The City of San Antonio provides simultaneous, multi-language transparency for residents
Many governments now provide both live- and on-demand meeting video webcasts — but the residents of San Antonio, Texas had a need for advanced accessibility.
The City of San Antonio, founded 300 years ago by a Spanish expedition from Mexico, is now the second-largest city in Texas. Nearly 42% of San Antonio residents speak Spanish at home; of those, almost 30% are not fluent in English. With over 70 public meetings per year, the City wanted to make sure they were providing those citizens the opportunity to engage with their local government.
“For the purpose of increased transparency, the City of San Antonio chose to simultaneously broadcast their live meetings in both English and Spanish, with closed captioning on the English feed,” said David Owusu, Director of Streaming Media at Swagit Productions, LLC. “The City set a goal for process innovation, and we had their solution.”
Using Swagit’s EASE™ encoders and streaming services, the City now broadcasts their live video feed for government meetings in two simultaneous streams.
Each stream uses the same HD video. However, the primary stream includes the meeting’s live audio feed as well as closed captioning in English, and the secondary stream replaces the broadcast audio with a live Spanish voiceover translation. On-demand Spanish-language meeting videos are paired with meeting agendas in Spanish as well.
In addition, through Swagit’s advanced technology, residents can search captions for key words spoken during the meeting.
The City broadcasts their meetings live in San Antonio on TVSA, which is available on Spectrum Cable digital channel 21/99, Grande channel 20, Uverse channel 99, and online.
In June 2018, the City of San Antonio received its seventh All-America City Award by the National Civic League for the City’s work in promoting equity through inclusive civic engagement. “This award exemplifies the welcoming spirit of San Antonio, where all residents, regardless of their ethnicity, language and age, feel welcomed by and engaged with their local government,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
“It’s a great honor to receive the All-America City Award again this year, which serves as a testament of our commitment to making San Antonio an inclusive city and the progress we’ve made increasing civic engagement,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said.
The City continues to ensure both English- and Spanish-speaking resident inclusiveness and engagement by implementing Swagit’s solutions. Initiatives like this are a testament to the City’s core values: embracing innovation that is driven by continuous improvement.