Did you know that GAO publishes some of its reports in other languages in addition to English? I did not realize they did so until I saw a tweet from the agency about a new report concerning Yemen that was published in English and Arabic.
Publishing important Legislative branch research in multiple languages is a welcome service that has many benefits. I was curious what prompts GAO to publish its products in other languages and how often this happens, so I reached out to Charles Young at their public affairs office.
GAO publishes reports in other languages when they determine there is a considerable interested audience whose primary language is not English. In addition, GAO publishes information about the agency and what it does in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic.
How many reports are in languages in addition to English? It is not something GAO automatically tracks, but they were able to provide me with a significant list, which I’m republishing below. Counting the most recent report, there are 50 reports identified that were published in languages other than English, including Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, French, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
GAO is not the only legislative branch agency to do this. For example, the Law Library of Congress publishes a score of their foreign law reports in 13 other languages. (It is unclear to me whether the reports are published in English and in another language.)
Parliaments in other countries, including parliamentary agencies, often publish some or all of their documents in multiple languages. That makes sense especially in countries where there are multiple primary languages.
In my time examining the operations of the Congressional Research Service, for example, I’ve come across parliamentary research agencies that publish a host of materials in English even when there would be comparatively few domestic consumers. Japan is a notable example — look here — but there are more.
With so many similar legislative branch agencies around the world — many countries have an equivalent of GAO, CRS, and OTA — I’ve often wondered about creating a meta library where you could search all the reports at the same time. How does the European Parliament Think Tank’s views on the green transition (i.e the European Green New Deal) compare to this Japanese Diet Issue Brief (in Japanese only) on climate change policies and that of CRS on climate change adaptation at USDA? The similarities and differences among the findings would be a fantastic resource for parliamentarians and anyone interested in policymaking, and perhaps could save some unnecessary duplication as well.
Anyway, please find below the list of GAO republished in multiple languages, kindly provided by GAO.