1. All translated documents must have an appropriate level of quality review, based on the type of document.

  2. Using translators and quality reviewers with the appropriate level of proficiency is a Service-wide requirement.

  3. The required level of translation and/or quality review is based on content (technical vs. non-technical) and level of distribution (national vs. local).

  4. Reviewers of vital documents are the designated reviewers within TF&P or SMEs external to TF&P (IRM 22.31.1.8.4.3).

  5. Reviewers of non-vital documents are the designated reviewers within LPTS or SMEs external to LPTS (IRM 22.31.1.8.4.5).

  6. IRS employees with bilingual skills may be certified in one of the top five limited English proficient languages. Certified employees could assist LPTS in performing translations and quality reviews of vital and non-vital documents (IRM 22.31.1.8).

  7. LPTS manages the language certification process.

22.31.1.7.1  (11-06-2012)
Certifying Individuals in Other Non-English Languages

  1. Language certification may be requested in the following languages:

    • Spanish

    • Chinese

    • Korean

    • Vietnamese

    • Russian

  2. The language certification tests are designed to conform to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) standards.

  3. These tests are categorized as follows:

    • Level 1 – Minimal Performance (IRM 22.31.1.7.1.1)

    • Level 2 – Limited Performance (IRM 22.31.1.7.1.2)

    • Level 3 – Professional Performance (IRM 22.31.1.7.1.3).

22.31.1.7.1.1  (11-06-2012)
Language Certification Level 1 – Minimal Performance

  1. The ILR defines a person with a performance in their scale as a Level 1 when they:

    • Are able to make word by word transfers, not always with accuracy

    • May be able to identify documents by their label or headings

    • Are able to scan graphic materials, such as charts and diagrams, for specific items

    • Are able to scan source language texts for specific ideas, generally rendering an accurate report on these but often missing supporting facts and details

  2. Constant oversight and review of these products are necessary by an individual certified in a higher level or LPTS.

  3. A person certified as a Level 1 may have less proficiency in LEP languages, but must understand and follow IRS language standards.

  4. Persons certified in this level may only translate and/or review non-vital documents with local relevance within their function (in their BOD).

    Example:

    A bilingual Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) employee translates a sign which contains the office’s hours of operation for use in his/her office.

22.31.1.7.1.2  (11-06-2012)
Language Certification Level 2 – Limited Performance

  1. The ILR defines a person with a performance in their scale as a Level 2 when they:

    • Are able to render into the target language some straightforward, factual texts in the standard variety of the source language

    • Are able to render accurately uncomplicated prose (such as that used in short identification documents, simple letters, instructions and some narrative reports) that does not contain figurative language, complex sentence structures, embedding, or instances of syntactic or semantic skewing

    • Use both linguistic knowledge of the languages involved and have familiarity with the subject matter

    • Have a tendency to adhere to source language structures

  2. The resulting product is not a professional translation and must be subject to quality review by an individual certified in a higher level or LPTS.

  3. A person certified as a Level 2 may have less proficiency in LEP languages, but must understand and follow IRS language standards. Also, this person needs to be familiar with the subject being translated and/or reviewed.

  4. Persons certified in this level may translate and/or review non-vital documents with local and national relevance containing no technical tax information.

  5. These individuals may translate and/or perform quality reviews for any function within the individual’s BOD.

    Example:

    A bilingual Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication employee assists Field Assistance by translating a brochure that contains the services performed by that office.

22.31.1.7.1.3  (11-06-2012)
Language Certification Level 3 – Professional Performance

  1. The ILR defines a person with a performance in their scale as a Level 3 when they:

    • Can generally translate a variety of texts, such as scientific or financial reports, some legal documents and some colloquial writing

    • Can convey the meaning of many socio-cultural elements embedded in a text a well as most nuances and relatively infrequent lexical and syntactic items of the source language

    • Use expressions that reflect target language norms and usage

    • Demonstrate linguistic knowledge of both the terminology and the means of expression specific to a subject field is strong enough to allow the translator to operate successfully within that field

    • Use word choices and expressions that generally adhere to target language norms and rarely obscure meaning

  2. The resulting product is a draft translation subject to quality review by LPTS.

  3. A person certified as a Level 3 will have more proficiency in LEP languages, and must understand and follow IRS language standards. Also, this person may or may not be familiar with the subject being translated and/or reviewed.

  4. Persons certified in this level may translate and/or review non-vital documents with local and national relevance containing minimal tax-related information.

  5. These individuals may translate and/or perform quality reviews for any function within any BOD.

    Example:

    A bilingual contact representative from Accounts Management (W&I) performs a quality review of a PowerPoint© presentation that was translated and will be used by SB/SE.

22.31.1.8  (11-06-2012)
Standard Translation Process (STP)

  1. The Standard Translation Process (STP) is the set of steps, criteria, and decisions that each document originator must follow to determine candidacy and requirements for translations.

