Translation bridges the gap between cultures. Without translations, it would be impossible to read texts written in a foreign language. On the surface, translation seems easy. However, there are many different levels of translating a text that most people do not realize. Most of the time, it is not possible to translate word for word because meanings in the source language do not always correspond with meanings in the target language. Therefore, translators translate meanings rather than words.
This is extremely important when translating documents that will affect people’s lives, as is the case of the Shelter Rules used at the YWCA in Schenectady. In this presentation, I will offer specific examples of English to Spanish translations of the Shelter Rules to show that lack of linguistic equivalency can have serious consequences for this specific population. Linguistically and culturally appropriate translations are key to the wellbeing and safety of YWCA clients.