“It's one thing to have a language access mandate and even a language access policy; it's another thing to put these mandates and policies into place.” Language Access Coordinator for a Large U.S. City
Government organizations have instituted language access plans and policies to provide meaningful access to services in the most common local languages. But, unfortunately, plans don’t always equal results and limited English proficient (LEP) communities often do not receive that much-needed in information in their own language.
Compliance is not being met due to a variety of hurdles including funding, training, and in some cases lack of internal support.
The research is in and evidence is clear: the Great American Melting Pot continues to grow and immigrants are helping our economy rebound all around the United States. So, providing meaningful access to services under Title VI and numerous State and Local Executive Orders is not just the law; it’s a good thing. How do you overcome these hurdles?
Finding excellent translation services is easier said than done. It’s not just about money, although that’s always a factor. Understanding why an agency should have a language access plan, what it is and how it works best, is a major impediment. So many stakeholders are involved, particularly with governmental written and electronic documents; from executives, to legal, to writers, graphic artists, and the communications department. There’s help. An experienced and dependable translation service provider can bridge this barrier. A professional translation services company will work with you to help your team understand the process and work together to provide better, faster, and affordable communications in your target languages.
It is particularly important to ensure that vital documents are translated for LEP communities that are eligible to be served or likely to be affected by the program or activity. A document will be considered vital if it contains information that is critical for obtaining federal services and/or benefits, or is required by law. Translation of these documents, and the website in which they appear, is essential to effective communication. Once translated, the translation itself can be used many times saving time and money while complying with laws and improving service. Your call center may thank you, too, for the decrease in phone calls (that require an interpreter) with questions about the English language form.
By the way, the “Translate This” button on a home page is not sufficient. Try it in any language and see for yourself. Mechanical translation does not consider cultural sensitivities or dialect nuances. Often times, it is completely wrong. Relying on a professional translation service provider, that has a team of trained localization engineers to help your web designers, developers and content creators by offering early consultation, presumably at no cost, will make your online multilingual content delivery go smoother, cost less and be quicker.
Read Part Two next week to learn about working with your bilingual staff for translating, and quick tips to instituting a successful language access program.
Ask us how LanguageLine Solutions can work with your teams to provide fast and accurate translation and localization projects on time and on budget. Download our free Translation Brochure.
Note: This is Part One of a two part series. Part Two appears next week.