The service-learning Spanish translation course (Spanish 315: “Spanish in the Business World”) taught at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne in the fall of 2010 and spring of 2012 provided an ideal context for the students to connect with the Hispanic community in our geographical region. Once the connection through service was established, students learned about the significance of education for the Hispanic community and about the role of translation in ensuring full participation of Spanish-speaking parents in their children’s school experiences. Such connections and the knowledge that ensued were crucial to developing and delivering the best Spanish translations possible. The impact of our work extended beyond the initial expectations of engaging in community partnership and translating learning materials for use by Spanish-speaking families with children attending one of the local elementary schools. Apart from the translations, our products included a poster presentation by students at a service-learning summit, three faculty presentations at professional development events at the university, a 2011–12 community engagement faculty fellowship encompassing service, teaching and research, and a coauthored poster symposium at the National Research Outreach Conference. Regarding scholarship, a significant gain has been to learn how much translation and service-learning complement each other and engage the parties involved in partnership, providing a sound basis for the development of long-term multilingual and multicultural community projects.


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