Vietnamese now official language in San Francisco

A girl is happy with Asian Lunar New Year decorations sold in San Francisco. — THX/VNA Photo

HANOI: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has freshly voted unanimously to formally declare Vietnamese an official city language that requires the authorities’ provision of translation services.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the move, alongside other changes to the US city’s language access ordinance, is aimed at ensuring that residents can be served in the language they are most comfortable in.

The ordinance, enacted in 2001, previously required city departments to translate services into any language with at least 10,000 speakers in the city who have limited English proficiency.

Its recent amendment lowered the threshold to 6,000, allowing the inclusion of Vietnamese to the list previously consisting of only Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino.

A total of 6,791 San Francisco residents identify as primarily Vietnamese speakers, according to the city’s language data dashboard. The city will now has to provide telephonic interpretations, website text, written notices, and other official services in Vietnamese.

The legislation was introduced last year by District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who said the city needed to expand language access to ensure its immigrant communities can participate in the government process. — Vietnam News/ANN

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