ProEnglish is working with members of Congress to determine the translation costs associated with the 2020 U.S. Census.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC) in the past has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to account for all census translation costs, and Rep. Sam Graves (MO) has introduced H.R. 1728, The Cost of Services and Translations Act (“COST Act”), in the current 116th Congress.
The COST Act is designed to “end speculation on the current cost of multilingual services provided by the Federal Government, and for other purposes.”
The purposes of the COST Act are: (1) to create a new appendix within each agency’s annual performance and accountability report detailing any cost associated with providing multilingual services, such as verbal, written, or other services in languages other than English; (2) to end speculation on the current cost of providing multilingual services; (3) to provide for more transparency in the Federal Government’s accounting practices, and to determine the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures; and (4) to provide for more accountability with the use of taxpayer money.
ProEnglish greatly appreciates that Rep. Graves has introduced the COST Act. It is a very important cost oversight bill, and it likely will show American taxpayers the exorbitant costs that they are paying for multilingual translation services provided by the Federal Government, including in the 2020 U.S. Census.
The 2020 United States Census announced that its Internet Self-Response Instrument and questionnaire assistance will be available in 12 non-English languages and, in addition, that its language guides, language glossaries, and language identification cards will be available in a whopping 59 non-English languages.
ProEnglish believes that there are 5 key reasons to oppose census materials in 59 non-English languages, similar to the reasons to oppose multilingual ballots and election materials: (1) there is no justification for the need to produce census materials in 59 non-English languages; (2) it is arbitrary and wasteful to produce census materials in 59 non-English languages; (3) census materials produced in 59 non-English languages are a very costly and growing burden on U.S. taxpayers; (4) census materials produced in 59 non-English languages are a very costly and growing burden on the federal government; and (5) census materials produced in 59 non-English languages do not decrease the likelihood of errors and fraud.