Grand Rapids considers live Spanish transmission of commission meetings
Caroline MacGregor June 17, 2013 | WGVU
During his State of the City speech in January, Mayor
George Heartwell talked about the need for a Spanish interpreter for Committee of the
As the city looks for ways to encourage community engagement, commissioners
are considering a contract with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan for on-site
interpretation services. Translation services would cost 35 dollars per
hour, not to exceed 10,000 dollars over a 12 month period.
Tom Almonte, Assistant to the City Manager, says they will track
the program through surveys in the Hispanic community to monitor its effectiveness.
"I think as a community we have to understand, number one, we are the second largest city in Michigan. Number two, we have a large community of individuals who are not proficient in English, it's not to say they don't want to be but they're just not proficient. Number three, we are constantly implementing changes; the more informed the community is - that will lead to higher compliance."
There are three ways to take advantage of hearing the
commission meetings in Spanish. The first is attending meetings in person and
listening through earphones with a transmitter.
"If you have access to the internet we will also be streaming live so you can log in from any location and watch the Spanish version of the City Commission meeting. The last way you can do this is, we will be playing the commission meeting throughout the week on Channel 26 and you can view the Spanish version at home."
Almonte says if effective, the city may consider live Spanish interpretation of evening meetings at a cost of 40 dollars an
Based on current census figures, Grand Rapids’ Hispanic
population stands at 17 percent. Almonte believes the actual number is
likely higher, at 25 percent.
If approved Tuesday, the city plans to start live Spanish translation of Committee
of the Whole meetings in July.
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