Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures

FLL Students Contribute to Encyclopedia of Alabama

Dr. Jana GutiƩrrez is pleased to announce the creation of a joint effort between the Encyclopedia of Alabama and undergraduate and graduate Spanish language students. The goal of this project is threefold:

  • to broaden readership of the online encyclopedia
  • to provide students with a real-life professional translation experience
  • to foster cross-cultural understanding

A fourth goal remains for the future: generating teacher resources for incorporating the translations into a Spanish-language classroom.

Students in FLSP 3310 Commercial Spanish Translation first took on Prof. Wayne Flint's "Alabama Overview" entry, which at over 6700 words provided quite a challenge. From there, they selected for translation the "Hispanics & Latinos" entry because of its interest to the Spanish-speaking community. Three of the most popular EOA entries came next: "Scottsboro Trials," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "Birds." Lastly, the students just could not resist tackling the "Auburn University Football" entry, in commemoration of the National Championship 2010 season. Each of these entries stimulated conversation in class as to the difficulty and importance of the translation process, the cultural impact of bilingual texts, and the tough -and sometimes amusing-- linguistic choices made by professional translators.

Once the translations passed through the collective undergraduate authors' hands they were submitted to a lengthy editorial review thanks to the newly formed EOA (Es Otro Alabama) Editorial Translators Board. This group is comprised solely of graduate student volunteers from the AU Master of Spanish / Master of Hispanic Studies programs. The graduate students review each undergraduate-generated translation for accuracy, consistency, and flow. The board tests the translations on selected native speakers and provides further revision as needed. They assist Dr. GutiƩrrez with promotion of the project and in generating valuable scholarship on the topic of Foreign Language service learning. Already this research has garnered much attention, both from May 2011's Community-University CU Expo conference attendees in Waterloo, Canada and the upcoming South Atlantic Modern Language Conference (SAMLA), to be held in November 2011 in Atlanta, GA.

Look for the translations to go live at www.encyclopediaofalabama.org in November 2011!

Last Updated: July 03, 2012