Language Access Initiative
Pro Bono Net is committed to making content on our partner sites accessible to all residents, regardless of fluency in English. To this end, we offer quarterly LawHelp Language Access Mini-Grants inviting partners to request website content be translated into languages other than English as well as a bank of easily adaptable translated website content. This opportunity is made possible through an in kind grant between the LSI Foundation, the charitable arm of Linguistic Systems, Inc and Pro Bono Net. Since 2012, we have been able to provide more than $175,000 in pro bono translation services to LawHelp and LHI Network partners through this program, including translation of more than 300 pieces of content into 25 languages.
NB: We are currently deliberating over new processes to manage the flow of Language Access Initiative mini-grants. Please watch this space for upcoming information about the availability of 2016 funds.
There are certain priority areas Pro Bono Net and LawHelp are especially committed to. Specifically, if you are a partner with little or no translated materials on your site, please reach out to your contact at Pro Bono Net to talk about your translation needs, accessing and using the translation bank and creating a plan to translate your site's navigation text as well as content.
You may have a specific project requiring translated materials outside of regular content for your website. If this is the case, please reach out to your Pro Bono Net contact to speak further about your needs.
All LawHelp partners are encouraged to submit materials for translation, and to utilize the translation bank. We may accept translation requests for statewide website content outside the LawHelp network as our capacity allows.
As LawHelp partners submit materials for translation, some of the materials that may be most helpful to other partner states will be posted in the translation bank. The following are materials currently available:
- Topics/Subtopics in multiple languages
- Useful navigation text in Spanish
- Contact Us in Spanish
- Accessibility in Spanish
- Privacy Policies in Spanish
- National Plain Language Guides available in 5 languages
- Glossaries of Translated Legal Terms
This list will be updated as we receive more content. If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Language Access Mini-Grant Program
This opportunity is made possible through an in kind grant between Lingusitic Systems Foundation, the charitable arm of the Linguistic Systems, Inc and Pro Bono Net. For more information on this partnership, see our press release. If you have any questions, or would like to speak more on this, please reach out to Sam Halpert or your contact at Pro Bono Net.
Applying for the Language Access Mini-Grant
Any content on your statewide website is eligible for translation. This includes pieces of legal information, organizational profile text, navigation elements and other text that users access to utilize your statewide website. Other materials may be translated based on our capacity. Please note: This is not designed for emergency translation needs, translations can take between 4 weeks (or longer) to complete. To submit a request, please complete the web form below (an external link):
Each year, your organization may submit up to 5 documents in up to 3 languages. We will do our best to accommodate every request, but if funds should become scarce please understand we will give priority to LawHelp.org partner organizations. Within each organization's requests, the first request of the year will be treated as the top priority, and so on. Within each request, the first language requested (see form, above) will be treated as the top priority, and so on. If you have a specific need for additional materials please contact email@example.com or your contact person at Pro Bono Net.
The Language Access Mini-Grant and the translation bank are both available to LawHelp partners. If your program provides content for a LawHelp site, and you would like that content translated, or access to the translation bank, please contact your statewide website administrator or your contact person at Pro Bono Net. If you are not currently a LawHelp partner, but would like translation services for your statewide website, please note that we are tentatively planning to accept requests in the Summer and Winter, as funding allows. If you are not currently a LawHelp partner and do not have access to the translation bank, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to your PBN contact person.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I select materials for translation?
States vary on what materials they feel are appropriate for translation, and there are a few
considerations you should take into account.
- Are your navigation texts/About Us/Disclaimers translated?
- Can you find these translations in our translation bank?
- What is your most popular content?
- Is there an area of law you feel should be more accessible?
Please note: the typical turnaround for job requests is between 1-2 months. Therefore, this is not appropriate for emergencies or for content when you know the law is going to change in the near future. If you have content that has been reviewed and/or updated by an attorney in the last few
months, this may be the perfect opportunity to have the materials translated, as you know the content will not change in the foreseeable future.
What happens if my content changes after I submit a request?
You cannot update or substitute materials after the submission deadline. We can cancel translation requests and you can resubmit the new version when we next offer the opportunity. Alternatively, you accept the translated document and resubmit it for changes or updates when we offer the next opportunity. Please just be aware, once the submission deadline has passed, no substitutions or changes can be made unless you are canceling a request.
Are there times when my content will not be translated?
There are only a few reasons your request may not be translated. The most likely is grant capacity, or that the language you requested is unavailable.
We strive to ensure all interested partners have the opportunity to receive some translated materials in each opportunity. While we accept all content, we may ask that longer materials be replaced with shorter ones, so we can address all partners needs. If such a replacement is necessary, we will contact you and work with you to find appropriate materials. Depending on the volume of the requests, we may limit the number of translations per partner.
Requested language is unavailable
There are times when LSI will inform us that the language you requested is unavailable. We do not currently have a list of all available languages for which LSI provides translations. This can happen up to 2 months after the submission. If this does happen, we will work together to find content that is ready for translation into languages that are available, and substitute the submitted content. You will not be penalized.
A good rule of thumb is to submit the materials you want, in the language(s) you want- if there's a problem, we'll work together to make sure your needs are addressed.
Trainings & Additional Resources
Throughout the year Pro Bono Net, LawHelp Interactive, LawHelp and our partners provide trainings in Language Access, LEP concerns and ensuring your website is accessible to all users. Below is a listing of these trainings:
- LSNTAP/PBN Community Training Series -LEP 201: Tips and challenges in expanding LEP capacity in different technology contexts
- LSNTAP/PBN Community Training Series - Using Technology to Assist People with Limited English Proficiency