College of Communication & Education

Spanish Translation Project Provides Clarity For Spanish-speaking Families

interns pose for a picture

What started as an intern translation project has evolved into a full-throttle effort to translate CME’s website in Spanish. Shawn Brackett, Maria Barriga, and Melany Guevara are the names behind this incredible effort to transform the CME website and offer clear, easy-to-understand translations to Spanish speakers. 

College Advising & Retention Specialist, Shawn, manages Tehama Hall’s Student Success Center where Maria and Melany were Advising Interns when the translation project started. The three make up part of CME’s Student Success Team— a team dedicated to helping students succeed and thrive. 

Maria and Melany saw a need for a more thought-out Spanish translation of the CME website during a conversation that took place at Choose Chico last April. Students from Spanish-speaking families, who often double as translators for their parents, admitted that the lack of clear Spanish translations in educational materials was a roadblock. 

The team got to work and took a bi-directional approach in translating the CME site. Starting with English and translating to Spanish, the approach focuses on finding the most accurate Spanish equivalent to the words and phrases presented. It often revealed that the original English wording needed to be simplified or reworked to be more clear and engaging. The approach is most beneficial to first-generation students who likely have less exposure to the specialized vocabulary of universities.

The Success Team’s website now hosts a link to the Spanish version of any page under CME’s website that is geared towards students. They will focus on parent pages next and, in the near future, will focus on translating the print materials that can be found across campus. 

The project sets the precedent for other Chico State departments and is just the beginning of a grander effort to be more inclusive and equitable.