SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Roughly 40 languages are spoken in Siouxland and interpreters ensure those voices can be heard and understood. Local organizations say there’s still a need for more bilingual people.
Cinthia Quezadalemus provides translations for people at the Mary J. Treglia House. The organization has six translators and she says they’re always looking for more. She says helping people without the right translator is challenging.
“Sometimes if we don’t have somebody to speak their language, then it’s hard for them to communicate and for us to communicate and understand what they need,” Quezadalemus said. “So, when we don’t have somebody in-person, we use an interpreter over the phone and then so it’s always good to be able to understand what they actually need to get that accomplished for them.”
The Treglia House offers translations for English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, and Somali. but Quezadalemus says there’s much more to translating than just knowing the language.
“There’s a difference between when they request a translator and an interpreter,” Quezadalemus said. “So for an interpreter, it’s actually just the verbal communication and a translator is actually just the written communication so like documents.”
Western Iowa Tech Community College is launching an interpreter program. The dean of career and technical programs Michael Rohlena says in addition to technical skills, being a successful translator also requires critical thinking.
“We’ll also teach them all the ethics behind it because that’s a big component,” Rohlena said. “How do you become a third party, a neutral third party in the situation, not to get your own emotion involved in it?”
Rohlena says the one-year program will start in August this year and students are required to already be bilingual.