Outrage over council's decision to recommend Google Translate for residents attempting to understand complex report on safety of Sheffield tower block

Councillors have expressed outrage over a decision to recommend Google Translate to Sheffield residents to read a 'complex' report on an investigation into the safety of their tower block.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 1:42 pm

Kaltum Rivers and Angela Argenzio, representatives of Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward, said it was a 'lazy' move.

They asked leaders of the council about when and in what format the report on the investigation into Hanover Tower, Broomhall will be available during a full council meeting.

In a written response, the council said it would refer residents to the online tool so they can read it in their native language.

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Councillor Paul Wood

Councillor Argenzio said: "Speakers of other languages don't used GoogleTranslate. I taught languages for 16 years and one of my mantras to my students was 'don't use GoogleTranslate' because it doesn't work.

"It only works for very short sentences and single words. It cannot translate a complex report that people have been waiting two and a half years for - that's a lazy way out.

"We need to make sure we have the funds for this, people have been waiting for a long time, they have been on a building site for two years - they need answers and they need it in a language they can understand."

Coun Paul Wood, cabinet member for safety and neighbourhoods, said: "We will be looking at how we translate the report, I'm not promising that we are going to be printing this in three or four different languages but we have taken that on board and will be looking at it."

The documents refer to Hanover Tower which failed fire safety tests three years ago in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

An independent investigation was launched into how the unsafe cladding ended up on the building - the results for which have been delayed a number of times.

The council said it will finally be ready to reveal the findings after the general election next week.

The council said a meeting will be held with residents before Christmas where copies of the report will be available and that a copy will later appear on the council's website.