This post was originally published on the USA.gov blog. An agency information sharing exercise to improve the customer experience, as related to the Office of Products and Programs’ Information Exchange Project Some people experience challenges navigating government services – especially if they need to work with more than one agency. Based on this premise, we set out to find out how agencies could share information with one another to improve the customer experience.
Language — Digital communications must address the users’ language preference. The use of machine or automatic translations as a sole solution is strongly discouraged even if a disclaimer is added. If government agencies decide to use translation software, they should have the translation reviewed by a qualified language professional before posting it to the website to ensure that the translation correctly communicates the message in a culturally relevant manner. GobiernoUSA.
About a year and a half ago, the Federal Citizen Information Center—today called USAGov—embarked on a very ambitious task: integrating our content operations. We blurred lines that defined silos and adopted a bilingual content approach to offer a more consistent experience, regardless of language preference or point of access to our information. See more about our rebirth. As we were figuring out our new content model, we saw the need to reinvent our style guidelines to reflect our new organization.
This story begins with a post about reverse mortgages, but don’t worry: we won’t go into the world of complex home loans. Rather, this is a story about how one federal agency is partnering with another to amplify its content and reach millions of people online—and why more agencies should do the same. Many federal agencies create valuable digital content, but distributing that content at scale can be a challenge.
Federal agencies are required to provide meaningful access to government information to people with limited English proficiency. This applies to your agency’s digital content too. You need to determine how much information you need to provide in other languages, based on an assessment of your audience. The need is increasing The number of people who are not proficient in English is growing dramatically every year. According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 25 million who speak a foreign language at home and whose English-speaking ability is at the level “less than very well.
Below is a list of common English health care and medical terms (in bold), and their equivalent Spanish translations (in italics). acute inpatient hospital care: atención hospitalaria para casos agudos admission: hospitalización, ingreso hospitalario, admisión hospitalaria advanced directives: instrucciones por adelantado; advocate: defensor del paciente alcohol abuse: abuso del alcohol, abuso de bebidas alcohólicas base line: valores de referencia, iniciales bereavement: pesar; duelo breast: seno; pecho; mama (this word, although technically correct, is considered offensive by some Hispanic women)
Additional Internet resources include: Glosario Técnico de Computación, Electrónica y Telecomunicaciones (computing, electronics and telecommunications glossary). Technical glossary of computing, electronics and telecommunications terminology, including translations and definitions (shown in italics when applicable). Additionally, the abbreviation of the country where a translation is used is listed in brackets. If a country code is not shown, it is assumed that the translation is valid in all countries where Spanish is spoken.
Below are some common English information technology (IT) terms (in bold), and their Spanish translations (in italics). Attach:Adjuntar, anexar Back (web browser button):Regresar Band width; Bandwidth:Ancho de banda Broadband:Banda ancha Browser:navegador, visualizador (Spain), explorador, visor Click:Hacer clic, pulsar, pinchar Email:Correo electrónico, which may be abbreviated as c.e. (widely used in the U.S. and Latin American countries) Delete:Borrar, eliminar Download:Descargar, bajar Encrypt:Cifrar, codificar – NEVER “encriptar” Forward:Reenviar Link:Enlace (suntantivo), enlazar (verbo)
Below are some frequently mistranslated English terms (in bold), and their Spanish translations (in italics). Abbreviations Key v: verb n: noun adj.: adjective exp.: expression Access [v]: Broadvision (Portal) Acceder a- Avoid: accesar Act [n] (when referring to a law; No Child Left Behind Act of 2002): Ley o Proyecto de Ley; Avoid: acta American [adj.]: Estadounidense - less desirable: norteamericano; Avoid: americano Authoritative [adj.]: Confiable – According to the Real Academia Española, autoritativo is hardly used.
Spanish Language Style Guides are resources for government employees, translators, and communications professionals who work with the government to improve the way we communicate with the public in Spanish. The guide contains information on grammar and style issues as well as glossaries to standardize the use of Spanish across government. The guides below were peer reviewed by Leticia Molinero, Maria Cornelio and Jack Segura, members of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE).
Below are examples and explanations for words, phrases, acronyms, numbers, punctuation, capitalization, symbols, and more used in Spanish grammar. Abbreviations, Acronyms and Em Dash Spanish Language Capitalization Spanish Language Dates & Numbers Spanish Language Punctuation Spanish Language Diacritics and HTML Code Abbreviations, Acronyms and Em Dash Abbreviations 1) Incorrect Use: EE UU * Correct Use: EE. UU. (Estados Unidos) 2) Incorrect Use: f.f. c.c. * Correct Use: FF.
There has been a shift in consumer behavior during the last few years, a move toward immediacy and convenience, and with the responsive redesign of USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, consumers can now have access to the same information and services when they need them, and on any platform and device. The number of mobile users is growing rapidly. In 2012 USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov received more than 2.5 million visits from mobile devices, not including tablets.
Can you imagine how frustrating and confusing it would be to find several variations of the same agency name on different sites or even different pages or documents on the same site? This is what happens everyday to Spanish-speaking customers accessing the Spanish names of some federal agencies. They try to navigate the website to perform important tasks like applying for benefits, accessing health information, doing business over the Internet or filling out forms.
Automated translation is touted as a one click solution. But is it? From time to time, the listserv lights up with the issue of translating websites into other languages and I’ve seen the interest increase as Web managers struggle to comply with competing mandates to serve their customers. Many Web managers are tasked with installing the “magic button” solution on their websites to make them multilingual and comply with current mandates, such as Executive Order 13166 and the Justice Department’s 2011 Renewed Commitment Memo.
Introduction USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov use social media to make government information easy for people to find, access, and use. Among the essential tools we use are videos, which we host on USA.gov YouTube and GobiernoUSA.gov’s YouTube channels. We are always looking for opportunities to feature and leverage important government information, by posting videos from various government agencies. We welcome and invite all government agencies to collaborate with us on providing useful and relevant information to the public.