A Worthwhile Volunteer Translation Project

The road ahead. Photo by Chris Floros.
Last year, the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association (NITA) was hoping the state legislature would approve the so-called Driver Authorization Cards (DAC) in Nevada, and they are now a reality. These cards will be issued to undocumented immigrants so they can drive without being fined and so they can obtain insurance, thus making Nevada roads safer for everyone. This is something that should have happened a long time ago, as we don't quite see the connection between immigration status and driving privileges, but we digress. Now that DAC have been implemented (there was some opposition, as is to be expected), undocumented immigrants can finally drive with some peace of mind. Now, in order to get these cards, applicants must have some documents translated, and NITA lobbied to have qualified translators do this work (which succeeded only to some extent). Since a significant percentage of applicants do not speak English, the question that arose very quickly was: How will applicants pass the written driving test? The driver's manual had been pseudo-translated into Spanish, but it was so bad few Spanish speakers could comprehend it, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles was very aware of what happens when you let non-professional translators do the work. One DMV representative told us that even he could tell that the handbook was terribly translated, and he only speaks rudimentary Spanish. 

Naturally, NITA saw this as an opportunity to do some client education and outreach and met with DMV about the importance of hiring professional translators. After all, non-English speakers have a right to access public services. Unfortunately, we ran into an all-too-familiar problem: there was no budget, not even $10,000 or so, to have the 75-page document translated into Spanish. So NITA volunteered to translate the document as a pro bono project. Here at Twin Translations we donate 10% of our yearly work hours to non-profits (we made an exception for this one, as DMV is a public agency), and we thought this would be a crucial public service. Judy is the immediate past president of NITA, and she went to work with NITA's current president, Lorena Pike, and board member Cristina Sánchez as well as NITA member Maria Peralta de Gomez. Lorena Pike did all the heavy lifting, project management, and client communication, and the result is something that we can be quite proud of. Have a look at the translated manual here.
Photo by Chris Floros.

NITA just issued a press release about this important pro bono project, which you can read here.

While her portion of the work took Judy at least 40 hours to complete, this is a very worthwhile endeavor indeed. We are huge believers in volunteer work, and we hope that many Spanish-speaking drivers can finally get their driver's licenses. 

What about you, dear colleagues? Is there any particular pro bono project that you are very proud of? We'd love to hear about it!


3 comments:

Aída Ramos on January 15, 2014 at 3:05 AM said...

Great job, congratulations!

Have a lovely day,

Aída

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on January 20, 2014 at 9:37 AM said...

@Aída: Many thanks! We struggled with this decision about whether we should donate our time to a government agency, and even though it took a lot of our time, we think this is a great public service that will really benefit the Hispanic community.

Monika Anderson on January 21, 2014 at 1:37 AM said...

Congratulations! You should rerally be proud of.

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