On April 8th, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland approved a rule updating the regulations that implement Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a law that requires the inclusion of people with disabilities in public places, and the new update emphasizes the need for accessible web and mobile applications. 

 

Why does the ADA’s final rule matter if I'm a language service buyer? 

This question is better answered through an example, which highlights the importance of compliance with the ADA’s final rule for public entities (i.e., schools and governments). Imagine a parent facing a language barrier when trying to access school information.  If the school website doesn’t follow ADA guidelines and isn't accessible in other languages, it can be challenging for parents to stay informed about important school events like parent-teacher conferences.  Therefore, having inclusive digital content is crucial not only so parents can understand and be involved in their child’s school life, but also for creating an educational environment where all families have equal opportunities regardless of disabilities or language barriers. 

So, at this point, you should be asking yourself two questions:

  1. Is my website/mobile app(s) accessible?
  2. If so, is it translated and localized into the most relevant languages? 

Remember these questions as we dive into how your website and mobile app(s) can meet ADA/WCAG guidelines.

 

Is your website following ADA guidelines?

The WCAG simplifies website and mobile app accessibility into four key principles: Your digital content must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. This involves integrating features such as alt-text, text-to-speech, audio descriptions, large print, braille, and sign language to accommodate individuals with communication disabilities, including those with vision, hearing, or speech impairments. Public entities must take proactive steps to provide the necessary aids and services for effective communication with people who face communication barriers. For deeper insights into this topic, consider reading our blog on creating an accessible website

 

How can LSPs help?

A reputable language service provider (LSP) can translate ADA-compliant materials, including websites and mobile apps into multiple languages:

  • Translation and Localization: LSPs translate and localize written content to make the information relatable and understandable for website and mobile users.
  • Audio Descriptions and Voiceovers: LSPs provide voiceovers in various languages, making audio and video content accessible to non-native speakers.
  • Accessible Formats: LSPs create materials in formats accessible to people with vision or hearing impairments, such as large print, braille, or sign language.

 

Final thoughts

As we embrace the updates to the ADA regulations, it's clear that the importance of accessible websites and mobile apps extends beyond compliance—it's about inclusion. These changes ensure that no one is denied access to government services or programs due to disabilities or language barriers. Now, public entities and LSPs can collaborate towards reaching a broader audience and creating understanding in every language.

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