Houston Expands Language Translation For City Services
by: Laurie Johnson, July 31, 2013 2:07:00 pm
You can get any information you need about city services in English and Spanish. But what if you just moved here from Vietnam, Korea or Sudan?
Houston Mayor Annise Parker signed an executive order that calls for the city to offer critical information in five additional languages.
"This is about making sure that the different populations here who have needed services from the city or need critical emergency information have the access to that information. And it's not the most common languages, it is the most needed languages."
The languages are yet to be determined. Some translations are already widely available through community groups. So, Parker says they'll assess which language groups have the least access to critical information.
"Of particular challenge is refugee groups that come, who are often completely dislocated, don't have English-language training in their home countries and have a whole host of other issues that they have to work through. So working with the departments, the departments will decide what information is critically needed in an emergency situation or to navigate the city process."
The city already has translation services for 9-1-1 calls.
This will apply to other critical communications, like information about how to prepare for a hurricane, who to call if you smell gas in your home, or where to go for health services.