South Dakota College Students Translate State Brochures Into Spanish

South Dakota College Students Translate State Brochures Into Spanish

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
University of South Dakota students in a Spanish class put their language skills to the test in a project to help the state’s growing Spanish-speaking population learn about public services.
Students in the Spanish Advanced Conversation class translated into Spanish nearly 70 brochures, pamphlets and forms for the state’s Department of Social Services and the South Dakota Career Center.
“This project was a chance to have students extend their talents beyond the walls of the classroom and do something for our community,” said Rubi Ugofsky-Mendez, the instructor who organized the project.
The Hispanic population in South Dakota and the Sioux Falls area has grown exponentially in the last decade, according to U.S. Census figures. The state’s Hispanic population more than doubled, from 5,252 in 1990 to 10,903 in 2000.
Mary Lee Williams, the Department of Social Services’ district supervisor in Sioux Falls, said the translated materials help her staff serve recent immigrants who have yet to learn English. The translated brochures include information about food stamps, child protection programs, temporary assistance to needy families, Medicaid and other programs and services.
“Clients are going to feel much more comfortable filling out our forms if they are able to read the application and the pamphlets themselves,” Williams said.
The department’s percentage of clients with limited English proficiency falls below federally mandated levels that require translated publications, Williams said, but the Spanish-language materials will fill a significant need. The state will print and distribute the brochures throughout the state in the next few months.
Students say the project was rewarding but challenging. “For a lot of the words and sayings, it was difficult to convey the exact meaning,” said student Tiffany Jaspers.
A few of the concepts, such as mortgages and foster care, are nearly unique to the United States and have no equivalent in Spanish, she said.  
—  Associated Press



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