CSUN students are making a difference in the lives of many in the Latina/o community by providing Spanish-language interpretation assistance. María Rangel, a Chatsworth resident, is one of the many Latina/o clients that the CSUN VITA Clinic’s Spanish-language interpreters have helped. Rangel, a single mother who works in the fashion industry, has utilized CSUN VITA services for three years. She first learned of it through the community development organization New Economics for Women (NEW) branch in Canoga Park.
“Three years ago, I came from Colombia with only my infant son and $500 in my pocket,” Rangel said. “At first I didn’t know where to go. New Economics for Women in Canoga Park recommended the CSUN VITA program to help me with my taxes and I have been going there ever since. I like that they speak Spanish, that they are patient and professional. They are also helpful and friendly and made me feel comfortable. And it’s free, so that’s good.”
With generous support from City National Bank, the CSUN VITA Clinic provides Spanish-language interpretation at community partner sites. The Spanish translation services are a collaboration with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures in the CSUN College of Humanities, coordinated by Svetlana V. Tyutina, assistant professor of Spanish.
““Volunteering for VITA, students are able to see the positive impact they are making and how their work contributes to the goal of providing equal access to different opportunities for our community,” Tyutina said.
Volunteer student interpreters undergo a rigorous training by the VITA program and are also provided with the resources they need in order to help the community prepare their tax returns.
Mayte Navarrete, a senior majoring in both English and Political Science who commutes from East Hollywood, splits her Spanish-language interpreter shifts between the Panorama City and Pacoima Public Library branches.
“I interpret for about 15 people in a day. I’ve realized that the area is largely Hispanic, so a lot of people come in needing an interpreter,” Navarrete said. “Sometimes people will tell me ‘thank you so much, m’ija. Keep doing this.’ That to me is very rewarding.”