Why Translation Services for U.S. Government Agencies are Crucial to Public Services

Business, Language

Public services are those provided by the government to its citizens and paid for by taxpayer dollars. When a significant number of the citizenry does not speak the national language, it is incumbent upon government agencies to provide translation services. As the number of limited-English-proficient (LEP) speakers in the United States continues to grow, the need for translation services for U.S. government agencies is also on the rise.

In fact, we can even see government translators as essential public workers, since the government is required by law to communicate with the citizens it serves. Having reliable written translation services, as well as 24/7 phone interpretation services, ensures that government agencies can provide appropriate public service resources and using a reliable translation company saves taxpayers time and money.

DTS Language Services, Inc. has been a trusted language services provider for both the public and the private sector. We’ve been providing translators and interpreters to government agencies for more than 40 years and our clients say our professionalism is unmatched. In this article, we discuss the why, the need, the process, and the impact of strong translation services for U.S. government agencies.

Why Translation Services for U.S. Government Agencies Are Crucial to Delivering Public Services

Do you remember those public service announcements (PSA) you would see on T.V. back when we all watched commercials and had only five channels to watch? The tagline was: “The more you know…” Well, those announcements conveyed messages in the public interest and were disseminated to the general public without charge by government agencies. 

Government agencies still issue PSAs too. You may have seen more recent public service announcements from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The only difference now is that we’re less likely to see them while watching network T.V. (Does anyone still watch network T.V.?) The objective of these PSAs hasn’t changed. Government agencies issue PSAis to raise awareness of and change public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue, e.g., washing your hands during a public health crisis.

So, imagine what would happen if a significant portion of those living in the U.S. could not understand these public service announcements. Millions of those in some of the most vulnerable populations would be left in the dark about serious issues of public health, safety, and national concern. 

Now, you might not think understanding PSAs is all that important. Afterall, most of us probably don’t hear about issues of public health and safety from U.S. government agencies. Still, there are many other examples where not being able to communicate with those in need of public services makes already vulnerable populations even more vulnerable.

Imagine going to the DMV and trying to comply with all the rules and regulations when you don’t speak the same language as the public servants working in that department. Or imagine having a question about your Social Security check and not being able to communicate with the operator on the other end of the line when you call the office. These public services must be accessible to all. Government agencies can and must do better for the general public.

Skilled, professional translators help government agencies to overcome language and cultural barriers to ensure effective communication is taking place. DTS has translators and interpreters with extensive experience in multiple subject areas requiring government translation services at the Federal, State, County, and Municipal levels. 

The bottomline: Improving communication for limited-English and non-English speakers leads to improved delivery of public services and helps government agencies build trust within the communities they serve.

Understanding the Need

Government translation services fit the needs of government agencies at all levels. At DTS, our translation of written, electronic, and multimedia resources both to and from English and in over 100 foreign languages includes four main industries: Life Sciences & Medical, Technical & Manufacturing, Financial & Legal, and Technology. Each of these industries has a place in the public eye.

In addition, our translators are subject matter experts and many have specialized knowledge to address the specific needs of government entities. We have project managers who match translation projects with translators based on their skills and experience. So all of our government agency clients get the kind of service they have come to expect from professional government contractors.

The Costs of Miscommunication Errors for Government Agencies:

We focus on the needs of our U.S. Government Agency clients because we care about preventing the costs of miscommunication errors. When public servants cannot communicate with those they serve and protect, several costs arise:

  • Strains on time and resources
  • Increased budgets and losses of revenue
  • Losses of government funding (e.g., federal funds being distributed to states), fines, and public scrutiny
  • Decreased productivity and efficiency of the staff
  • Reputational harm to the agency
  • Decreased interest and engagement among the LEP population
  • Negative impacts on public safety and emergency responses

To avoid these costs, government agencies need to partner with professional translators and interpreters who can help mitigate the risks associated with miscommunication. Compliance, confidentiality, and security are critical when it comes to translation for U.S. government agencies. Our government clients enjoy a high level of customer service, competitive rates, technology that’s up-to-date, and standards of data security surpassing our competitors.

