College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

PIT Night Spanish Interpreting

Michael's Story

MichaelBeing a volunteer translator was a wonderful opportunity to use my Spanish outside of the classroom. I chose to volunteer because it gave me a chance to improve my Spanish skills while helping others. Translating for parent teacher conferences was a challenge because teachers must had to explain difficult concepts about a students class work and behavior to the parent. Many of the Hispanic parents also were not used to the procedures of United States schools, so often additional explanation and translation between both parties was needed. For elementary teachers to educate effectively, parents must be involved. Teachers must be able to communicate the student's progress to the parents. Overall, this experience showed me the importance of effective communication and how native English speakers often take for granted the language barriers that many face.

Jess' Story


I participated in the parent-teacher night at the Indianapolis Public School because it is an opportunity to use my Spanish in more realistic environment. Also, I think translating is important because it is an opportunity to assist others in breaking the language barrier. I found that it was a very rewarding and humbling experience. It was rewarding in the way that I was able to see how my Spanish has developed this semester and how I have improved in certain areas. It was humbling because interactions with native speakers help you to see where you still need to enhance and improve your speech. Talking with Hispanic parents, I learned of their concerns and difficulties in trying to teach and assist their children in school, when they as parents do not even know English. This experience reminded me of the frustrations that non-natives can often feel, and how important it is use my Spanish ability to help diminish those feelings. If given the chance again, I would definitely choose to participate.

Michael H's Story

Michael P.Opportunities to use Spanish, experience the Latino culture, and be subjected to our country's system of education for our children, are very difficult to come by, especially in the same place, on the same evening. Butler has provided me with these types of opportunities; opportunities that have opened my eyes to a world very different from the one I live in everyday. I sincerely believe that you gain more from these experiences, than you can ever help or give to those who are actually in need. Even so, one Latino mother remarked, "Thank you so much! Without people like you, we may have never truly known how to help our son at home." The gratitude and sense of accomplishment you receive in these types of volunteer opportunities are overwhelming!