* From the synopsis of HB 695…
Provides that within one-year after the effective date of this amendatory Act, the Legislative Information System shall create a Spanish-language version of its website to provide legislative information. Specifies the legislative information to be placed on the Spanish-language website, and allows for the placement of additional unspecified information.
* The bill came up for a floor vote yesterday…
“There is a segment, especially in my district, that are Spanish speaking and that follow the General Assembly and as a state representative, I want to commit to continue to have this bill and make sure we provide the best possible constituent services,” [sponsoring Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago] said.
Tabares estimated the cost of the translation, if initial software could not do it alone, at between $60,000 and $100,000 to pay for another website or software company. But she added that if a third party was needed to add Spanish to the site, it would have an estimated cost of between $800,000 to $1.5 million.
That estimate prompted House Republicans to offer up free options, such as Google Translate. It also had [Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego] holding up his own tablet to Democrats to show that he translated the website for free using Google.
“Why are we against a great free bipartisan solution?” State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said before the bill was pulled. “We should have a Kumbaya and have a beer afterwards. Let’s pull this bill out of the record, let’s amend it. Let’s do something that’s free and help people who speak every language.”
The bill is now on Postponed Consideration.
The problem with any translating software (free or paid) is whether it can pick up nuances. Statutes are usually written in precise ways. Things can literally be lost or misconstrued in translation.