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School Outreach Profiles

Victoria Chavez-Kruse

Career Week at Cardinal High School

I was invited to talk about careers in translation and interpreting as part of "Career Week" for the Spanish 3/College Level 1 class at Cardinal High School in Middlefield, Ohio.

I started by discussing the differences between translation and interpreting, and we talked about the different settings in which each are used. As I asked the students to give examples of texts that are often translated, I passed around some familiar translated works of literature, such as Anna Karenina and The Little Prince.

I then talked about the working conditions for translators and the differences between freelancing and working in-house. I definitely saw some eyes light up when I gave examples of translators who are mobile and travel around the world as they work.

I showed them a list of skills that are important for translation and stressed that being bilingual is the prerequisite, but it is not enough.

I remembered what I loved about my days as a Spanish instructor as we moved into some activities. They learned that translation is not a word-for-word substitution, and the students divided themselves into small groups to work on translating a few phrases into Spanish. All the English sentences used the verb “to take," but the Spanish verb was different for each context. The activity was challenging, but it allowed them to see the importance of transferring the meaning from one language to another rather than just the words.

Our next activity involved trying to beat Google Translate; I borrowed this activity from Emily Safrin and John Wan’s School Outreach presentation, and it was a hit! I showed them Spanish proverbs and asked them to try and beat Google Translate’s output.

The students did a great job talking through the meanings of some of the Spanish proverbs, which helped them come up with an equivalent English proverb. We also learned the importance of knowing idioms and expressions in your own language. I asked them if they thought Google would put me out of a job. They gave me a resounding "NO!", which I greatly appreciated, but I also discussed how machine translation can be useful for some text types and that translators are learning to adapt to the ways it is changing the industry.

I finished the presentation by encouraging the students to study abroad and find every opportunity to practice their Spanish. Señora Flores, the Spanish teacher, was so welcoming and helpful during the presentation, and the students were attentive and asked thoughtful questions. I look forward to speaking to her class next year, too!