A group of UC Merced students put their bilingual skills to use by creating a Spanish version of the Valley Crisis Center’s website to help the center reach its Spanish-speaking audience.
The idea of the partnership between the university and the nonprofit, which offers services to people affected by domestic violence, developed last summer. Spanish professor Virginia Adan-Lifante approached the center after teaching a class about the representation of domestic violence in Latino culture.
When Adan-Lifante spoke with Meghan Kehoe, program director of the Valley Crisis Center, they discussed the importance of making the site available in Spanish.
Adan-Lifante then offered the translation project to her two fall classes – and extra credit to take on the assignment. Seven students from those classes volunteered.
Students have translated the site’s “How We Help” section, which offers visitors information on counseling services, legal help and safety plans.
Kehoe said 70 percent of the people that are helped by the center are Spanish speakers. “It makes perfect sense for us to have a Spanish website,” she said.
Although the translated information is still not on the site, Kehoe said it’s a work in progress, and she hopes to have the website updated soon.
According to Adan-Lifante, the translation project is just one example of how UC Merced students can work with the community. Her students worked on only one portion of the website, but she hopes they can continue to help.
She said it’s important to note that translation work is a lot more challenging than some may think.
“There’s a lot of terminology (on the site) that is not easy,” Adan-Lifante said. “You really have to do your research and double-check your vocabulary.” For many students, she explained, writing, reading and speaking Spanish are not the same when it is used in a professional or academic setting.
“My goal was for them to realize that getting better with your Spanish is something that can be practical and can be used in your profession.”
The translation project was something the center had wanted to work on for a while. Kehoe said that although the center has Spanish-speaking employees and volunteers, they would always get pulled into something else, so working on the site was put on the back burner.
Kehoe said she hopes to continue working with students to help translate the rest of the site. The goal, she said, is to create a mirror of the website in Spanish.