National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations

NAB Says Multilingual EAS Alert Plan Could Do More Harm Than Good During Emergencies.

The National Association of Broadcasters says a proposal to use pre-scripted alerts to help ensure non-English speakers are reached during an emergency could be more of a hindrance than a help. It is warning the execution could cause “further confusion” for non-English language audiences during an emergency, saying multilingual template EAS alerts will be “ineffective and confusing” as well as putting a new cost burden on broadcasters.

“The messages will have to be stripped of meaningful content to their essentials to be translated into pre-canned scripts in 13 different languages. No doubt, those pre-canned scripts will omit information and nuance that may be crucial to delivering an effective warning to the receiver,” NAB says in comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC is currently considering a proposal (PS Docket No. 15-94) that it says would help ensure that alerts reach the more than 26 million Americans with limited English-language proficiency. It would create an alert reservoir that stations could tap into during a disaster situation to deliver EAS alerts in 14 languages, including English and Spanish. The recordings would be stored in EAS devices, and the translated audio for each template would be provided as audio files or links to streaming audio.

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