NLSC is an initiative of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO)
Frequently Asked Questions

The National Language Service Corps (NLSC) is a Federal program within the Department of Defense (DoD), falling under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Defense Language National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). The NLSC serves Federal agencies through formal partnership agreements.


What are the minimum requirements to be an NLSC member?

If you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 18, fluent in English and at least one other language, and have a desire to use your language skills to serve others, you are eligible to join the NLSC!

What languages does the NLSC recruit?

The NLSC accepts speakers of any language. Currently, the NLSC is privileged to have more than 570 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL). The agencies we support request particular languages for their missions.

Does it cost anything to join?

There is no fee to join the NLSC. If you would like to become a member, click here to begin your application process.

Is this a paid or volunteering position?

The NLSC is a voluntary, professional association for highly proficient language speakers who may be invited to support the needs of our U.S. Government partners. Members activated to support NLSC partners will receive an honorarium for their service.

How will the NLSC capture my skills when I apply?

The NLSC seeks individuals who have professional proficiency in multiple language functions (reading, writing, listening, speaking, translation, interpretation, and more). NLSC applicants complete a Global Skills Self-Assessment based on the Federal Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale. NLSC members are eligible for formal proficiency tests recognized throughout the U.S. Government. These include the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT).

What is the time commitment to be a member of the NLSC?

NLSC members choose the amount of time they devote to NLSC activities. The program features testing opportunities, regional events, and other virtual activities. Service opportunities typically range from a day to two weeks.

Will volunteering for the NLSC interfere with my job?

Any volunteer service for an NLSC partner is part-time, and you will always have the choice of whether to support that partner. We value flexibility and respect your work commitments. Though members should consult with employers if they need to take time off to serve an NLSC partner, declining and NLSC opportunity will not impact a member's standing or access to future opportunities.

Who do I contact with more questions?

We are always available for you at for any questions relating to your membership.

Language Skills

How does the NLSC evaluate members' language skills?

The NLSC accepts speakers of any language. The languages needed at any given time are defined by the agencies that request NLSC services.

What testing opportunities does the NLSC currently offer its members?

As part of the NLSC, you can take advantage of our free testing benefit by validating your language skills with an official Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) score. Please reach out to if you are interested in learning about our language testing benefits. To learn more about our regional events, trainings sessions, and language resources, visit the Connect page.


Where will NLSC members serve?

The location of NLSC assignments depends on our partners' needs. NLSC members complete assignments throughout the United States, abroad, and remotely.

What kind of voluntary services do NLSC members provide?

Since 2007, NLSC members have served U.S. Government partners around the world though translation, interpretation, cultural advising, instruction, and testing support.

Do I need to pay to go on a mission?

Members do not pay for travel or accommodations during an assignment.

What can I expect if I am contacted about a potential assignment?

Once a partner requests language support, the NLSC queries its membership to find qualified individuals. The NLSC contacts eligible members to verify their interest and availability. If a member agrees to participate in a mission, an NLSC Mission Support Liaison will provide one-on-one assistance to the member before, during, and after the assignment.
*Note that the NLSC may contact you early in the preparation stage of an assignment. As a result, details may be limited at first.

Who cannot go on missions?

Members who are currently employed by the U.S. Federal Government are ineligible for missions due to dual compensation prohibitions. This is because NLSC members who serve our Government partners do so as temporary special Government employees.

Government Partners

How do I request an informational briefing?

Please submit the Contact Request Form. Following your submission, a Partner Support Liaison will contact you to discuss your needs and provide a detailed description of the program.