The Language Access Laws Your Company Needs to Care About

Are you looking to expand your business globally? Be sure you know about the local laws and regulations that could impact your company’s success.

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Jessica Rivera

March 07, 2023


Translation and website localization are crucial aspects of communication and business growth in today’s globalized world. With businesses and organizations expanding their reach beyond their local borders, the need for translation services has increased significantly. However, translating content from one language to another can be challenging, especially when it comes to breaking into international markets. Many countries and governments have their own laws and regulations regarding how to communicate with multilingual audiences.  

If you’re looking to do business in certain territories, you need to know if you need to comply with any of these laws. Luckily, we’re here to share our knowledge to help your business succeed. 

The Importance of Website Translation

Website translation allows companies to connect with a global audience, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive revenue. According to research, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. This means that businesses that don’t provide content in the language of their target audience risk losing potential customers. 

Furthermore, website translation is essential for compliance with local laws and regulations. Many countries require businesses to provide content in the local language to operate within their borders. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal penalties and damage to the company’s reputation. 

Laws and Regulations for Website Translation

If you’re looking to run a business or sell within any of the following areas, here are some laws and regulations that you’ll need to comply with when translating your website content: 

1. United States 

In the United States, there are several laws that ensure access to language services for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). The following are some of the major language access laws in America: 

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Under Title VI, recipients of federal funds are required to provide meaningful access to LEP (Limited English Proficiency) individuals. 

Executive Order 13166: Issued by President Clinton in 2000, this order requires federal agencies and recipients of federal funds to take reasonable steps to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access to their services, programs, and activities. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires entities to provide reasonable accommodations, including language access services, to ensure effective communication. 

Voting Rights Act of 1965: This law prohibits discriminatory voting practices, including practices that prevent LEP individuals from exercising their right to vote. Under the Act, jurisdictions with significant numbers of LEP voters must provide language assistance, such as bilingual election materials and interpreters. 

Affordable Care Act: The ACA requires healthcare providers and insurers to provide language access services to LEP individuals, including translated documents, oral interpretation, and written translation of vital documents. 

2. European Union (EU) Laws 

The European Union has some of the most stringent laws when it comes to website translation. The EU requires certain companies, selling specific goods and services, to provide information about their products in the language of the country where they are operating. For instance, if your company sells machinery to any of the member countries within the Union or the EEA, the EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC stipulates that all instructions and warnings must be available in the official language of that member country, as well as in the original language. 

In addition to language requirements, the EU has strict data protection laws under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR requires companies to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting and processing their personal data. This means that when translating website content, companies must ensure that their privacy policies and terms of use are translated accurately and in compliance with local laws. 

3. Canada 

Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as its official languages. In May of 2022, Quebec’s government passed a new bill titled An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec, also known as Bill 96. Its goal is to protect French as the official language of the province and expands on a previous bill, levying much stricter penalties. 

In January of 2024, they updated the bill to include stricter compliance rules, including amendments about public contracts, packaging, and fine structures. The new deadlines for compliance is June 1, 2027, specifically for goods manufactured no later than June 1, 2025.

Companies will need to mind their online content, such as embedded URLs, internally linked webpages, linked company-based social media profiles and pages, and pop-up windows that include cookie consent, payment screens, and terms of service. If you are concerned about French coverage need to take immediate and quick action, MotionPoint can help you deploy a translated website in as little as 45 days! 

Don’t Stress About Your Translation Needs 

Is your team not equipped to handle complying with tedious and strict laws and regulations? Then don’t worry about it! To ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, your business will have the best success if you partner with a concierge-level translation service company.  

With access to MotionPoint’s Adaptive Translation, you’ll get money-saving tools like translation memory, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic translation. Thorough our quality assurance processes, we ensure consistency in translations, reduce translation costs, and speed up the translation process. By prioritizing consistency and accuracy, you can more easily comply with regulations and ensure that no mistakes go unnoticed. 

In today’s globalized world, website translation is essential for businesses that want to expand their reach and connect with a global audience. However, translating webpages and documents can be challenging, especially when you need to consider local laws and regulations. You can help your business avoid legal penalties, build customer trust, and ultimately drive revenue by partnering with an experienced translation company. With a team of expert linguists and industry-leading adaptive technology, MotionPoint is prepared to guide you through the translation process, start to finish. Reach out to learn more today. 

Last updated on March 07, 2023
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About Jessica Rivera

Jessica Rivera brings an expert understanding of global business, executive leadership, and holistic team and culture building to her role as MotionPoint’s EVP, Global Sales and Corporate Affairs. She has over 15 years of experience collaborating with C-suites at leading SaaS and fintech companies.

Jessica Rivera's avatar
Jessica Rivera

EVP, People & Performance / Chief Legal Officer


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