The City of Madison Language Access Program provides access to City services for individuals with a primary language other than English. We are committed to improving the accessibility of all our programs, services, and activities. Members of the public have a right to request accommodations, translation, and interpreter services; and a right to meaningfully participate in City services, programs, and activities.

The City’s Language Access Plan serves to inform the City of Madison’s staff, leaders, elected officials, and sub-contracted vendors on policies, procedures, and practices to for meaningful access to City services

Services Provided

Consecutive Interpretation
Simultaneous Interpretation
Zoom Interpretation
Over-the-Phone Interpretation
Video Relay Interpretation

Request Services

Types of Services


This is the conversion of a written message from one language to another while keeping the intent and meaning of the original message. Types of translation services we provide include documents, surveys, website content, press releases, alternative formats, braille, transcription, prerecorded messages/videos, and Computer-Aided Real-time Translation (CART).

CART is a method to provide access to spoken communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is also referred to as “real-time captioning” or “Communication Access Real-time Translation.” It is defined as the instant translation of spoken English to English text using a computer or real-time software. The text can be displayed on many mediums, including: an individual’s computer, projected onto a screen, or combined with a video.

Consecutive Interpretation:

Consecutive interpreters listen to what the speaker is saying, and convey the message into another language after the speaker has paused. Consecutive interpretation is best used for shorter meetings where only one language is being translated. Consecutive interpretation can be used for in-person meetings or virtual meetings.

Simultaneous Interpretation:

In simultaneous interpreting the interpreter converts what the speaker is saying at the same time as the speaker is talking. Since this type of translation occurs in real-time, the interpreter listens to a speaker and interprets with only a few seconds delay. Simultaneous interpretation is best used for meeting types where communication is one-directional so that simultaneous interpreters are only interpreting in one direction. If your meeting is more than 20 minutes, you will most likely be working with two simultaneous interpreters who will switch back and forth. Ideally, simultaneous interpreters review speeches or other materials available before the event to prepare. Depending on the type of meeting, simultaneous interpretation can be used for in-person or virtual meetings.

Zoom Interpretation:

Please review the City of Madison Zoom Interpretation Feature Policy which includes information on which types of meetings allow for simultaneous and consecutive interpretation.

Over-the-Phone Interpretation: The City has a contract with Language Line Solutions. Language Line is an over-the-phone interpretation services that can accommodate over 200 languages and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Language Line may be utilized when a customer phones a City employee; the employee needs to call a non-English speaking customer (using call conferencing), or in-person by placing a call on speaker. Each customer service counter should display a language identification chart and a please hold chart informing customers that language access services are available along with the materials to help identify an appropriate language. Front line City staff should be familiar with the Language Line service and have access to appropriate client ID.

Video Relay Interpretation

Connect to a live interpreter in 41 languages including American Sign Language, on-demand via a smart device, computer or two-way video screen. It can be used to provide an individual with simultaneous signing or spoken interpre­tation of a conversation or meeting. This is good for when someone comes to the front desk or when you have a small meeting between one or two people. When an in-person interpreter is not available it might be appropriate to use a video interpreter in the meeting. Video interpreters are available on-demand and do not require scheduling.

Requesting Services

Use the links below to email our team.

When submitting requests, allow 12 business day for processing. Although this can vary due to workload as well as the length and complexity of the request. If you have an expedited request, please let us know as soon as possible. Department of Civil Rights Language Access staff will respond within two business days.
Request Interpretation

  • Event title and City Agency involved
  • Date and duration of event/meeting.
  • Language(s) needed

Request Translation

  • Name of document (or website link) and City Agency involved
  • Language(s) needed

Please refer to our Language Access Plan webpage if you would like to learn more about our program and services. Should you have any questions or need support, please email or call (608) 266-4910.



Language Access Staff

Department of Civil Rights