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Welcome to the National Language Service Corps (NLSC)


Welcome Photo The NLSC is a readily available group of language 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, the NLSC’s members can assist a U.S. federal agency fill foreign language needs with readily available multilingual U.S. citizens.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 300 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 agency data on languages spoken in schools could top 900. In 2007, 20% of the U.S. population reported that they did not speak English at home. The linguistic makeup of the U.S. indicates a need for dedicated language resources not only in local communities but also the government 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 sudden short-term requirements for language speakers. Such assignments may require NLSC Members to apply their skills to support planning conferences, cultural orientations, training exercises, and translation & 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 the world including Georgia, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Florida, Thailand, 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 located throughout the world. Once you are accepted as a Member, you have access to interact virtually with the NLSC network of member. You can also visit language discussions via LinkedIn, a Members-only Facebook group, 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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