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Getting City Information to Non-English Speaking Residents

At next week’s City Council meeting, the Council will discuss the expansion of Community Outreach in Non-English Languages and opportunities to expand our language accessibility further.

Below is a list of current and expanded methods for accessing City information for residents who are non-English speakers.

1. City’s website features a Google translate widget in the bottom right corner that allows for automatic translation in more than 100 languages. As we have reduced the number of pdfs on our site by adding content to the pages themselves, much of our content can be translated automatically to increase accessibility. Most, if not all, browsers (including mobile) now feature native/automatic language translation of websites and HTML pages when the browser detects content in a language that is not the primary language assigned by the user and computer. For instance, if a user is a native Spanish speaker and has their browser/computer/mobile device set to the Spanish language when they visit our website, the browser will automatically ask the user if they would like it translated into Spanish or just automatically translate it. If on a desktop, users can also right-click on the page and click “Translate to…” to change the language or the translation icon in the URL bar. On mobile, users need to tap on the Aa icon and click on “Translate to…” if their mobile device has multiple languages set or the page is in another language.

2. In the summer of 2019, the City switched its Municipal Scene from a pdf (non-translatable document) to a digital magazine HTML5 format that would allow for automatic language translation, scalable text and reader capability. The Municipal Scene is published on the first business day of each month. Due to its timely nature, a digital method of translation was preferred so as not to delay the publication and because of its wider language and accessibility reach. Staff is working on adding a note to the monthly newsletter
informing residents how the content can be translated.

3. The Weekly Bulletin and other e-newsletters will automatically translate in email and browser applications (like websites) or by right-clicking and selecting translate. Staff is working the College Park Here and Now to enable its insert “The College Park Post” to be automatically translated/scaled/e-reader accessible. As part of our upcoming agreement with the newspaper, the City’s insert will be posted to their site (unchanged and un-edited) like their other content in HTML to allow for in-browser translation. Once this feature is ready, the City will add a note to its section informing residents how to translate the insert.

The City’s Resident Guide has historically been translated into Spanish, and a Spanish language version is available on our website to read or to print. Notice of the Spanish version is also in the booklet, and in the newest edition, one of the feature articles informs residents how to translate City publications. Other City publications like Living in College Park have also been translated and printed in Spanish for distribution.

The City hosted a Spanish-focused event, Salsa Night, at the July Friday Night Live event. Event notices for College Park Day have been in Spanish, including a Spanish language flyer that will be distributed to local schools and through the Hispanic Parent Support Group (which is managed by the City’s Department of Youth, Family and Senior Services). When available, the Hispanic Parent Support Group has had a presence at City events. Staff is looking at increasing event notices in Spanish for wider access.

Staff has been using the Language Line service for phone calls; the service provides interpreters to assist callers and City staff in real time. It is also used in the field by Code and Parking Enforcement Officers and Contract Police when immediate interpretation is needed. Since January, this service has been used 32 times, predominately for Spanish. Councilmembers may use the Language Line service for phone calls and request an interpreter for a Community meeting.

Residents may request an interpreter or captioning service for City Council and advisory board meetings through the City Clerk’s Office. Three days’ advance notice is requested to allow for accommodation. When the City provides written material to the residents of Attick Towers, it is provided in English and Korean.

In the last two Municipal Elections, all election-related material provided by the City was translated into Spanish.

Major public communications, such as modified exhaust system signs, are now being provided in English and Spanish.

[City of College Park]

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