English, Fake News
 

Telugu has not been recognized as the official language in the USA

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An article published by ‘The Hans India’ claims that the Telugu language has been recognized as the official language in the USA. The article (archived) link has also been posted by ‘The Hans India’ on its official Facebook account. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of this post can be found here

Claim: Telugu has been recognized as the official language in the USA.

Fact: Neither Telugu nor any other Indian language has been recognized as the official language in the USA. At the State level, some of the States have official languages but none of them has Telugu as their official language. While it is true that some material of the elections have been provided in the Telugu language, but it is limited to some parts of the USA. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When we searched on the internet about the official languages in the USA, it was found that no language has been recognized as the official language in the USA. On the USA Government website, it can be read that – ‘there is no “official” language at the federal level for the United States. Although the most commonly used language is English, more than 300 languages are spoken or signed by the population. Some individual states list English as their official language’. While there have been attempts to recognize ‘English’ as the official language, no law has been passed till date. As recently as 2019, bills were introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate to declare English as the official language of the USA.

At the State level, some of the States have official languages. While the State of California has adopted English as the official language, the State of Alaska has recognized 20 native languages and English as official languages. But no information was found regarding the recognition of Telugu as an official language in any State.

In the State of California, under California Elections Code section 14201 language requirements, 14 languages (including Telugu) were added recently to assist the voters for the upcoming elections. Not all counties in the State of California publish information in Telugu, only some precincts in different counties. Further details can be found here.

Also, in the document released by Santa Clara County, it can be found that the translated materials and facsimile ballots (‘A “facsimile” ballot is a translated example ballot that will help you understand your English ballot. You cannot actually vote on it.’) will be available in Telugu. Official ballots will not be available in Telugu. In the ‘Language Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes’ (25 June 2020) (County of Santa Clara), it is clearly mentioned that – ‘VRD presented a revised Voter Action Request Form (VARF) to incorporate the additional languages now available. VARF will allow a voter to select a facsimile ballot in either Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, or Nepali. Voter must be aware that they cannot get an official ballot in one of these languages for the November Election.’ Some of the documents translated into Telugu can be found the website of Santa Clara County. While it is true that some material of the elections has been provided in the Telugu language, it is limited to some parts of the USA. Further details regarding language accessibility and language minority voting rights in the USA can be read here, here, and here.

To sum it up, neither Telugu nor any language has been recognized as the official language in the USA.

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