May 27, 2010Collection of Essential City Documents in Multiple Languages Offers Access to City Programs, Services and Activities in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched Language Gateway, a new multilingual web portal that provides essential City resources translated in the most commonly spoken languages in New York City. The new webportal, found on www.nyc.gov, currently includes 160 documents from 17 City agencies in the four most spoken languages in New York. Language Gateway builds on a 2008 Executive Order signed by the Mayor, which aims to provide the 1.8 million non-native English speakers of New York City with greater access to public and city services. City agencies that have direct interaction with New Yorkers are required to make forms available in the top six languages spoken by New Yorkers. Language Gateway expands this requirement to the Internet. Managed by the Mayor's Office of Operations, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the Language Gateway provides an easy to navigate site that contains documents translated into Spanish, Chinese and Russian.
"No matter what language you speak or where you were born, New York City provides access to services for all New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Language Gateway puts government forms and information in one place online to take the confusion out of searching. The long-standing contributions of immigrants to our City's past are immeasurable and our future depends on making sure we remain a place that welcomes our newest New Yorkers, and allows them to contribute to our economy and culture."
Language Gateway is part of the Bloomberg Administration's Connected City Initiative, a series of technology programs to transform the ways in which New Yorkers can interact with City government. The online portal will serve as a 'one-stop-shop' for the most immediate needs of Limited-English proficient New Yorkers and the community-based organizations that serve them. Language Gateway has city documents, forms, applications, and brochures from 23 city agencies. Through the Language Gateway, New Yorkers can quickly find information on how to apply for public housing, find a job, start a small business, qualify for health insurance and public benefits, and learn about pedestrian safety, parenting tips and other important topics of local government information.
"Language Gateway is yet another example of how the City's commitment to providing better access to government and services to immigrant New Yorkers is being realized," said Commission Shama, "As we aim to make New York City government more language accessible this tool provides limited-English proficient New Yorkers and front-line workers in community organizations an opportunity to go to one location for the documents they need."
"Language Gateway has been designed with the customer in mind", said Mayor's Office of Operations Director Jeff Kay. "And it takes us closer to our goal of making all of our service channels as accessible as possible. The site not only breaks down language barriers for New Yorkers, it also knocks down walls between agencies. Users do not have to know which agency site to visit, in order to get the essential information they need."
Every document is divided into categories, making it easy for recent immigrants, and the community-based organizations that work with them, to find the information they need. To further help community-based organization enhance its services to their limited English proficient clients, the Language Gateway allows the user to access a document in Spanish, Chinese and Russian directly from the English-only document.
"To further improve the way it delivers service, the City is listening to New Yorkers in as many languages as it can," said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. "Better access to City government has been a consistent theme of technology programs over the course of the Bloomberg Administration, and the Language Gateway should serve as an exemplary addition to that list."
The translation and formatting of many of the documents for the Gateway was funded by a grant through the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has provided key support for many of the City's language access projects. The Language Gateway expands the City's commitment to providing New Yorkers with convenient and user-friendly government resources and services in multiple languages.
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine