SAN ANTONIO - The City of San Antonio is in the process of expanding Spanish translation services at all public meetings.
One councilman has been pushing the effort for more than a year and it could soon be a reality.
As it stands now, to get a translator at a specific meeting, Spanish speaking customers need to call 48 hours in advance. The service is at no cost.
A translator is also available at A Sessions and at Citizens to Be Heard meetings without Spanish speaking customers putting in a request.
However, Councilman Treviño says the reach is limited.
The idea behind expanding the services is to add a Spanish interpreter at the meetings and also translate all agendas and press releases to Spanish.
City council considered the request earlier this year.
Councilman Roberto Treviño, District 1, says with a two thirds Hispanic population, about 30% speak only Spanish.
Expanding the services will not only allow more people to attend board and commission meetings, but also improve community engagement.
The councilman says the step will also improve business affairs with Mexico.
There is a budget of about $223,000 from the general fund to hire a dedicated staff member to oversee all the translation services.
This person will also provide the on-site interpretation.
Councilman Treviño says the wait has been too long and the change is needed.
“We are doing certain things here that impact everybody's lives. And if people don't understand that and if people don't know what that means. Than we are not doing our job,” says Councilman Roberto Trevino, District 1.
City council plans to adopt the budget for the additional services in the next few weeks.
By January 1st, or even sooner, the city plans to add that dedicated staff person to oversee the translation services.