<br /><br />Translating election materials into Tagalog language is a challenge in Nevada<br /><br />
Filipino community hopes updated language translation of election materials and ballots into Tagalog will improve political awareness and spur voter participation in Clark County, Nevada.
In June we told you about the introduction of Tagalog language election ballots in Clark County to accommodate the growing Filipino population in Nevada which had more than doubled from 2000 to 2010, making them the fastest growing population of Filipinos in the United States.
But when Larry Lomax, the Clark County Registrar of Voters, was first confronted with the issue of accommodating these voters, in order to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act, he was caught off guard.
According to the Las Vega Sun, right from the start, the process raised questions. Incredibly, there are about 100 languages spoken on the Philippine archipelago, and Lomax had no one from the Philippines on his staff and did not know where to start.
"They just tell you that you have to accommodate this certain population, and it's up to us to determine the most appropriate language," Lomax said. So he reached out to Filipino-American organizations in Southern Nevada for help on which specific language to use.
"There are many language used in the Philippines," said Amie Belmonte, president of the Filipino-American Political Organization with Equal Representation and who was on the committee assisting Lomax. "We chose Filipino, which is also known here as Tagalog, because that is the national language and the one that you can expect the most people to know."
"I think doing this really makes the Filipino community more involved and more included in the electoral process," Belmonte said. "In the Philippines, the election process is corrupt and people feel like their voice doesn't even matter. Through this translation, where ballots are in the Filipino language in a foreign country, they feel like, 'Wow, our voice really matters.'"
By Alex Dupont
Marketing Communications Specialist
Language Translation Inc.