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I’ll just click on Google Translate. Federal law says think againJanuary 14, 2016
The Internet and iPhone apps are alluring examples of technology. They offer seemingly limitless opportunities, plus exciting tools and toys to enable further exploration.
These online tools include the language translation applications and devices that offer short-cut, potentially easy answers to language barriers. Indeed, how many times have you heard – “I’ll just check Google Translate.” “I’ll use the app on my iPhone for translation.” “I don’t need an interpreter – I’ll just look online.”
Such temptations have long raised concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the translations provided by online tools and related sources of information. These concerns implicate much more than just making mistakes in casual conversations. More significantly, they involve possible violations of federal law and federal non-discrimination prohibitions.
In 2015, the federal government stepped in and provided new guidance confirming the legal risks involved with online translations.
On January 7, 2015, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education released Guidance that addressed many topics.
The Guidance provides perhaps the clearest statement yet from federal agencies that Internet translations should NOT be used without the review of a trained, qualified HUMAN translator.
"Some school districts have used web-based automated translation to translate documents. The Departments caution against the use of web-based automated translations; translations that are inaccurate are inconsistent with the school district's obligation to communicate effectively with LEP (Limited English Proficient) parents.
Thus, to ensure that essential information has been accurately translated and conveys the meaning of the source document, the school district would need to have a machine translation reviewed, and edited as needed, by an individual qualified to do so. Additionally, the confidentiality of documents may be lost when documents are uploaded without sufficient controls to a web-based translation service and stored in their databases."
U.S. Department of Justice - January 7, 2015
DOJ's Guidance on using Internet-based translations and federal law compliance are legally binding and applicable to all covered organizations, including hospitals, courts, airports, public transit, municipal, county, state, and other local governments.
It is well-settled federal law that a federal agency’s interpretation of its own regulation is “controlling” unless plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. Auer v. Robbins , 519 U.S. 452, 461 (1997). DOJ coordinates and enforces federal law compliance nationwide. DOJ’s interpretations are entitled to special deference. See: Executive Order No. 12250, 45 Fed. Reg. 72,995 (Nov. 2 1980), Consolidated Rail Corporation v.Darrone , 465 U.S. 624, 634 (1984), and Andrus v. Sierra Club , 442 U.S. 347, 357-58 (1979).
The next time you reach for a translation app or click on an online translation website, think twice. Remember, you need a trained, qualified human being to make sure your web-based translations are accurate and comply with federal law. If you have more questions about online translations, just ask the Department of Justice, law enforcement agency for the United States of America.
Special for Bromberg by Bruce L. Adelson, Attorney at Law
© Bruce L. Adelson, 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material is educational and informational only. No legal advice is provided.
Join free webinar on compliance by Bruce Adelson on January 27, 2016.
Webinar What’s Hot in Compliance for 2016January 12, 2016
Join us for a webinar on Jan 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM EST.
Welcome to our webinar, the first in our new series of presentations, courtesy of Bromberg & Associates LLC and Bruce L. Adelson, Attorney at Law.
• Listen to Federal Judges - It’s all about your plans, policies, and procedures
• Video Remote Interpreting – The Lawsuits Keep Coming
• U.S. Justice Department’s Priorities for 2016
• Cultural Competence Hits the Big Time - CMS Plans + New HHS Rules
• The New Law of LGBT Non-Discrimination – Cultural Awareness Mandatory
• Presidential Election Year and Your Federal Language Assistance Requirements
Bromberg & Associates is a full range language service provider, DBE and WBE certified business, and GSA Federal Supply Schedule Award holder. Our services cover all areas of the language industry: translation; interpreting (Onsite, Video Remote & Telephonic); web site translation and localization; multilingual desktop publishing and AV services; language training; cultural awareness training and much more. We work with over 60 languages locally and 170 languages worldwide.
Bruce L. Adelson, Esq, a former U.S Department of Justice Senior Trial Attorney. He is nationally recognized for his expertise concerning federal law enforcement and many federal laws. Bruce is CEO of Federal Compliance Consulting LLC and provides consultation and training services across the United States and throughout the world.
For additional information about our webinar and to register, please contact Bromberg & Associates' Business Development Specialist, Wendy Yuille at Wendy@BrombergTranslations.com or
Bruce Adelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.