Government Translation Services

The necessity of procuring translation services for the United States immigration processes is well-known because of a constant influx of people seeking to immigrate to the U.S. However, the need for government language translation services is not limited to that use.

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Here are a few examples of other government activities that can require translation or interpretation between English and other languages.

  • International development
  • Social services
  • Public Health

International development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) serves as the “world’s premiere international development agency.” According to its website, USAID aims to build communities, lift people’s lives and promote democracy. In fact, international development activities work hand-in-hand with U.S. diplomacy and defense.

The main benefits USAID strives to accomplish include:

  • Advancing U.S. security and economic prosperity
  • Demonstrating the American spirit of generosity
  • Helping to establish a path of self-reliance and resilience for aid recipients

President John F. Kennedy established this agency by executive order in 1961. His purpose was to lead humanitarian and development efforts throughout the world. USAIDs primary projects include the following:

  • Support global stability
  • Provide humanitarian assistance
  • Encourage innovation and partnership
  • Promote global health
  • Empower women and girls

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Some of the regions where USAID works include:

  • The African continent
  • Asia
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Europe and Eurasia

This list of areas where USAID works makes the need for government translation services and, most likely, a government interpreter, apparent. There is a wide diversity of languages spoken on the African continent alone.

While it is impossible to list all the languages spoken in Africa, here is a sampling of the more prominent ones, according One World Nations Online:

  • Arabic
  • Four dialects of Berber languages
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Kiswahili

Other countries USAID helps generally require government language translation services and a government interpreter in the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • Pashto and Dari (Official languages in Afghanistan)
  • Urdu (Pakistan’s national language)
  • Sinhala and Tamil (official language in Sri Lanka)
  • Arabic
  • Kurdish

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This is not an exhaustive list by any means. However, it certainly demonstrates the variety of languages for which the USAID offices need assistance in translation and interpretation to operate effectively.

Social services

When government offices throughout the U.S. work to provide people in need with services that include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Women Infants and Children (WIC) assistance, there are often recipients who have limited English proficiency (LEP). The primary language spoken fluently by many of these people is Spanish.

While these government offices employ many bilingual workers, the paperwork these recipients must fill out may be written in Spanish because they are most fluent in it. The piles of paperwork these offices receive make it impossible for the bilingual employees to translate all of it in addition to their regular workload. So, a government translation service can be very helpful.

Public Health

An article in the K International Language Blog emphasizes the importance of effective communication to safeguard public health. In fact, when a government public health agency is attempting to communicate to the general public regarding the need to take protective action, the official language in a country may not be the only one that is spoken and read.

This article states, “If people can’t understand how to protect themselves, they won’t – even from threats as immediate and deadly as Ebola.” In fact, language and translation have been a continuing obstacle to effective management of Ebola in Africa. The first communications offering suggestions for preventive actions against Ebola were in English or French. However, there were no translations to the many other languages of those living in severely affected regions.

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The article further asserts that accurate and effective translation of health-related information can keep vulnerable populations from being left behind. It used the example that the Hispanic community has the highest uninsured rate than any other group in the U.S.

Sadly, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) website first started taking applications, the Spanish version of the government website was rife with errors. As a result, people who were more comfortable speaking and reading in Spanish than English found it more difficult to avail themselves of the health coverage options offered by the ACA. Although the translation errors were eventually corrected, the roll-out of the ACA would have been much more effective if the government had used a reliable government translation service.

The Word Point offers fast and meticulous government language translator services that can reliably communicate important information to citizens of our country and other countries in the course of government functions for a wide variety of purposes.