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Frequently Asked Questions

​The Translation Advisory Council is a non-partisan, advisory body committed to providing eligible voters of Oregon’s diverse communities with translated election materials. The Council includes at-large and translator members from Oregon’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The Council validates professional translations for accuracy and ensures translations meet the information needs of the intended audience in a culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate way.

The Council may also make recommendations to the Secretary on related matters as needed, such as the development of glossaries of translated elections terminology or translated web pages.​

Anyone who is a resident of Oregon


Anyone who fulfills the following criteria for one of two types of membership:

  1. At-large positions: At-large members bring lived experience in one or more of the respective communities served by voter pamphlet translation.
  2. Translator positions: Translator members bring lived experience and proficiency in English and one of the Council languages.

Council members are not appointed on a partisan basis.

The list of Council languages​ includes the top five most common languages in the state and every county, other than English. The Secretary of State uses data from the American Community Survey​, including the estimated numbers of individuals who self-evaluate their ability to speak English as “less than very well.” The list may be updated to include new languages based on new data or new data sources every five years.​

Members are appointed to serve for two years and may be reappointed for a total of six years. Meetings are primarily held virtually in the evening and typically last two hours several times a year. Infrequent in-person meetings last approximately four hours. Members must prepare for meetings by reviewing meeting materials. Some members serve on workgroups for specific projects between Council meetings.

The bulk of member activity is reviewing professional translation drafts of voters’ pamphlets and election materials, following quarterly scheduled state and local elections. Due to short election filing dates and turnaround times, members may be asked to review several thousand words over three or four days. ​

No, Council membership is volunteer service. However, the Secretary of State provides each Council member with a stipend to recognize their work and to reduce barriers to participation. There is an annual stipend, a stipend after each attended meeting of the Council, and reimbursement of travel expenses. ​​

The Secretary reviews individuals’ applications and materials for their potential to serve the purpose of the Council. To the greatest extent possible, the Secretary also wants the Council to represent the racial, ethnic, cultural, social, and geographic diversity of the State of Oregon.​

The Secretary of State accepts applications​ for vacancies on the Translation Advisory Council and appoints members from all past and current applicants. All applicants submit the application form, which includes the applicant’s information, their interest in an at-large or translator position and written responses to questions about how the applicant meets the criteria for appointment and reasons for applying. Translator applicants may also provide proof of proficiency in reading and writing English and proficiency in one of the Council languages​ through one or more of the following supplemental materials:
  • Proof of American Translator Association Certification; or
  • Proof of Oregon Court Interpreter Certification or other state or national equivalent; or
  • Proof of Oregon Healthcare Interpreter Certification or other state or national equivalent; or
  • A sample of their own translation work in the designated language, demonstrating skill in translation; or
  • ​A copy of a diploma or unofficial transcript for a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school in the United States of America or an international equivalent in a) one of the Council languages or English, or b) the study of linguistics, translation, interpretation, or related studies completed in English or one of the Council languages.

Contact us at ​or 503-986-2312 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.