Lost in Translation: Cactus, TX - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Lost in Translation: Cactus, TX

By: Maxine Ridling
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Being able to communicate with the refugee community in the city of Cactus is harder than city officials thought, and they are learning it may take longer than expected. Nearly half of the population in Cactus speaks Burmese, and getting them to understand county rules and Texas laws remains difficult because of ongoing language and cultural barriers.

While hosting two meetings today designed to teach the refugees important information, organizers realized they have a long tough road ahead. The refugee's didn't understand tornado sirens, how to dial 911, differences between the doctor and hospitals, and general important health information.

Among the obstacles NewsChannel 10 observed at today's meetings - the translator wasn't speaking Burmese, he was translating the language of Karin, which only 10 out of the 55 refugees that showed up this morning recognized.

All of the brochures and information about driving safety given to the refugees were in Spanish, which is nothing like Burmese.

The meetings began over an hour late because organizers had to knock on doors to get an audience, and when they did arrive they missed important information given on health and hospital information.

City officials told NewsChannel 10 this is just a start to resolving their problem with lack of communication, and meetings will be held once a month for however long it takes.

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