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Translation Considerations

Outlined below are helpful considerations for developing translations of various types of communications.

Emergency Communications 

It’s critical to provide translations of public service announcements and emergency communications to make sure people who use languages other than English are not left out of important communications. To make sure that all people in Vermont can receive and understand important information related to protecting their health or safety, each state department or agency needs to:

  • Include a notice of language services on all emergency communications materials.
  • In each notice, be sure to say that the recipient can access these services for free. 
  • Translate emergency communications into the languages recommended in the 2023 Office of Racial Equity Language Access Report and produce a video version of the content in ASL. 
  • Prioritize producing video versions of emergency communications. For people who have difficulty reading in their primary language and people with low vision, videos are more accessible than written announcements.

In-Person Contact 

At all public-facing offices, use “I Speak” cards or posters and an electronic device with an ASL video version to communicate that free language access services are available. 

Example: Here is an example of one agency’s I Speak card


Whenever possible, produce emergency communications and public service announcements in video format, in addition to written documentation, to improve access for people who are not literate in their native languages. When producing these videos, translate them into the 14 most commonly spoken languages in Vermont, as well as ASL. 

Remember to manually translate captions instead of relying on auto-generated captions. If you are relying on automated captioning, review automated captioning for errors and correct them before distributing any video materials publicly. When you develop captions, use open captions in English in addition to closed captions to assist Hard of Hearing and late deafened people who are not familiar with technology in accessing captions.

To learn more about accessing language translation services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, visit this page developed by the State’s Director of Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, DeafBlind Services.


Include a Notice of Language Assistance

On your home page, let people know that language assistance services are available for free for the recipient. Make sure this notice is displayed in the translated languages, not just in English. To see an example of a state website with this language access notice, visit the Agency of Natural Resources’s Language Services page. The Office of Racial Equity also recommends including a video of an ASL signer notifying people who sign ASL of the availability of free language services. 

Example: Here is an example from the Agency of Natural Resources showing what a language access notification can look like when placed on a public document (such as this press release) or website homepage:

Questions or Complaints/Free Language Services ǀ SERVICES LINGUISTIQUES GRATUITS | भाषासम्बन्धी नि:शुल्क सेवाहरू ǀ SERVICIOS GRATUITOS DE IDIOMAS ǀ 免費語言服務 | BESPLATNE JEZIČKE USLUGE ǀ БЕСПЛАТНЫЕ УСЛУГИ ПЕРЕВОДА | DỊCH VỤ NGÔN NGỮ MIỄN PHÍ ǀ 無料通訳サービス ǀ ነጻ የቋንቋ አገልግሎቶች | HUDUMA ZA MSAADA WA LUGHA BILA MALIPO | BESPLATNE JEZIČKE USLUGE | အခမဲ့ ဘာသာစကား ဝန်ဆောင်မှုများ | ADEEGYO LUUQADA AH OO BILAASH AH  ǀ خدمات لغة مجانية: or 802-636-7827.

Prominently display links to translated documents

It’s also important to provide links to translated documents, in addition to the language assistance notification, in a place that's easy to find on your home page. Visit the Vermont Department of Health homepage to see an example of their “Translations for You” button.

Translate the links

When displaying links, make sure the links are translated into the languages that the destination content is translated in. To view an example of what it looks like when the links are translated into the relevant languages, visit the Vermont Department of Health translations library.

Google Translate

If your website relies on Google Translate to provide translations, include disclaimers about the limitations of Google Translate wherever the Google Translate option is included on the website because Google Translate can produce potentially harmful errors in translation. It's recommended that you translate the disclaimers into the 14 written languages listed in the 2023 ORE Language Access Report plus an ASL video version. 

To see an example of what this can look like, visit the Agency of Natural Resources website

Requesting translations of the website

Create a clear process for how people can request translated versions of websites and display this prominently on your site.