  2. The STP applies to written translations, whether for internal purposes, the general public, or taxpayer-specific.

    Note:

    Written material translated for use in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, International (Large Business and International) is exempt from STP requirements.

  3. Written translations will only be done for materials that have been approved in their source language.

  4. The term "written translation" applies to hardcopy and/or electronic (e.g., CDs, Web pages) materials, already available in English, including (but not limited to):

    • Published materials

    • Notices

    • Announcements

    • Letters and other correspondence (e.g., e-mail)

    • Forms and instructions

    • Brochures

    • Flyers

    • Handouts

    • Web content/sites

    • Presentations

    • Articles

    • Press Releases

    • Training material

    • Publications

    • Telephone scripts/translated, reviewed recordings

    • Tax Topics

  5. The STP consists of four components:

    1. Identifying the document for translation

    2. Determining the candidacy of a document for translation

    3. Assessing potential organizational impacts of translation

    4. Processing the translation and review of a translation candidate

  6. STP components are sequential, and use a process of elimination to determine if a document should and can be translated as well as the correct process to follow based on the document category.

  7. The STP process is illustrated in Figure 22.31.1-1a and Figure 22.31.1-1b.

    Figure 22.31.1-1a

    This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Please click the link to view the image.

    Standard Translation Process Part 1

    Figure 22.31.1-1b

    This image is too large to be displayed in the current screen. Please click the link to view the image.

    Standard Translation Process Part 2

22.31.1.8.1  (11-06-2012)
Identifying the Document for Translation

  1. The translation process begins by:

    1. Identifying request for translations from certain non-English languages into English

    2. Determining that a document is for public use

    3. Identifying the language for translation

    4. Identifying the document originator or document owner

22.31.1.8.1.1  (11-06-2012)
Requesting Translations of Non-Vital Documents from Certain Languages into English

  1. Translation assistance for documents written in certain languages such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese is also available in the office of the Deputy Commissioner (International), Large Business and International.

  2. English translations can be obtained from LPTS, which are performed either by internal employees or external contractors, on documents written in the following languages:

    • French

    • German

    • Italian

    • Portuguese

    • Various African languages

    • Arabic

    • Iranian Farsi

    • Spanish

  3. The office of the Deputy Commissioner (International) can assist with translation contracts to accommodate other languages. Cost must be paid by the requesting office. More information on how to obtain these services can be found in http://lmsb.irs.gov/international/dir_treaty/treaty/translate.asp.

  4. Translation/quality review/proofreading assistance may include any of the following tasks:

    1. Writing a summary translation of a source document

    2. Reading documents aloud while requestor takes notes

    3. Reading documents to pinpoint vital information

    4. Reviewing translations submitted by taxpayers or another source for accuracy and completeness

  5. Translation/quality review/proofreading requirements are submitted as follows:

    1. Requests must be in writing, accompanied by Form 14078 and the final source document needing translation/review service, and may be sent by mail, fax, or e-mail.

    2. Translations should be limited to 10 pages per request.

    3. Explanatory background information should be provided.

  6. The original and any background information will be returned with the translation. An electronic copy of the un-sanitized case-unrelated or sanitized case-related translated/reviewed/proofread document is securely kept on file for one year and then destroyed.

  7. Requests must include the following:

    • Any relevant dates (i.e., court dates)

    • Target return date

    • Need for certification, if required

22.31.1.8.1.2  (11-06-2012)
Determining that a Document is for Public Use

  1. Only "IRS public use tax forms and tax related documents" are within the scope of the Language Services Program.

  2. Public use documents include those that enable the general public and other Government agencies (including state and local ones) to comply with the requirements of the Internal Revenue laws and regulations or to otherwise communicate with the general public and other Government agencies.

  3. If a document is not for public use, then it is not considered a vital document, such as filing season tax products. It may be translated as a non-vital document (IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4).

22.31.1.8.1.3  (11-06-2012)
Identifying the Language for Translation

  1. All documents (vital and non-vital) may be considered for translation into the regularly encountered language.

  2. Translations into languages other than the regularly encountered language will be limited to non-vital documents for education and outreach purposes only . Vital documents will not be translated into non-English languages other than those regularly encountered.

  3. Translations into non-regularly encountered LEP languages will be limited to situations where it is determined that:

    • The LEP language is one of the top five LEP language groups in the U.S. or

    • The LEP language is "highly concentrated" in the local area and the translated material is for local use only.

22.31.1.8.1.3.1  (11-06-2012)
Highly Concentrated Limited English Proficient (LEP) Languages

  1. A language (other than the top five national relevant LEP languages) may be designated as a "highly concentrated LEP language" on a local basis.

  2. This designation allows local offices to provide limited language assistance and translation of local relevant non-vital documents for " education and outreach purposes only" .

  3. To achieve this designation, the LEP language group must exceed 20% of the state's LEP population or represent over 20,000 LEP persons.

  4. If the language does not meet the above criteria, then the document is not considered a vital document. It may be translated as a non-vital document (IRM 22.31.1.8.4.4).


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