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Welcome to the National Language Service Corps (NLSC)

Welcome Photo The NLSC is a readily available group of volunteers who provide supplemental language resources to U.S. federal agencies. Whether there is a national need, a regional emergency, or a national security requirement, NLSC Members can assist in filling foreign language gaps with readily available multilingual U.S. citizens.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 360 languages other than English are spoken in the U.S. and 6,909 living languages are documented worldwide. Unofficial estimates, based on a comparison of Census data on ethnicity, country of origin, languages spoken, as well as local education agencies data on languages spoken in schools, claim that this number could top 900. In 2011, 21% of the U.S. population reported that they did not speak English at home. The linguistic makeup of the U.S. illustrates the diversity and the potential need for dedicated language resources in local communities and the Country at large.

A first-of-its-kind government organization, the NLSC offers multilingual speakers the opportunity to volunteer their language skills and be a bridge to their language communities. These individuals, known as NLSC Members, speak, listen, read, and understand English and another language and make themselves available to help others when a U.S. Government requirement arises. NLSC Members have the opportunity and privilege to help their country, their neighbors, and their fellow citizens by participating in national efforts when their expertise can truly make a difference. Members can be called upon in times of need to use their interpreting, translating, teaching, and/or subject matter expertise skills to assist others in the United States and around the world during short-term assignments.

These assignments are predicated on the needs of U.S. federal agencies and their emergent short-term requirements for language speakers. Such assignments may require NLSC Members to apply their skills to support planning conferences, cultural orientations, training exercises, translation, and/or interpretation activities. Any given NLSC assignment is unique to the agency’s needs, so the activities vary broadly. The diversity of requirements means that NLSC Members have participated in assignments in places around the country and world including Georgia, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Florida, New Zealand, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, and Indonesia. For other Members, travel has not been a requirement allowing them to support assignments from their home office.

When NLSC Members are not on assignment, they are a part of a unique network of language volunteers who speak more than 360 languages and reside in 50 U.S. states, D.C., five territories, and 37 countries throughout the world. Members interact virtually with the NLSC network of Members on an exclusive Members-only portal as well. Members can also visit language discussions via LinkedIn, a Members-only Facebook group, Chapter-specific Facebook groups, and Twitter. The NLSC also hosts face-to-face events for its Members to network throughout the nation with Regional Chapter events and monthly Meet & Greet events.

If you value the opportunity to use your language skills in support of a national need, then we urge you to apply to become an NLSC member today.

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