TRENTON, NJ – In New Jersey, all state documents are published in one language. Now, Democrats in Trenton are seeking to change that and require all public documents to be made available in no less than 15 different languages.
A new bill seeks to increase that number to 15 languages, a move its supporters say would encourage more civic engagement and increase access to minority residents and the state’s growing ethnic populations.
“Language access is the key to building trust and building community. People definitely become more informed, more engaged, and they just want to be involved more,” said Raina Mustafa, executive director of the Clifton-based Palestinian American Community Center.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), would go further than similar language-access legislation in other states. Hawaii, California, and New York all require state documents to be translated into the states’ 10 most frequently spoken languages.
The bill does not address to cost to translate and print state documents in those 15 languages.