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Empowering New York City Voters: The Impact of Translation Services

Through our collaboration with the Campaign Finance Board, Eriksen plays a crucial role in New York City’s efforts to ensure that all residents have the information they need to participate fully in their local elections. Learn how Eriksen leverages its expertise to overcome unique challenges and deliver high-quality translation services that support and enhance the democratic process.

Empowering Voters: The Campaign Finance Board

With a mission to make local democracy more open, transparent, and equitable, the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) provides nonpartisan, independent oversight in New York City’s electoral landscape. In addition to voter outreach and education efforts, the CFB runs a matching funds program that enhances the role of residents in elections, ensuring all voices are heard.

Translating the Voter Guide: A Multilingual Challenge

The CFB faces the formidable task of translating its voter education materials from English into the top 12 languages spoken by New Yorkers. The agency’s most significant biannual undertaking is the comprehensive Voter Guide, an essential resource printed and mailed to all registered voters in the City and published in full on the CFB website. The entire guide, including voting information, citywide candidate profiles, ballot information, and other details, is translated into each of the 12 languages. Based on Census data, some translated versions are mailed directly to voters, while others are distributed by request and via libraries, community organizations, and other partners. CFB entrusted Eriksen with providing translation and typesetting services for this critical project to help ensure the linguistic accessibility of this high-profile initiative.

Navigating Complexities: From Candidate Profiles to Tight Timelines

The New York City Voter Guide features hundreds of candidate profiles, with editions for each borough presenting unique combinations of local offices. Each local version adds 8-30 (or more) extra pages containing local candidate profiles, which are translated and formatted for every distinct edition.

Eriksen also came on board at a time of significant scope expansion. In prior years, CFB had translated materials into just five languages and was now mandated to translate everything into twelve. The task was made more complex by frequent updates to the content and the involvement of numerous stakeholders.

Fast-Track Translations for Time-Sensitive Electoral Content

One specific challenge arose when CFB had a strict scheduling requirement for web content that did not leave time for a traditional three-step translation process. To meet CFB’s timetable, Eriksen, in collaboration with the CFB’s Language Access Team, initially implemented a strategy of using Machine Translation with Post-Editing (MTPE) for temporary web content so CFB would comply with legal deadlines. Eriksen then performed comprehensive human translation and editing – the preferred process for such high-profile content – so CFB could replace the temporary MTPE translations online.

A More Linguistically Inclusive Electoral Process

Our collaboration with the Campaign Finance Board in 2023 set the stage for 2024, which will span multiple election cycles across city, state, and federal levels. The success of our work with CFB to date demonstrates Eriksen’s ability to handle large-scale, complex translation work and our flexibility in adapting to the evolving needs of our clients.

We are proud to support CFB’s mission to enhance democracy in New York City, and we look forward to continuing our work together, helping to ensure that all residents can engage with the electoral process in their preferred language.

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