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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA works to close language barrier


Courtesy of UA News

Jaime Fatás, left, Lizbeth Feria, center, and Leonardo Vega, right, are recognized by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild during a monthly meeting at City Hall on Nov. 5. The three UA affiliates are working to create more campuswide translating projects.

A translation project for an immigrant page, headed by UA affiliates, is the stepping stone for future translating projects across the UA.

Jaime Fatás, director of the translation and interpretation program in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, was involved with a translating project for the “Welcome to Tucson!/¡Bienvenidos a Tucson!” immigrant page.

The translations project was formed after Florencio Zaragoza, president of Fundación México, contacted Fatás.

Zaragoza had been receiving numerous calls from Spanish speakers, as well as immigrants, with concerns that the welcome page was only in English. Immigrants and Spanish speakers were having a difficult time taking advantage of the resources provided on the welcoming site because of the language barrier.

Zaragoza then contacted Fatás, who agreed to take part in translating the webpage into Spanish. Fatás is responsible for supervising and coordinating internships and practicums in the College of Humanities and signs agreements with institutions that need translations and interpretation services.

Fatás recruited two of his students, Leonardo Vega and Lizbeth Feria, who were about to graduate, to take part in the project.

“There was not a Spanish translation,” Vega said. “There were a lot of resources for immigrants here in Tucson, but none of them were translated into Spanish.”

The translations project required approximately 150 volunteer hours.

Fatás said he believed very much in the project and the benefits it would have for the community in the future.

“We have to provide the means to help these people become proactive citizens in our community,” Fatás said. “By having this type of information in English and in Spanish, people who are learning or speaking some English, or some Spanish, can see side-by-side content of the information.”

Both students said they wanted to help the Spanish-speaking community in Tucson in any way possible.

“It doesn’t matter what language you speak,” Vega said. “We should all have equal resources and equal access to all those resources.”

After the completion of the project, Fatás and his translating team were recognized by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and other city council members for their work.

“It is beneficial to have a community that is providing those services also to members of the community who speak languages, which is other than English,” Fatás said.

Fatás said the translation project for the website helped save Tucson money because the city did not have to hire expensive professional translators. He added that there are multiple translating projects for the future, including establishing a Spanish curriculum for the College of Medicine — Tucson, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

“I believe it is time for our city, our state and our nation as a whole to pay the deserved attention to the importance of professionally done translations,” Feria said.

Fatás said he is also in conversation with the James E. Rogers College of Law for possible academic joint ventures and that they are currently providing translations for the School of Journalism to the Arizona Sonora News Service website.

“As we know and are always hearing, this nation is made up of immigrants,” Feria said. “It is necessary for us to have equality in language, for everyone to have access to information, not only for Spanish speakers, but for any other language present in our nation.”


Follow Katelyn Caldwell on Twitter.

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