An interpreter workshop sponsored by SALUD for bilingual high school students was a success earlier this month, reports organizer Di Daniels. Students from Storm Lake Public, St. Mary’s and Newell-Fonda learned of the challenges and possibilities of becoming certified interpreters.
The workshop was facilitated by Prof. Piet Koene, prof. of Spanish, interpretation and translation at Northwestern College and state and federal certified medical and court interpreter.
Spanish, Karen, Pohnpeian and English were the languages represented.
“They have been interpreting since they were seven years old,” said Daniels. “He (Koene) told them to recognize the great gift they have.”
Students received a certificate of participation and information about where their skills might take them. A shortage of certified interpreters in Storm Lake was part of the incentive to hold the workshop.
While interpreting is oral communication, translation is written communication.
The sessions for high schoolers are planned to take place quarterly, but Daniels is hopeful interpreter instruction might someday be offered at SLHS.
Daniels offered this insight about interpreting, something that was covered in the workshop — that although children often help their parents in Storm Lake by interpreting, it’s not appropriate for kids to interpret for medical or legal matters.