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Interested in Using the NLSC

Interested in Using the NLSC?

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Languages Spoken by Our Members
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The percentage of the U.S. population speaking a language other than English at home was 21 percent in 2013 [2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS)]. More than 41 million immigrants lived in the U.S. as of 2013, more than four times as many as was the case in 1960 and 1970, and approximately 1-in-5 U.S. residents reported regularly speaking a foreign language at home [2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS)]. Because of this rich treasure of linguist diversity, the National Language Service Corps is constantly striving to expand the number of languages in its membership and attract the highest level of language proficiency from U.S. citizens to better meet the broad array of language requirements.

The NLSC requires all applicants to complete a self-assessment of their language skills as a prerequisite to membership. In general, the NLSC looks for at least a level three (professional-level proficiency) in listening, speaking and reading, according to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale, but there are exceptions for languages less common in the United States. Those whose first language is not English must also rate at least a level three in English.

Before a Member can go on their first assignment, they must take a formal test in the target language and achieve an acceptable score. This ensures the Member meets the language requirements established for that particular assignment based on the federal agency’s needs and is qualified to serve in a language capacity for the task they have been selected to support

Our membership currently offers the following languages, based on self-assessments. Language names are based on the ISO 639-3 list of standardized language names. The NLSC membership and languages continue to grow.

Become a National Language Service Corps Client

The National Language Service Corps (NLSC) may be able to support your language requirements by augmenting your existing language capabilities. The NLSC can support unexpected and/or urgent needs for U.S. federal agencies.

The NLSC may be your solution to filling gaps or surge requirements for you agency, especially when it is not feasible to have full-time staff members.

What We Can Do for You

The NLSC’s highly proficient Members fulfill unplanned temporary needs in multiple languages. Serving locally or overseas, NLSC Members are available wherever they are needed. Such scenarios include:

  • Unfunded staff requirements for language needs that arise only occasionally and with brief durations, where keeping a linguist on-staff is not cost-effective
  • Low-density language requirements that cannot be met through conventional means
  • Filling short-notice and emergent language requirements that otherwise cannot be met

NLSC Members are also available for longer-term projects as long as their assignment does not exceed 130 working days or 1040 hours in one a 1 year period.

Members have:

  • Assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with non-English web pages and cultural consultation
  • “Gisted” audio tapes into English for the National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC)
  • Served on board U.S. Coast Guard Cutter FORWARD for six weeks in support of African Maritime’s Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP)
  • Translated a 200 page unclassified Arabic booklet for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
  • Served as simultaneous and consecutive interpreters at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) exercise planning conferences and training exercises in Jordan and Kyrgyzstan
  • Provided interpreter support for the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division during an investigation.
  • Supported Joint Prisoners of War Accounting Command (JPAC) in the search for fallen U.S. heroes overseas
  • Interpreted and translated for the Intelligence Community
  • Assisted Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) in the validation of Defense Language Proficiency Tests (DLPTs) used in evaluating government personnel’s language proficiency,
  • Interpreted during town halls and community outreach, for the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) in support of the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster
  • Developed language sustainment materials in Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Indonesian, and Swahili for the Joint Foreign Area Officers (FAO) Program.
  • Provided critical international criminal message-traffic translation support for INTERPOL Washington.

The NLSC works to meet the needs of its client agencies, including recruiting Members to meet specific language needs should the NLSC not have a Member with the language skills required by the organization.

How to Get Started

NLSC strives to provide a timely turn-around to agencies requesting its services. Therefore, if there is a potential future requirement for the NLSC’s services, a requesting agency is encouraged to establish a formal relationship beforehand with the NLSC. The first step in this process is to take a moment to set up a NLSC account. Having a client account allows a client to begin the agreement process and submit a Mission Support Request (MSR) which defines the assignment and specific language requirements, as needed.


If you are interested in partnering with the NLSC, contact 888‐SAY‐NLSC (729‐6572), extension 802 or 808.

Comments from Agencies who have used the NLSC:

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)
"We want to thank the NLSC for the great partnership experience. We will definitely keep NLSC in our thoughts for future planning. Again, thank you for the great support."

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Chief, Movement Coordination Center
"Thanks for all you help - you have been invaluable!"

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)
"In many instances, the NLSC interpreter knew more than the instructor and taught the class himself. He is an awesome asset."

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
"A very professional and satisfying experience."

U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC)
"The language support specialists provided to my HW were intelligent, skillful, professional, reliable, and proficient. They were also personable and gained the respect and trust of both the U.S. and Indonesian military during the exercise."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
"Our (CDC) website strategy for reaching speakers of other languages will be impacted by these three weeks. We will be implementing many immediate, important changes over the next two months. We believe that the American public will ultimately benefit from this partnership."

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