In an effort to reach more residents with important news and information about city services and facilities, the City of Bellevue has created a new set of web pages translated into Russian.
Unveiled Tuesday, the Russian site is the third city site in a foreign language. A Spanish site was rolled out along with an overhaul of the main city site in August of 2006. A Chinese site was made available this past September. The city is developing web pages for Vietnamese speakers, anticipated to be ready by the end of the year.
"Census Bureau surveys indicate that non-native English speakers represent 32 percent of Bellevue's population, so we're gratified when we find effective ways to reach them," City Manager Steve Sarkozy said.
The foreign language sites, all accessible from links on the left column of all city web pages, are just one of several ways Bellevue has upgraded its Internet presence to improve communications with citizens. Other key upgrades include:
- Immediacy -- The home page is focused on current events that matter to residents, with photos, graphics and headlines adding to the immediacy of the information presented.
- Interactivity -- More online forms are available, making it easier for residents to sign up for classes or services or just to register comments. The home page currently features two surveys and an interactive map of proposed additions to the city's network of bike lanes, sidewalks and walking trails.
- E-Mail Alerts -- The city recently initiated E-Mail Alerts, through which Bellevue can send e-mails to residents when new information is posted on city web pages in which they're interested.
- Navigability -- Most pages are available within two or three clicks from the home page.
- Quality Control -- To ensure that the site continues to be up-to-date and useful, a full-time online editor with editorial and technical expertise manages all of the content, both text and images.
Staff in the Communications Department teamed up with the Neighborhood Outreach team to develop the foreign-language websites. Residents representing each minority group were polled about the information they considered essential, and a private translation service was hired to render that information in the foreign languages. Staff in the Outreach office who speak the other languages reviewed pages for accuracy.
The foreign-language websites are distinct from the English site, each one focused on key topics not subject to frequent change.
The city continues to refine its website to make key information more accessible. If users have suggestions, they can share them with the online editor.
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