The City of Philadelphia Managing Director’s Office and PublicStuff have worked together to make the Philly311 mobile app now available in 16 languages, allowing non-English speakers to communicate with City staff in real-time through the app. Sixteen languages are currently available: Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Cambodian (Khmer), Italian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, German, Greek, Turkish, Serbian, Polish and French.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 21% of Philly residents speak a language other than English in their homes.
“My Administration is committed to providing an open government for all citizens,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “The expanded number of languages enables more citizens to connect with City government and access services and information. I applaud the many partners and offices that have been involved in this effort, including the Managing Director’s Office, Philly311, the Office of Innovation and Technology and PublicStuff.”
While other 311 apps only translate static content native to the app, Philly311 is the only app on the market that enables all communication between a resident and the City in the resident’s preferred language. With the Philly311 app, a dialogue can be effectively held in multiple languages, allowing residents to work together to build a better community. Content is continuously translated, so a resident can report an issue in Spanish and a neighbor can comment in Vietnamese. Simultaneously, City staff will receive the information translated into English. Staff responses are then automatically translated back into the resident’s native language.
Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor for Administration and Coordination, said, “Philadelphia is quickly becoming one of our nation’s great international cities. This app helps all Philadelphians, regardless of national origin or language, better connect with their City and empowers them to improve our global community.”
The City’s Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid added, “Our vision is to transform Philly311 into a community engagement platform which is what makes our approach different from other 311 implementations. Accommodating the city’s diversity means that our community engagement platform has to reach everyone everywhere.”
Since its launch in September 2012, more than 7,000 citizens have created personal user accounts with the Philly311 service powered by PublicStuff and more than 7,200 request have been made via smartphone or on the web. PublicStuff and Philly311 continue to work with Philly residents to create a safer and happier community.
Philly311 Director Rosetta Carrington Lue said, “Every language deserves great customer service. The app’s multilingual functionality is invaluable because it empowers Philadelphia’s diverse community.”
PublicStuff Co-Founder and CEO Lily Liu explained, “Our goal is to continuously innovate and add to the Philly311 app to make it accessible to all residents. Growing up in a bi-lingual family, I strongly believe that language should never be a barrier to interacting with your government and the technology we have developed now makes it that much easier to communicate.”
To download the app, please go to: https://www.phila.gov/311/mobileapp.html.