Spanish 104 Students Translate Lasallian Core Principles Documents for the Lasallian Network

Last spring, the students in Spanish 104, Theories and Methods of Spanish Translation, got to do something truly Lasallian for their Core Curriculum Community Engagement (CE) project: translate documents related to the Lasallian Core Principles to serve the many Spanish-speaking students, educators, and families in our Latinx communities. They translated the Core Principles themselves as well as an explanation about them and a retreat guide for school personnel. The project gave them a role in promoting inclusivity through a hands-on, service learning approach. 

The “Lasallian Core Principles and Facilitator's Retreat Guide” by Greg Kopra, Director of Formation for the San Francisco New Orleans District, is used by Lasallian schools across the San Francisco New Orleans District. Early last year at a Mission Officers formation workshop, when Brother Mariano López of El Paso suggested that a Spanish translation would be useful for colleagues and family members, Vice President of Mission Frances Sweeney, PhD, offered to have Saint Mary’s do it. Professor Sweeney had designed Spanish 104 as a CE course and reframed the course’s CE component with Professor Lori Spicher, PhD, to serve the Lasallian community. In CE courses, students learn about the community they are serving, and they learn how to apply the theories and methods in real-world service.  

The students worked on the documents throughout the semester.  “Although we each did our own analysis of the translations, we worked in groups of three to translate each section,” said Lindsey Aquino-Robles ’21, who double majored in Politics and Spanish. “Being in a group gives us the opportunity to ask questions and learn from each other. What I like the most about this project is that it will end up being used by many families and teachers.” 

Senior Amaya Griego ’22 discussed the importance of translating with care and caution. “We began translating the texts by taking extensive notes about why we made certain decisions, such as why we chose one word over another. This process held us accountable as translators, which is important because we are responsible for other people’s understanding of a text. This understanding is impacted by every single word and conjugation we used, so we must use discretion when making decisions. This note-taking process could get repetitive, but when we came together as a class and shared our interpretations of the texts, we could collectively discern the best and most accurate translation.” 

Like a great deal of Community Engagement projects, the gift is in the giving for Saint Mary’s students. “I really enjoyed doing the project, especially because it was service for fellow Lasallian schools,” said Griego. “The prayers, Core Principles, and language were familiar to me as a Saint Mary’s student, so it was very cool to see that other schools are working with our community’s same values and mission.” 

“I hope that teachers who are more comfortable reading texts in Spanish can better understand the depth and breadth of the Lasallian mission,” Griego continued. “Retreats are an awesome way for new faculty to get to know the community that they serve, and so hopefully, our translations are useful to Spanish-speaking faculty. No one should be left out because their primary language is not English. Part of building the inclusive community that comprises part of the Lasallian mission is making sure that everyone has a seat at the table. This was a great way for our class to make a seat at the table for people who are more comfortable speaking Spanish.” 

Students’ involvement in fostering inclusive Lasallian experiences creates change in both the individual and the greater community. Through Community Engagement projects such as this, Saint Mary’s is able to make the world a more respectful and inclusive place.

Learn more about Saint Mary's World Languages and Cultures Department here.