I’ve always thought it a fluke that the United States has no official language. Why didn’t the founding fathers specify an official language in the Constitution? They probably didn’t think of it, since they had other, more difficult issues to work on. Or maybe they did think of it, but concluded an official language was unnecessary because it was so obvious that the Constitution itself and the Declaration of Independence were in English, and all the business of the new government and all of its states were conducted in English.
Regardless of the reason, the failure to designate an official language has allowed language minorities to demand translations of official documents and taxpayer funded translators in U.S. courts and other government institutions. Under the Voting Rights Act language minorities among U.S. citizens are entitled to vote on ballots translated into their own languages other than English.
In other countries with more than one official language, like Canada and Belgium, all government documents must be published in both official languages and government translators provided at all official functions. But that has not quelled separatist sentiment from flaring up along language lines, and on-going battles over public signage and what language to teach to newcomers.
The bureaucracy and parliament of the European Union, with its 23 official languages, is sinking into financial quicksand as it tries to translate every parliamentary bill and draft regulation into each language.
In the U.S. with no official language, every language is equally official. What happens when law violators claim that they don’t have to obey laws not published in their own equally official language? Why should I have to respond to a traffic ticket not written in my language? Those claims have been made and upheld in courts in Canada and other countries with more than one official language.
Read More at Floyd Reports By Jan Ting, Floyd Reports