RCRA Public Participation Manual - Tools
EPA-530-F-20-001 | https://www.epa.gov/rcra
Translations provide written or oral information in a foreign language to a community with a significant number of
community members who are not proficient in English. Translations can be provided for text (online and print), as well as
oral communications through an interpreter.
Written translations and use of interpreters fosters a bridge to language barriers and facilitates the participation of
community members in the RCRA permit decision-making process.
However, translations are very costly, especially simultaneous translations of public meetings. Sentence-by-sentence
oral translations frequently double the length of public meetings, and may make information more difficult to present
effectively and smoothly. In addition, very few translators are familiar with the RCRA permitting and corrective action
Required activity?
No. However, EPA recommends using multilingual communications, as appropriate, to provide equal access to
information throughout the RCRA process. When warranted, translations also should be used for information posted to
websites and social media.
Chapter 2 of the 2016 Edition of the RCRA Public Participation Manual has a case study on the use of written translations
to engage local communities.
Making It Work
When to Use
Translations may be necessary when a significant portion of the community is not proficient in English. If data shows that
a significant number of stakeholders are uneducated, consider providing oral interpretations at public events. In certain
cases, an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter may be needed for the hard-of-hearing.
The need for translations is often determined during Community Assessment and Community Interviews. Translations
may be used for fact sheets, online content, public notices, presentations, public meetings, public hearings, and news
Using local resources to provide oral or ASL interpretations at community meetings or news briefings can be a powerful
tool. Some Regions use local contractors, community groups, and college students in language programs as resources.
How to Use
 Evaluate need: Are there a significant number of stakeholders in the community who may not be able to participate in
the decision-making process due to a lack of English proficiency?
	Dialects: Ensure that translators speak the same dialect as community members.
	Technical concepts and tone: Hire translators and interpreters and writers who have demonstrated the ability to convey
technical concepts and nuanced scientific results (e.g., chemical names, statistical findings) in an accessible manner.

RCRA Public Participation Manual - Tools

RCRA Public Participation Manual - Tools
 Simultaneous translation: Quality assurance is more difficult during simultaneous translation, as there is no time for
review. In this instance, translate the technical aspects of the subject in advance. Practice speeches beforehand with
the translator and review all relevant RCRA jargon beforehand. Consider whether translations should be simultaneous
or not.
Checklist for Translations
~	Determine need for translations.
~	Identify translation service or staff capable of translating in the relevant languages.
~	Prepare list of technical and RCRA terms that will need to be translated.
~	Translate text materials, including materials posted to websites and social media.
n For meetings, determine if translation will be simultaneous (using audio equipment) or if translations will occur
following statements. If simultaneous, provide the appropriate audio equipment.
~	For meetings, prepare responses to expected questions in advance with the translator.
RCRA Public Participation Manual - Tools