We’re highlighting the great work our translators do helping to make our elections and services accessible to every member of the community. Here we sit down for a brief Q&A with Nhien Huynh, our Vietnamese language translator.
What is your background and what brought you to working in local government at King County?
I was the Student Government Community Service Chair at South Seattle College. That experience taught me the importance of being involved and making a difference in the community. For that reason, I was attracted to working in local government. Additionally, King County was a good fit for me, because we share many of the same values, particularly those related to diversity and inclusion.
Why did you choose to work in Language Services for King County Elections?
I was excited for the opportunity to be involved in the democratic process, to engage with the community, and to be a linguistic and cultural bridge to Vietnamese residents of King County. Also, my dad is a translator, so I suppose it’s in my genes.
How does your work support the King County Elections mission of conducting fair, open and accurate elections?
A fair election is an inclusive one. To me, inclusive means that limited-English-speaking and underrepresented communities get to participate in an equitable manner. Language Services works to accomplish this goal by providing materials in four additional languages. Moreover, we engage in regular outreach to encourage voter registration and active participation by individuals in those communities.
Why is it important to do this translation and interpretation work and represent the many diverse groups and cultures within King County?
Democracy only works if all citizens have equitable access to actively participate in elections. Given King County’s diverse population, we have the duty to increase voter accessibility through our translation and interpretation efforts.
What is the biggest challenge of your job, and what is something that you enjoy the most about it?
In elections with a large number of races and measures, legal deadlines pose a challenge, because we have an increased amount of translation to do within the same legally-mandated deadlines.
I really enjoy knowing that my work helps to provide individuals with language barriers access to elections. My motto is making a difference one Vietnamese ballot at a time.