Federal and state legislation that helps businesses in our industry grow.
Clarifying existing laws or policy, or their interpretation by the government.
Educating government officials about what our companies do and how important our industry is to the U.S. economy, directly and indirectly.
The continued or increased support of the government in language services and language education throughout the United States.
ALC Members Are Proactive
ALC was created, in part to be a strong, unified voice that can represent the industry’s interests to the government. Along with the efforts of the association itself, many members of ALC have come together to advocate at either the federal or state level.
You can’t talk about advocacy in the language industry without mentioning one of our founders, Bill Graeper. Many years ago, he led the charge to fight for legislative protections for language companies in his state of Oregon. But he also travelled around the country often, at his own expense, to consult with groups of companies in other states who were fighting similar legislative battles.
Five ALC member companies, including Bill’s company, co-founded the Contract Interpreters Information Center, an organization dedicated to helping both companies and freelancers promote and defend the validity of the contractor business model.
Several ALC members have testified before various state legislative houses around the country, and even before Congress.
Several state-based advocacy partnerships have even been inspired or created during ALC meetings and events, including for Oregon, New York, Washington, Maryland, Connecticut, and Michigan. These groups have hired lobbyists, shared resources, petitioned their state governments, hired specialized legal support, and helped each other through individual legal battles and audits.
The Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Language and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) advocates for the interests of the entire language community, including private LSCs. The association accomplishes this by lobbying Congress and executive branch agencies with public awareness campaigns, and with its well-known annual Language Advocacy Day and Delegate Assembly.
ALC works closely with JNCL-NCLIS, which is an honorary member of the association. We provide it with feedback, data, and references to help with its objectives. We promote participation and support among our members and the industry at large. JNCL-NCLIS’s executive director, William P. Rivers, Ph.D., graciously brings vital information and updates to our members and stakeholders regularly. He also serves on some ALC committees and is in constant contact with our board of directors.
Some of JNCL-NCLIS’s current initiatives include:
Better federal contracting policies, including restricting the Department of Defense's use of reverse auctions, and lowest-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) procurement.
Improvements to the prevailing wage calculations made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Clear federal guidance on the use of raw machine translation in professional services.
Increases – or at least no decreases – in language education or research funding to promote innovation, global business development, economic competitiveness, and national security.
One of most important issues right now - both federally, and especially at the state level all around the United States – is worker classification. ALC believes that translators, interpreters, and other language workers should have the right to choose if they would like to work in this industry as an employee or an independent contractor. And surveys consistently show that these language workers overwhelmingly desire that freedom.
There is a lot of confusion on the part of auditors from both federal and state agencies on this issue. And many language company owners have been the victims of audits implemented based on laws that were written without the language industry in mind. This lack of clarity has resulted in audit rulings that have put some companies out of business, and financially devastated others.