Understanding the Process

Let’s turn now to our process for government translation services. We have worked out policies, processes, and procedures over the decades we’ve been delivering these services. We always make sure to deliver the same quality of service to all clients regardless of whether they are spending $1 million or $99.

To stay true to our pledge to our clients, here is the process we follow for written translations:

  • The client contacts us for a quote
  • Our friendly staff calls the client to discuss the details, discuss all deadlines, and provide a quote for our services within 24 hours
  • Upon mutual agreement to start work, the project will be assigned to a project manager and a handpicked team of translators based on skills and experience
  • You deliver source documents to the team
  • Our team delivers your confidential translated documents by the agreed upon deadline
  • If adjustments are needed, you work directly with the project manager to ensure the necessary changes are made

Our top priority at DTS Language Services, Inc. is to make sure every client has exactly what they need, including emergency and rush services. You can expect that we will exceed your expectations each and every time we deliver a translation.

Understanding the Impact

What are some of the ways in which translation services benefit U.S. government agencies? Here are the biggest impacts seen and felt by government agencies with access to reliable translation services:

  1. Lower costs by reducing time and resources spent on miscommunication errors.
  2. Increased compliance with relevant legislation: Title VI; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA); Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Affordable Care Act (ACA); The Joint Commission; Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Act (FWA); Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Homeland Security; National Disaster and Border Contingencies.
  3. Increased efficiency for public services.
  4. Better disaster preparedness response systems and increased public safety.
  5. Strengthened community relationships.
  6. Increased staff adoption, efficiency, and compliance.
  7. Higher satisfaction ratings within LEP communities. 

Making comprehensive language access programs a priority enhances communication, ensures better compliance rates with state and federal regulations, and aids public servants in cultivating a positive public image.

How DTS Can Help

Government agencies are switching to DTS because we’re different. What’s the DTS Difference?

  • Reliability: Our on-time delivery rate is 95%, which is one of the best in our industry. With our proven reliability, you won’t need to worry about your translation or transcription being ready in time for that big meeting with the brass.
  • Responsiveness: We know how valuable your time is. Government officials have important work to do and we make sure to respond to your requests as quickly as possible. We even pick up the phone when you call us!
  • Results: We’ve been working with clients in both the public and the private sector for over 45 years. We’ve logged over 100,000 projects and that number grows every day.

In addition, at DTS, we pledge to all of our clients, including U.S. government agencies, the following:

  • DTS guarantees the capacity to give your project the attention it deserves. We have a database of capable translators with native language fluency in over 100 different language pairings.
  • DTS guarantees exceptional translation delivery times. Our on-time delivery rates are some of the best you’ll see in our industry. Deadlines will vary depending on the scope, content, and formatting needs of the project, but our project review process ensures that we’ll deliver the finished product to you when we say we will.

U.S. government agencies we serve:

  • Courts and Judicial Agencies
  • 911 Emergency Services
  • Healthcare
  • Social Services
  • Public Education: K-12 and Higher Education
  • Police
  • Fire
  • EMS Response Teams
  • Community Centers
  • Disaster Response and Management Teams
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Regulatory Enforcement
  • Public Utilities
  • Community Outreach, Planning, and Public Notices

Language services DTS provides:

  • Government translation services
  • On-demand phone interpretation
  • Audio and video transcription services
  • Website translation and localization

In addition to the above benefits, working with a smaller translation agency is a smart move for government agencies. When it comes to local government, keeping taxpayer dollars local is a huge benefit to our local economy. We love partnering with local authorities in the Triangle area. 

Thinking beyond local agencies, when small businesses partner with State and Federal organizations, it helps keep unemployment low and the economy running like a well-oiled machine. We always talk about small businesses being the “backbone” of the U.S. economy. So, hiring a smaller translation agency to deliver translation, interpretation, and transcription services is a great way for government agencies to show their appreciation for small business owners. 

If you represent a U.S. government entity looking for document translation, phone interpretation, or transcription services, contact us for a quote. We would be honored to partner with you for any of your language needs!