Languages@Muhlenberg.edu
Newsletter 2005
Interpreting…
Some may confuse it with translating. However, interpreting is much more than an oral version of written translation. Interpreting involves verbal and nonverbal communication with clients who are struggling with a language barrier: it is taking what is said in one language and communicating it into another language without adding, subtracting, editing, or summarizing, maintaining the meaning and integrity of the original message. The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures has reached out to Allentown, an area of increasing linguistic diversity, to provide the help of Spanish minors and majors like myself to aid certain institutions with interpreting. This serves a dual purpose in the community: it helps to maintain the integrity of services delivered to non-English speaking neighbors by taking advantage of the students’ knowledge while simultaneously serving the students with the real-world experience of speaking Spanish in a different environment.
Through an internship and the Spanish for the community class with Dr. Erika Sutherland, I have had the opportunity to partake in a wide range of interpreting opportunities. I spent one semester in a clinic at Lehigh Valley Hospital. There I served as the doctors’ and patients’ voices, interpreting in order to ensure better care for the patients who could not communicate effectively --or at all-- in English. This experience was personally very rewarding, because I was able to use a skill to help people with a language barrier receive what they needed. I was also lucky enough to work with Jane Schoener, an immigration lawyer. Being a different setting, and with different problems arising, it gave me a new, more dynamic way of looking at language. Another exciting opportunity was serving as an interpreter at a deposition in Philadelphia. These have all been such valuable, irreplaceable experiences that have given me a chance to fine-tune my language skills as well as garner some professional experience. It gives me great pleasure to know I was able to help people convey their problems through proper interpretation and relay the professional advice and medical help in the same manner. I will take these experiences with me and continue to use what I have learned to interpret for those who need it, perhaps going on to a professional interpreter certification program after graduation. Thank you for such amazing opportunities!
--Josmell Pérez ‘05