When translating your website content, the to-do list can feel never-ending. From choosing the right Language Service Provider (LSP) for your business to ensuring you have a robust content strategy in place, there’s a lot to think about. There are also many non-negotiables on that list, which includes being ADA-compliant.
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and for your translated content to be compliant, it must ensure that those who have communication disabilities can engage with it in a meaningful way.
Think of it like this: translation gives people access to services and products in a way they can understand.
But what happens if that person has a communication disability, such as loss of hearing or lack of vision?
Communication Disabilities are Fairly Common
According to the World Bank, 15% of the world’s population - that’s 1 billion people - have some form of disability. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 1 in 4 adults lives with a cognitive, hearing, or vision impairment.
This means there are a lot of people out there who could have difficulty accessing your translated content. However, being ADA-compliant helps to ease that issue.
At LinguaLinx, we’re the trusted go-to partner for the world’s leading companies, institutions, and governments, using the highest standards, expertise, and skills. Every day we work with international standardizations, meaning we’re used to meeting official requirements and benchmarks.
This article is a helpful guide on the most common things that need to be considered in order to move towards ADA-Compliance. We’ll look at what it means, what types of formats you can use, and some tips to help you work towards their requirements, so when it comes to your website translations, you’re considering everyone’s accessibility.
What Does Being ADA-Compliant Mean?
The goal of the ADA is to ensure anyone with a disability is communicated with as effectively as those without a disability. It was signed into law in 1990 and applies to state and local governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations.
According to the ADA itself, it aims to prohibit “discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state & local government programs & services.”
What Does Being ADA-Compliant Mean for LSPs?
The main question is: how do you become ADA-Compliant, particularly in the context of your website translation?
No doubt you’ll have put in a lot of preparation when it comes to your content and getting it ready for translation.
In order to become ADA-Compliant, you have to ensure that this content is accessible to everyone. There are alternative content formats that can help you achieve this.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these alternative formats often include:
- Real-time captioning
- Accessible PDFs
The job of each of them is to make sure they preserve the meaning of the original files, while making them accessible to a wider audience.
How To Help Your Content Become ADA-Compliant
There is no one way to guarantee ADA-Compliance; however, there are some key things you’ll want to consider when it comes to checking if your current content is ADA-compliant.
WCAG 2.0 Level AA is a set of guidelines that have established the fundamentals for online accessibility rules for most of Europe and many other nations across the world. They can be summed up with four areas of focus below.
For existing translated content, this is more of a checklist you can cross reference against and confirm everything is up to scratch. However, if you have a batch of content you’re looking to translate, think of it as a to-do list:
- Identify perceivable issues that affect a user’s ability to find, engage with, and process information on your website, like audio descriptions for video content.
- Understand operable issues that impact a user’s ability to navigate and use your website, like being sure all site functions can be completed through keyboard-only commands.
- Prepare for any comprehension issues that could affect a user’s ability to understand information and navigation on your website, like clear explanations and next-step directions for site errors.
- Ensure a website’s ability to adapt and evolve in order to meet the needs of users with communication disabilities, like being on top of adding ADA-compliant formats for any new content that’s published.
5 of the Top ADA-Compliant Formats
Here are five ADA-compliant formats you should consider when it comes to the content you’re translating:
1. Accessible PDFs
Accessible PDFs most typically include read-out-loud features, meaning that any illustrations, charts, graphs or images have a description in the target language embedded within them.
2. American Sign Language
American Sign Language (ASL) helps deaf or hearing-impaired people communicate and is most frequently used for video and moving image content.
When looking to become ADA-Compliant, you’ll need to work with qualified ASL experts or oral interpreters.
Audio solutions are typically used for disabilities that involve loss of vision.
Formats include using qualified interpreters through video remote interpreting (VRI), voice-based telecommunications systems, qualified readers, assistive listening devices, taped texts, and audio recordings.
Braille-document formats are necessary for those with vision loss or who are blind. All original content can be turned into Braille, including charts, graphs, and images, through the use of descriptors.
This is necessary to do in order to give readers access to the complete content.
5. Large Print
For visually impaired readers, or those with poor eyesight, large-print translations are required to reduce eye strain.
Get a Quote to Make Your Website ADA-Compliant
When it comes to creating ADA-compliant translated content, there’s lots to consider and check off. Often, each project is different, and the advice we’ve given here is by no means legal advice, but it does come from our extensive experience in the Language Services industry.
Ultimately, to ensure ADA-Compliance, you should always check with your legal team.
Here at LinguaLinx, we have twenty years of professional translation experience, working with international standardizations, as well as consistently meeting and exceeding these performance and quality benchmarks.
If you’re thinking of translating your website and would like some advice on how best to become ADA-Compliant, we’d love to sit down and talk with you about it.
Continue Learning With These Helpful Articles
- What is a Language Service Provider?
- Website Localization vs Translation: Which is Right for You?
- Reasons to Hire a LSP for Website Translations