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School Outreach Profiles

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School Outreach Profiles


Jenny Stillo

Reaching Out to the Advanced Placement Classroom

In May 2014 I visited Crested Butte Community School in Crested Butte, Colorado. The students were high school seniors in their Advanced Placement Spanish class. I chose this school not only because it is where I have lived for the past 30 years, butalso because I wanted to show that interpretation has reached all corners of the globe and is needed everywhere. I interpret for various hotels in the county as well as medical facilities. I also told the students that with the proper tools, I could provide translation services to clients in different parts of the world.

I divided the 50-minute class into four segments.

First was a quick PowerPoint presentation using ATA’s resources (proper acknowledgement was given). I presented the difference between translation, as written, and interpretation, as spoken, communication.

Second, and to emphasize the point that proper training is needed beyond bilingualism, I had two volunteers come forward and we presented a skit. One girl was a skier from Bariloche, Argentina, who did not speak English, and the other girl was a skier from Crested Butte, Colorado who did not speak Spanish. With my bad, word-to-word interpretation, the girls did not connect and never went skiing. It was a humorous way to get my point across.

The next segment was a group photo with the signs that I had made. With the sign "Bridging the Gap," I explained that translators are not trying to exactly reproduce what is written, but rather bridge the gap between cultures.

My last segment was an interactive one. I brought out a prop where the students pressed their color and answer. The first one to press and give the answer won. I used idiomatic expressions for this fun exchange.

I gave the students handouts of pertinent translation and interpretation facts and information, including an example of Google Translate and why machine translations do not work. One other handout came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics "Fast Growing Occupations," which is found on ATA’s website.

The students learned a lot about a career in translation and interpretation while having a good time.