September 21, 2021
Spanish-speaking Texans can now chat with Maya, the Texas WIC chatbot, to learn more about WIC services.
Texas WIC launched its automated virtual assistant, Maya the chatbot, in June 2020 to meet the needs of current and potential customers and increase staff efficiency statewide. Chatbots are an easy-to-use, automated form of online communication that can answer common questions and provide users with information tailored to their needs.
According to a 2017 Texas WIC poll, 36% of Texans who receive WIC services said Spanish is the primary language spoken at home, said Jessica Leyendecker, communications strategist for Texas WIC.
“We always try to provide the same level of customer service regardless of the language spoken,” said Leyendecker. “We are proud to have the chatbot translated internally. We couldn’t have done it without our translation services unit.
Texas WIC began working with the translation team in the HHSC Communications Office last spring to translate the chatbot’s scheduled responses into Spanish. They translated nearly 15,000 words, which is about 30 single-spaced pages, noted Rosy Alor, communications and outreach liaison for HHSC Communications.
Chatbot translation is the final step in Texas WIC’s ongoing project to improve the experience for people seeking more information about its services.
Texas WIC received a WIC Special Project Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to develop the chatbot to better serve Texans. She contracted with Texas State University to evaluate the project.
The first phase was the creation of Maya, followed by offering live chat and two-way texting services to Texans, which became available in January.
For more information and to chat with Maya, visit the Texas WIC website and click the pink chat icon in the lower right corner.