AUSTIN (KXAN) – Ahead of Thursday’s severe weather, the Travis County Office of Emergency Management sent out an “unintelligible” emergency alert in Spanish. After receiving feedback, the office sent out an additional alert.
“Honestly, I couldn’t tell it was Spanish,” said District Four Council Member José “Chito” Vela. “It was very difficult to understand. Very strained, really unintelligible.”
The City confirmed the original message was an automated translation of an English message that was also sent out. After receiving several complaints, the department sent out another emergency alert, but this time had a Spanish speaker record the message.
“Luckily, I’m fluent in Spanish. I knew that it sounded like complete gibberish. Frankly, [it] sounded like some kind of like a computer version of a Texan trying to speak Spanish that clearly was not a native-speaking computer,” Travis County Judge Andy Brown said.
“I talked to Eric Carter, my emergency manager to make sure that in the future, we don’t use the computer – that we use a human being. He made sure that we would do that,” Brown continued.