Long Beach adopts policy calling for city docs in Spanish, 2 other languages

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64274 full

The city of Long Beach has adopted a new policy that calls for translating city documents and services into Spanish, Khmer and Tagalog.

Long Beach has long called itself "the International City," and it has one of the most diverse populations in the state. But until now, the city had no official translation policy for documents, meetings and services — even though one-fifth of its residents don't speak English well.

The Long Beach City Council has approved a proposal to provide signage, translations and interpreters for Spanish, as well as Khmer, the language spoken by its Cambodian immigrant residents. The council also approved the addition of the Filipino language, Tagalog.

The new language policy will cost Long Beach about a half-million dollars — that's on top of the $900,000 it already spends annually for translation and interpretation. Most of that original spending covered bonus pay for bilingual city workers, who pitched in whenever language services were needed.

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