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Document Code No.: INF 14-2 (AEO)
Department/Issuing Agency: King County Executive
Effective Date: October 13, 2010
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 144 KB)

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The purpose of this executive order is to (1) establish a translation process that ensures all translations are prepared effectively and efficiently, producing a high quality product that achieves its communication goals, and (2) set minimum requirements for determining which documents must be translated.

WHEREAS, King County is a diverse and dynamic community that has seen much of its growth since 1990 driven by immigrants; and

WHEREAS, immigrants and longtime King County residents speak more than 100 different languages, and a recent U.S. Census sample found that more than 400,000 King County residents - nearly a quarter of the county's population over age 5 - speak a language other than English at home; and

WHEREAS, a substantial number* of King County residents have "Limited English Proficiency" and face challenges in accessing King County's services and programs because they cannot read the written communications about these services and programs; and

WHEREAS, King County government is dedicated to providing all of its residents fair and equal access to services, opportunities, and protection; inviting and encouraging public engagement; and reflecting consideration for cultural differences; and

WHEREAS, King County government must continue striving to meet our highest ideals for socially just and equitable service delivery and engagement with the public while operating responsibly within our budgetary and resource constraints;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Dow Constantine, King County Executive, do hereby order and direct:

All departments and offices to create a process to review all printed public communication materials intended for broad distribution to inform or educate people served by King County government--hereafter known as "Public Communication Materials" (this and other definitions of key terms can be found in Appendix A: Definitions)--to ensure that such communications are culturally and linguistically appropriate to the target audience, including members of the target audience with "Limited English Proficiency."

All departments and offices to identify their vital documents intended to provide essential information for accessing basic county services and benefits and for which serious consequences would result if the information were not provided --hereafter known as "Vital Documents.

All departments and offices to rely on the guidance provided in the King County Written Language Translation Process Manual (Appendix B) in developing their process for review and translation of all printed public communication materials and vital documents, including evaluation of materials to be translated; selection of quality, certified translators; and post-translation quality assurance review.

All departments and offices to translate into at least Spanish, a summary document that provides overview information about the department and its services. This document will be used for printed materials and will be posted on departmental home pages.

All departments and offices, as soon as feasible within available resources, to translate all "Public Communication Materials" and all "Vital Documents" into Spanish, as Spanish is the most prevalent of the non-English languages spoken in King County (see Appendix C: Language Tiers and Language Maps for King County).

All departments and offices to translate targeted "Public Communication Materials" and "Vital Documents" into the target audience's language when the target audience is a specific community or group with "Limited English Proficiency" (see Appendix C: Language Tiers and Language Maps for King County).

All departments and offices to translate "Public Communications Materials" that are targeted to a specific neighborhood or city into any language that is the primary language of five percent or more of that neighborhood's or city's population (see Appendix C: Language Tiers and Language Maps for King County).

All departments and agencies to consider and use alternative forms of language assistance rather than translation when the alternative would be more effective or practical (see Appendix D: Translation Resources List, for possible vendors and services).

All departments and offices to provide an annual report summarizing efforts made, hurdles faced, and successful outcomes associated with this Written Language Translation Process to the Customer Service Director, on the anniversary of effective date of this Executive Order.

*at least 188,000 as of 2007

Dated this 13th day of October, 2010.

/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive


/s/ Lorraine Patterson
Interim Director, Records and Licensing Services Division