NORMAN — At the click of a button, the City of Norman’s website can now translate the site text into eight languages other than English in a step toward fulfilling the city’s motto of “building an inclusive community.”
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Cinthya Allen said the city is home to many foreign exchange students thanks to the University of Oklahoma, and the site’s service is one more tool to help other language speakers engage in city government.
“It is important to take that step to make sure that any of our residents have that ability to translate, if you are interested in that,” Allen said. “It’s just that little extra step of engagement with our residents and just anyone who comes to the City of Norman website.”
Available languages include Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Korean and Chinese.
The service could go a long way to help other language speakers understand the resources the city has to offer, Allen said. Text on the website will translate, but city forms like applications and city agendas will not.
“What is translated is any text on our site, which is a good portion of the website,” Allen said. “It’s part of the software we utilize for our website. It was about optimizing what we already have, so no additional cost was needed.”
Allen put forward a call out to city employees to search for other language speakers and suggestions for the project, including an introduction video for other language speakers.
“I first engaged City of Norman employees by inviting anyone who is fluent in one of these foreign languages to participate,” Allen said. “After filling a couple slots, I sought community engagement to volunteer for this video. Everyone who participated was very excited about the translation service and being a part of the video.”