Spanish translation, interpreting courses incorporate service-learning component

From left, Flaviana Pulido, Professor Indira Sultanic and Jennifer Cushing

~ Pictured above, from left: Flaviana Pulido, Professor Indira Sultanic and Jennifer Cushing helped volunteer with Spanish translations at a recent community health fair provided by California Health Sciences University.

~ By Lisa Maria Boyles, communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities

Even though this is her first semester as an assistant professor of Spanish with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Indira Sultanić has plans to transition some of her classes into service-learning courses.

Sultanić teaches Spanish 114: Essentials of Medical Interpreting, Spanish 115: Basic Principles of Translation and Spanish 116: Essentials of Legal Interpreting. Later, her plan is to offer advanced classes that incorporate service-learning.

Students in those classes have begun working with some organizations in the community, including the Fresno County Preterm Birth Initiative and California Health Sciences University, said Department Chair Debbie Avila. “Eventually they can become certified to work as professional interpreters based on their involvement with these organizations.”

“The integration of a service-learning component in our translation program in Spanish will be most beneficial to our students and community,” said Dean Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “I’m confident that Professor Sultanić’s Spanish translation program will become the leading regional entity in preparing our students in the fine art of translating.”

Students from the Essentials of Medical Interpreting class provided interpreting services for Spanish-speaking patients and their families at a September health fair sponsored by California Health Sciences University.

“It was a great opportunity for the students to apply their newly acquired interpreting skills, while assisting the Limited English Proficient patients and their families,” Sultanić said.

Students in the Basic Principles of Translation class worked with the Preterm Birth Initiative to create a document in Spanish explaining the organization’s mission and outreach.

“When we got the Preterm Birth Initiative project, it was real. It was a client and they had a deadline. They had two days and they delivered.”

These translation and interpreting classes have interdisciplinary appeal beyond MCLL majors, providing relevant and meaningful education for criminology and health majors as well, Suntanić said.

“One reason why service learning is so important and I want to do it right is that I want to contextualize their training properly,”Sultanić said. “I want to make sure that when they are working with these community partners, the students can bring in the knowledge but also really see what the needs are for the clients or the populations they are working with. That’s what service learning is all about — it gives them that experience, and it makes it real and meaningful to them.”

Pictured below: Students in Spanish 116: Essentials of Legal Interpreting practice in class.

SPAN116-InterpretingPracticeII - Jury BoxStudents in Spanish 116 - Essentials of Legal Interpreting

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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