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Lynn

Lynn working to break the language barrier

Lynn is taking another step to make city government more accessible to people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The city currently employs Arabic, Khmer, and Spanish interpreters at City Hall, with plans to hire a Haitian Creole interpreter this year. To expand on that effort, Lynn plans to hire a coordinator to oversee the language access services and help the city learn how to better serve community members.

According to the latest census figures, more than 50 percent of Lynn’s residents speak a language other than English at home.

“Improving language access will continue to take a lot of work, but is critical to our goal for a city that works for all of us,” said Mayor Jared Nicholson.

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In the past year, Lynn also has created bilingual directories in English and Spanish; offered a 15-week Spanish language course to city employees; arranged to have parking tickets printed in both English and Spanish; and hired a consultant to revamp the city’s website, with one of the goals improving language access. It has also begun offering simultaneous automated interpretation at some city meetings.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.