Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Paying for services

The English First folks have gotten the signatures they need to put their initiative on the November 4 ballot. In the meantime, Councilman Eric Crafton (Bellevue) takes it a step further at Tuesday's Metro Council meeting by introducing:


2.226.010 Interpreter service fees required.
All metropolitan government departments, agencies, boards and commissions responsible for issuing any type of permit to the general public, and who provide interpreter services for non-English speaking applicants, shall develop an “interpreter fee” to be charged to all non-English speaking applicants requiring the interpreter services. The amount of such fee shall not exceed the actual costs for providing the interpreter services.BL2008-287

Generally, I like user fees. If I'm not using the service I don't like having to pay for it. I do expect howls of objection from 'immigrant advocates' saying they won't be able to afford these fees. Seems to me this is a fairly good compromise in the debate. If you want to save yourself some money, learn English or bring our own trusted interpreter with you. I don't think taxpayers should foot the bill for having to provide services in who knows how many languages and take on the liability of a misinterpretation--which has been my concern all through this debate.

1 comment:

DinTN said...

I'm looking at a letter from the bureau of Tenncare.
13 pages. 6 full pages printed in English. 6 full pages printed in Spanish.
Other: Kurdish- (Badinani); Kurdish- (Sorani); Arabic; Somali- (Soomaali); Bosnian- (Bosanski); Vietnamese- (Nguoi Viet).

No one can tell me that it isn't costing ALL taxpayers of Tennessee for the extra cost of printing all this in languages other than English. What about the citizens of Tennessee that DON'T get Tenncare? They are paying for it too. Same as having taxpayers pay for translation services they don't use. The cost of printing in all these languages is surely reducing the benefits for Tenncare recepients.

It's not just Tennessee, it's the entire U.S.! Every product we purchase now has instructions printed in English and Spanish. The cost of printing the instructions in both languages is passed right down to us, the English speaking population whether we use the instructions in other languages or not! It's common sense to assume the cost of the products would be lower if they were not having to print everything in languages other than English.