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Columbia Co. website now has translation feature

Nov 27, 2020 1:30 pm
Massarah Mikati is reporting for the Times Union Columbia County has added a translation function to its website following months of persistent advocacy by the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. “The general issue for our community is that they don’t have equal access to services not only because of immigration status, but specifically because of language access,” said Bryan MacCormack, executive director of CCSM. According to a review by the Times Union, the only other counties in the Capital Region with translation functions on their websites are Albany and Schenectady. The function allows content to be translated into more than 100 languages and is powered by Google Translate. MacCormack said that with the implementation of the Green Light law, undocumented immigrants can now obtain driver licenses, making the gap between those with and without access to information and communication more pronounced countywide. Many Department of Motor Vehicle services have shifted online during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving residents on their own. Previously Sanctuary volunteers provided in-person interpretation at the Warren Street DMV. “It’s really denying equal access to that information and road safety for not only undocumented applicants, but also everybody else on the road,” MacCormack said. The translation function has not only given county residents equal access to information, it has also allowed for a more efficient workflow in the county clerk’s office. Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner said there have been fewer missed appointments and confusion about services or document requirements in the short time since the translation function has been added. The Sanctuary Movement is continuing its work, planning to take its language justice campaign to other institutions in Columbia County, especially law enforcement. Read more in the Times Union.