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How it Works

What is the Language Bank?
Who can access the list of Volunteers?
How do I find a Volunteer?
What are the skills & qualifications of Volunteers?
How do agencies report on services provided by the Language Bank?
How do I become a Volunteer?

What is the Language Bank?

The Language Bank is a group of volunteers who are on-call to help translate or interpret for County government and nonprofit agencies serving residents with limited English proficiency.

Who can access the list of volunteers?

The Language Bank is for use only by county government and registered nonprofit agency staff, not for individuals or the general public.

How do I find a Volunteer?

1. Go to the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer. Click on "Language Bank" and log in to access the list of volunteers.

  • County Staff use their County-maintained username and password, the same one used to log in to their computer on the county network.
  • Nonprofit agencies, MCPS, and County staff working outside the county's computer network can sign up online for a user name and password and then log in as a "registered agency".

2. Select "Search" from the menu bar to identify volunteers by language, times available, and whether they can do oral interpretation and/or written translation. Contact information about those volunteers who meet your criteria will be displayed.

3. Contact a volunteer(s) directly via phone or e-mail to explain your current need and to request service. At the time of the request or as soon after as possible, the volunteer will respond to let you know whether or not he or she is available to help with your request.

4. Because volunteers serve on an on-call basis, they indicate times they are generally, but not necessarily always available. The more lead time you have, the more likely you are to find a volunteer when you need one.

How do agencies report on services provided by the Language Bank?

Complete a short Usage Report on the Language Bank online site each time you use the Language Bank. If you did not find a volunteer we need to know so we can recruit more people - if you did, we need your feedback to maintain records of services provided, recognize our volunteers for the work that they perform and continue to improve the program.

What are the Skills & Qualifications of Language Bank Volunteers?

1. The Volunteer Center staff checks professional and personal references including, where possible, someone familiar with the bi-lingual skills of the volunteer. Volunteers participate in an orientation and in periodic trainings and networking events to share their expertise and to improve their skills on an on-going basis.

2. At their orientation, volunteers sign Montgomery County's General Volunteer Registration Form which provides liability coverage for volunteers when volunteering with a Montgomery County Government agency. They also sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

3. Any specific skills that a volunteer has are indicated when you search - you may see a person has knowledge of medical terminology, or experience as a court interpreter.

How Do I Become a Volunteer?

1. The Language Bank is looking for individuals who are willing to be on-call to serve Montgomery County agencies and non-profits as volunteer interpreters and translators.

2. Our biggest need is for people who have some time available during business hours Monday-Friday.

3. Agencies contact Volunteers directly, either by phone or e-mail, requesting their services. The Volunteer then lets the agency know if they are available to provide the service.

4. The requirements for becoming a Language Bank Volunteer include:
  • Fluency in English and a second language including American Sign Language
  • 21 years of age or older
  • Attendance at a Language Bank Orientation Session and periodic Networking Meetings/Trainings
  • Completing an application and providing references.
  • While not a requirement, having access to the internet and an email account is desirable.

Contact the Volunteer Center to find out more and for an application, 240-777-2600, or LanguageBank@montgomerycountymd.gov.


Last edited: 7/5/2013