Translating takes time and needs to be done well or the result can be a press release that doesn’t make sense. “Sometimes we just laugh at what we read,” Lino said. “We need Hispanic professionals, not just persons who speak Spanish. We have Puerto Rican people; we have South American people. We need to establish a good level of language to communicate with all Spanish speakers.”
Hector Bauzá, president and CEO of Bauzá & Associates Hispanic Marketing in Hartford, said, “I work with this media. It’s about access to information. The government is not only for selected persons. (Besides Spanish-speakers), there are other (non-English-speaking) communities, too, that need this information.”
Lack of Ad Dollars on Public Safety Issues
“It’s a much larger issue than just information around emergencies. You have to look at budgeting for marketing and communication,” Colón said. When the state undertakes an informational program intended to help everybody, such as about not drinking and driving, “when the laws are being written, I think it’s really important that the marketing (dollars) are split. “Bridgeport, for example, is nearly 40% percent Latino. It’s not (just) ‘let’s get a person to do press releases,'” Colón said. All state communication efforts – whether press releases or paid advertising — should include the Spanish-language media. “A lot of the stuff we do in emergencies we do out of duty, we do for love,” not because it helps pay the bills, he said.
Bauza said, “This media is small business. They are mom-and-pops.” They don’t get national advertising or paid ads for state campaigns such as “See Something, Say Something.”
As for the state sending English-language press releases and expecting someone at the media outlet to translate them into Spanish. Lucy Goicoechea-Hernández, special projects director for LPRAC said, “It’s not fair, it’s not right. They just assume we’re going to give away our intellectual property for free.”
Werner Oyanadel, executive director of LPRAC, said, “The state does not have a mandate for language services. We are trying to facilitate and maybe connect the dots so that communication between the state and the Latino media can be expedited.” The hearing was the first of three LPRAC plans to hold. In subsequent sessions, they will be seeking input from state officials and agencies involved in disseminating information to the media in emergencies and state residents who speak only Spanish.
Oyandel said the commission’s goal is to complete the process report on its findings by the beginning of February. University of Connecticut associate professor Diana I. Rios, who is working on the study with LPRAC Commissioner Lourdes E. Montalvo and Jaime Gómez, dean of Eastern Connecticut State University’s School of Education and Professional Studies, noted that the session was being recorded and will be transcribed. She, Gómez and Montalvo will then read the transcripts, to determine common themes that emerge.