Austrian Government Help-Sites Will No Longer Provide English Translations

Online information about local laws and bureaucratic procedures is essential to modern society and standard in most countries, but it seems Austria has decided to offer this information in German only – at least for now.

The removal of information in English occurred when the now-deposed government of the conservative ÖVP and far-right FPÖ launched oesterreich.gv.at in 2019, incorporating content from help.gv.at in hopes that the new unified system would allow Austrian citizens get better assistance. The content was merged, Federal Minister Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl told public broadcaster ORF, to avoid “migration difficulties and multiple entries”.

But most English translations were removed in the process, public broadcaster ORF reported. The online service help.gv.at, in German and English, had been launched in 1997 to assist citizens and foreigners alike, providing simplified and essential information on everything from biking in the city to building a house. Now those who click on the “EN” translation button will be re-routed to an overview page on europa.eu, a Europe-wide platform to assist with citizen related topics.

English? Nein danke!

Much of the Austria-specific information “is still available via the detour through Brussels,” ORF said, but “is cumbersome to find,” involving clicking through each topic until an option for national information appears. Moreover, the EU will stop hosting any country-specific data in 2020 and instead link back to the respective country’s websites.

The suspicion in Brussels, reports ORF, is that Austria is waiting for the EU to pick up the tab for translation, which it is slated to do some time after 2021. Until then, non-German speakers appear to be out of luck.

Anti-immigrant policies, some considered scandalous, had characterized the Black and Blue government. But the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) vehemently denied any political effort to keep information from asylum seekers and other third-country nationals.

Over 40 percent of the Viennese population have a migration background, according to 2018 figures from MA23, the municipal department for economy, labor and statistics. The city is home to nearly 10,000 diplomats and international civil servants. Foreign residents pay taxes and social security and have access to a range of social, health and educational services. The lack of English information seems poised to leave many newcomers in the lurch.

For more news stories, still in English, subscribe to Metropole. For help navigating Vienna’s housing or health systems, see our publications.

 

 

Emre Günes
Emre Günes is Viennese born and raised with Turkish roots. After finishing his international school he got a knack for writing in English and studied Journalism at the University of Westminster in London. He previously interned at a couple of import/export companies as a teen and then even at the Radio Station of the Austrian National Broadcaster (ORF) until completing his military service in 2018. He is now an intern and writes for Metropole while studying his masters for English Linguistics.

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


 

RECENT Articles

Musical Chairs for UK-EU Expats – Grab a Seat Before the Music Stops

As the Brexit negotiations drag on, there is still no final clarity on the future of British citizens living in Europe. It is likely to be reciprocal – whatever that means. With Boris, who knows?

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Coronavirus Test for €120 at Vienna ...

Here’s all you need to know about current measures and developments, including trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Max Schrems Challenges Facebook and Wins. Again.

European court ruling strikes down the transatlantic data transfer mechanism in a case initiated by the young Austrian data privacy advocate.

Vienna Takes on Airbnb Over Social Housing

After negotiations failed, the city is suing the short-term housing platform over illegal sublets in Gemeindebauten municipal apartments.

The Coolest Spots in, Around and Under Vienna

Half way through the summer, a half-dozen tips for chilling out in the hot town.

On Rathausplatz | Opera and Ballet Are Still Larger Than Life

In the 2020 summer of Covid-19, the famed Film Festival continues with cautionary measures for anxiety-free evenings of memorable performances and international cuisine.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.