With the Hispanic population growing in Indiana and Madison County, Anderson officials are trying to help them get around town.
The City of Anderson Transit System (CATS) recently published about 1,000 of its brochures in Spanish with information on bus routes, hours, fares, and other information, said department director Stephon Blackwell.
The Spanish brochures were placed everywhere that the English ones are located about two weeks ago, including at the main downtown terminal and inside stores like Walmart and Meijer, which have popular bus stops outside, he said.
“The Hispanic population is growing,” Blackwell said. “Communication and information is key. We want to try to eliminate that barrier with the brochures. Not being dependent on someone to give them information makes everyone more comfortable.”
Blackwell said the transportation department has not collected statistics that would show what percentage of their ridership is from the Hispanic community, but he knows that many Spanish-speakers do use the buses.
Dr. Tim Fox, co-chair of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Professor of Spanish at Anderson University, enlisted five of his students to help the city with the translation project. Students Layne Oncks, Whitney Wright, Alex Coffey, David Naffie and Drew Kidd each translated one of the brochures, which were then edited by Fox.
One of the requirements for students in the advanced Spanish conversation class is to do some sort of community service project in Spanish, such as working as an interpreter or helping a church with a Hispanic ministry.
“When this brochure request came up, it isn’t exactly what they usually do, but it was a fantastic opportunity for students,” Fox said.
The professor and students did the translation for free, which saved the city money, Blackwell said. The new brochures were printed in-house, he said.
“There has been a growing Hispanic or Latino presence in the city for a long time, going back to the late 1970s and certainly early 1980s,” Fox said. “They have been contributing members to the Anderson community so it’s nice to be able to offer this service (bus brochures) to them. To make them available in their native language is one way of saying we are glad you are here.”
The transportation department is also working on creating brochures in braille, and Blackwell hopes to have that project completed by mid-summer.
According to a city news release, another project under way meant for better communication with the Hispanic community is the creation of a City of Anderson website in Spanish.
— Melanie D. Hayes is a reporter with The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission. Photo credit: Don Knight / The Herald Bulletin.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.