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9/16/14 - Alaska Native speakers' attorneys spell out election translation needs

KYUK's Daysha Eaton reports Native American Rights Fund attorneys representing Yup'ik and Gwitchin speakers have responded to the state's plan for providing translations for elections. The state's proposed plan addresses a state Supreme Court order to improve translation of voting materials into Native languages before the Nov. 4 election. The NARF attorneys asked that the state have: 

1)  Bilingual help in every community where it's needed, in advance of and on election day.

2.  Written translations of ballot measures, including ancillary information provided in English such as pro and con arguments, neutral summaries, and information on early and absentee voting and how to register.

3.   Translations and translators to address dialect differences, including review of written materials to ensure accuracy.

4.  Posters before the election announcing the materials are available, and who to contact or where to pick up the materials, as well as posters in polling places on election day notifying people bi-lingual assistance is available.

5.  In-person training for all the translators to go through the new materials and teach translators how to use them.

The suit was brought by the villages of Togiak and Hooper Bay. There are 8,000 to 10,000 Yup'ik speakers, and 500 to 1,000 Gwitchin speakers in Alaska.


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