Harrisonburg begins interpreters program to support Spanish speakers

harrisonburgA new City of Harrisonburg program aimed at supporting Spanish speakers who wish to engage more closely with their local government is now available.

The program, which kicked off Wednesday, July 17, will provide Spanish interpreters at City Council and Planning Commission meetings, when requested in advance. Interpretation will enable individuals who attend the meetings to listen to discussions and to have their spoken input interpreted into English during public comment or a public hearing.

City staff hope the program encourages more residents to attend meetings and take part in discussions about matters important to them.

“The City believes providing interpreters when needed will enable our residents with limited English proficiency to further engage with our City and to more easily share their perspectives with City leadership,” Assistant to the City Manager Amy Snider, who is leading the new program, said. “Focusing on progressive innovation and providing trusted service are key values for the City, and we believe this new program will go a long way toward furthering those goals.”

Interpretation will only be available upon advance request, and the City is currently working on being able to provide interpreters for additional languages such as Arabic and Kurdish. Those needing an interpreter must submit their request to the City Clerk four days prior to the day of the scheduled meeting. All requests will need to be received on or before the prior Friday for all Tuesday City Council meetings.

Requests can be made by calling 540-432-7701 or visiting www.harrisonburgva.gov. The City will not schedule an interpreter to attend a meeting if one is not requested in advance.

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