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Know Your Rights
Source: Newsday
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Nassau translates documents to 6 languages

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano signed an order Tuesday requiring county departments to translate vital public documents into six non-English languages.

The order, which is expected to be implemented within the year, encompasses a wealth of public service records, including medical health, emergency assistance and public safety. Social service applications are already available in six languages.

Documents, the order states, will be available online and in person in the most commonly spoken non-English languages in Nassau: Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Persian, Korean and French Creole. “This project ensures that all residents have access to information regarding government programs and services and, most importantly, has the potential to save lives,” Mangano said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone implemented a similar plan in November; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an order for statewide departments in 2011.

County officials can hire private contractors or buy online computer software to translate documents, the order states. The project’s costs, estimated at less than $90,000, would be absorbed by individual departments.

“Today’s executive order marks a momentous step forward for good government in Nassau County, ensuring that all residents will be able to communicate with county government,” said Daniel Altschuler, coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, focusing on social and economic equality.

Census data indicate that nearly 30 percent of Nassau residents older than 5 speak a language other than English at home. More than 10 percent have limited English proficiency, Mangano said.

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