Office for the Aging


12-IM-03 Telephonic Interpretation through New York State Office of General Services-OGS Centralized Contracts

DATE: July 17, 2012 12-IM-03 In PDF Format

TO: AAA Directors

SUBJECT: Telephonic Interpretation through New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Centralized Contracts

PURPOSE: Under the newly issued 12-PI-08, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) must have, at a minimum, a telephonic interpretation provider in place by October 1, 2012 (please see PI). This Information Memorandum (IM) is issued as a companion to 12-PI-08 Equal Access to Services and Targeting Policy, to provide additional guidance for eligible AAAs in accessing New York State centralized contracts for telephonic interpretation.

BACKGROUND: The OGS Procurement Services Group establishes contracts for commodities, services and technology that are commonly used within New York State governmental entities. These centralized contracts include vendors who provide interpretation and translation services. Eligible AAAs may access OGS centralized contracts once they have an OGS account and ID number. AAAs are not required to use the OGS centralized contracts if they do not wish to do so. In many instances, AAAs may have cost savings if they choose to use an OGS contract vendor.

The current OGS contract for these services, with contact information (see Customer Services information on page one), is attached to this IM. Please note that obtaining an OGS account may provide options for cost savings in other areas as well. The contracts may be useful to localities and other entities authorized to use them because they are established through a competitive bidding system and therefore meet the competitive bidding requirements of General Municipal Law.

OGS ACCOUNTS AND ID: To use OGS centralized contracts, eligible AAAs will need an OGS account and ID number (only OGS can confirm eligibility). If your AAA does not have an account, you may wish to check with your County, where applicable, to see if the County has an account number that your AAA can use to access the OGS system.

If you wish to set up an OGS account, you can establish eligibility by contacting OGS by Email or phone (518) 474-6717: ask for Heather Dolan). OGS Customer Services representatives will provide the application to be completed and returned to Customer Services. OGS processes applications within a few days, responding to applicants with a customer number if eligibility requirements are met.

TELEPHONIC LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION SERVICES: Telephonic interpretation services are a cost effective means of providing language access to consumers. While this service may not meet the legal obligations of all AAAs, particularly those with significant populations of older adults with limited English proficiency, it is a basic tool that all AAAs need in serving the increasingly diverse people of New York State and meeting legal obligations as described in 12-PI-08.

A description of how a typical telephonic interpretation service may work follows:

  • The agency first sets up a contract with the vendor of choice. In most instances, there is no charge to set up the contract.
  • Many language services providers will train AAA staff free of charge (once a contract is established) on how to use the telephonic interpretation services. Some reference tools may be provided at no cost as well.
  • To use the service, staff requiring interpretation assistance will dial a toll-free number. Services are usually billed in one-minute increments and billing begins only when the interpreter comes on the line.
  • If it is necessary to use the telephonic interpretation service to identify the correct language for which interpretation is needed, charges usually do not begin until the correct language is identified and the correct interpreter is on the line.
  • For an example on how a telephonic interpretation service works, please see this link *

    * This link is for informational purposes only and not an endorsement by NYSOFA of this provider or its services.

Please contact NYSOFA’s Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management at 518-473-7342, if you have any questions regarding this IM.


CONTACT PERSON: Carol Bradwell, Director Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management
TELEPHONE: (518) 473-7342

Attachment: OGS Contract Award Notification*
(*Please disregard the contract period dates at this time.)

Due to the complexity of the following documents, please print pages 4-30 from the PDF document.