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University Promotes New Translation Service

11 May 2012 No Comment


From left: Leslie Carter, Amy Ramirez, and Jenny Owens (Photo by Tracy Gnadinger)

When Leslie Carter, coordinator in the Office of Information Technology at the School of Dentistry, recently saw the need for a translation service at the University, she made her observation known.    

“We were missing out on opportunities to connect with faculty, staff, students, and visitors in deeper, more meaningful ways,” she says, adding that a translation service would help address the call from University President Jay A. Perman, MD, for greater civility.

“I think providing campus translators to those who speak English as a second language could support his efforts,” Carter says. 

Amy Ramirez, director of the Office of International Scholar and Student Services, and Jenny Owens, assistant director of student communications at Campus Life Services, transformed Carter’s suggestion into the Volunteer Translator Initiative.

“It seemed like an excellent idea,” says Ramirez. 

One purpose of the program, says Ramirez, is to ease the transition for international members of the campus community and for visitors to the University. She also hopes the service will strengthen the University’s global connections.

“I think that campus translators will serve the purpose of improving communication among members of the UM community,” Carter says. 

The initiative’s website, www.umaryland.edu/ois/volunteer_translators, includes a list of translators/interpreters. A disclaimer notes that the volunteers are not professionals, and the accuracy of the translation is not guaranteed. Participants can provide feedback on the website. 

Ramirez encourages people who speak more than one language to visit the site and apply to be translators. “We’re reaching for a diversity of languages,” she says. 

“The University is really trying to grow in its global reach,” Ramirez adds. “Sometimes we forget that we have the world on our campus.”  

For more information, contact Ramirez at aramirez@umaryland.edu or 6-7488. 

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