Embracing the Chinese Community

The City of Naperville is now bi-lingual. On March first, they launched a landing page on their website, in Chinese.

At Naperville.il.us both residents and visitors can find all things Naperville, from contacting the police department, and solving utility problems to just finding things to do in the city. But if English isn’t your first language, navigating the website can be difficult.

About 15% of the city’s population is Asian. Resident and community leader Bill Liu wanted to make sure they could find the help they needed in their native language.

“The Chinese community is thriving,” said Liu. “It’s growing and by creating this Chinese website, hopefully we will show the Chinese citizens here it’s a very Chinese friendly city and it’s a nice community to live in, to send their kids to school and to invest.”

“It’s recognizing what the need was,” said Councilman Kenn Miller. “That’s what my involvement with the community told me was there is many people in the Chinese community that have just moved here from China or still speak the native language and that might be helpful to them to navigate their way around the City of Naperville website.”

Liu put together an ad hoc committee to find the needs and the direction of the page. They wanted to mirror the city’s website, but with so many pages to translate to Chinese characters they had to scale back, instead producing a landing page with many functional links.

“There’s a greeting by our lovely mayor, who’s a strong supporter of multi cultural community,” said Liu. “There’s a brief description of Naperville, what to do in Naperville, and why Naperville’s good. If you have an issue with utility, an issue with garbage it tells you what to do.”

The group hopes that the website will not only benefit the Chinese speaking residents, but encourage them to get more involved in the community.

“It’s a great community,” said Miller. “They’ve done a lot for the City of Naperville, but they’re not necessarily associated with the City of Naperville. For example, involvement with the boards and commissions and involved more directly with the culture and activities of the city.”

“As this world is getting more and more international, global, I really appreciate the City of Naperville for making this effort,” said Linda Yang, Executive Director for Xilin Asian Community Center. “I think in the past it’s been people thinking this is DuPage County, it’s more conservative, and it’s local. This is the first step.”

Another goal is to lure Chinese immigrants to Naperville by placing the page in Chinese search engines.

“Most people will be very curious what this nice little town is all about,” said Liu. “So hopefully we can attract more businesses to Naperville, so that’s an added bonus for this Chinese website.”

“The more we do advertisement, the more we attract the businesses and the residents and they come to this nice little town,” said Yang.

The city will consider adding more languages as they redesign their website in fiscal year 2014.

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