HSU proposes center for Spanish translation

Following an unsuccessful attempt last year, faculty in the Department of World Languages and Cultures (WLC) hope to integrate a Center for Spanish Translation and Interpretation to serve students, parents and the community for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The new center, proposed by former chair of the WLC Matthew Dean, would provide services including, but not limited to, text translations of brochures, spring preview documents, department websites and interpretation services for real-time events such as commencement and incoming student orientations.

The goal is for Humboldt State University to have a Spanish website.

Previously and currently, students and faculty have volunteered their translation services without compensation.

“We constantly get emails or, actually, phone calls from people in the community or from the institution here domestically asking if we can perform some kind of task in Spanish,” current WLC chair Joseph Diémé said. “Imagine… doing work that is not paid. There’s no incentive to perform the work.”

Diémé said his colleagues have spent hours working on different projects because it is in their hearts to help the community, however, paying them for their services is “just a way to dignify their humanity.”

“I think it’s just a matter of justice that we stop basically exploiting people. I think it’s important that we pay people decent salaries because our administrators, they get paid more than decently,” Diémé said.

According to the proposal, the center needs a director who “can handle the administrative side,” “oversee the student term,” and “coordinate the quality control and advisory board.”

Diémé said there is no director in mind yet and the search will begin once a decision is made.

Along with a director and quality control and advisory board, a team of five students who are currently or were previously taking the SPAN 308 and SPAN 408S course sequence would be hired for $15 an hour, five hours a week.

Johvana Ordoñez and Ritz Garcia, El Centro employees, had not heard of the proposal for the translation and interpretation center, but both agree that it will help parents of HSU students be more involved and informed.

“We just were classified as a Hispanic Serving Institution,” Ordoñez said. “So I definitely feel like this is one of the ways that we should be trying to figure out how to serve our Spanish population or people who speak Spanish predominantly.”

“It would be very helpful because I won’t have to sit there and like Google translate or [be] like ‘mom I don’t know how to say this’,” Garcia said.

Diémé said that the majority of his colleagues are in favor of the project moving forward and the next step is for him to fill out a grant application by Feb. 11 and see if the center is sponsored. He said that if it doesn’t work out, they’ll keep trying.

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