Built-In Language Translation Now on County Website

Published on May 30, 2019

Arlington County is making it a little easier to view online County information and resources in languages other than English.

The County website — arlingtonva.us — now includes a built-in language translation tool that web visitors can use to more easily translate online content into more than 100 different languages. Powered by Google Translate, a free and widely used online translation platform, the tool is similar to that used by Arlington Public Schools and many neighboring local governments.

Because Google Translate is a "machine-translation" service, not all terms and language will translate 100-percent accurately. However, the service provides a greater level of accessibility than previously available on the site.

"While not perfect, this is a significant improvement to the County website," County Manager Mark Schwartz said. "It makes it easier for more Arlingtonians to access information about their County government, regardless of what language they speak."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 7.5 percent of Arlington residents report speaking a language other than English at home and speaking English "less than "very well.'" This amounts to as many as 17,000-18,000 individuals.

Spanish is by far the most commonly spoken of those languages, with Amharic and Mongolian especially prevalent as well. In all, more than 100 languages are spoken in Arlington, nearly all of which are available via Google Translate.

Recognizing the limitations of Google Translate, the County will continue to provide human translations of critical information, including important forms and other materials, as needed.

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How to use the new tool

  • Look for the globe icon and the word "Translate" in the upper right corner of any Arlington County webpage.

  • Click the icon or text and a menu will drop down showing 15 of the more prevalent languages in Arlington. Images of national flags next to each language help non-English speakers find their preferred language.

  • For desktop users, click "More Languages" to open the full Google Translate tool and translate the County site into more than 100 different languages.