A US Presidential Commission has recently recommended that key government websites, such as the White House’s and other federal agencies must be made available in the translation of languages spoken by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Hindi, Gujarati, and Punjabi.
Recently, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans (AA), Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) approved a series of recommendations in this regard though President Biden will take a final call in this regard.
As per the full commission’s recommendation, the federal agencies should provide key documents, digital content, and forms on their websites translated into multiple AA and NHPI languages. It further recommended that persons with limited English proficiency must have access to public and emergency alerts.
The full commission also recommended that the US government should ensure that emergency/disaster prevention, planning, response, mitigation, and recovery programmes are inclusive of and reflect the lived experiences of limited English proficient populations.
This series of recommendations has been on the table for quite a while considering Indian-American Ajay Jain Bhutoria’s multi-language publicity campaign for Democratic candidate and now US President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election.
The Biden campaign made a deep impact on the community as the election campaigns were held in Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu, and other South Asian languages.
A rapid surge in the population of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders has further indicated to cross the 40 million mark by 2060. As per the 2020 census, “There are about 25 million who speak a foreign language at home and whose English-speaking ability is at a level less than very well. Among AA and NHPI communities, 16.5 million speak English less than very well.”
Based out of Silicon Valley and a successful entrepreneur, Bhutoria is now one of the members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (Commission), argued that providing information in languages specific to the audience will help bridge the information divide.
Bhutoria, in his proposal presented before the commission, observed that AAPIs have helped build a strong and vibrant America.
Generations of AA and NHPI individuals, families, and communities are composed of diverse and varied ethnicities, languages, and cultures, and include residents of United States Pacific Island territories and freely associated states.
They play an important economic role, having started businesses and generated jobs that pay billions of dollars in wages and taxes, including founding some of our nation’s most successful and innovative enterprises, the proposal said.