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Students Provide Translation Services for Kidney Foundation of WNY

Posted: May 13, 2021

Spanish-speaking clients of the Kidney Foundation of Western New York will soon have brochures and other informational materials available in their native language, thanks to a group of students from Buffalo State College.

As a service-learning project for his spring course SPA 398: Spanish for Health and Social Service Professions, Marko Miletich, assistant professor of modern and classical languages, assigned his students a project to translate brochures and pamphlets, as well as website copy, for the local foundation.

He divided the 11 students into groups to work on three different communication projects.  

“It’s important information about renal function, dialysis, and how the kidneys work,” said Miletich, who worked with the college’s Civic and Community Engagement Office to find a community partner that needed this kind of help.

Jeremy Morlock, director of the Kidney Foundation, said his office just received the materials and they are much needed.

“There are many members of our community whose primary language is Spanish, including people with kidney disease, individuals at increased risk of kidney problems, caregivers, and family members,” Morlock said. “Medical information and terms can be especially challenging. These translated documents will be very helpful as we share important facts about kidney disease prevention and treatment.”

Miletich, who joined the MCL faculty last September and has worked extensively as a professional translator and interpreter, formed a second partnership to complete this project. He sent the Buffalo State students’ translations to graduate students at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Catalonia, Spain, near Barcelona.

“They served as editors, and my students could see their corrections,” Miletich said. “It was a nice collaboration and good opportunity for our students. They learned ways they can improve.”

Next semester, Miletich plans to offer a similar service-learning assignment to students in his MCL 370: Introduction to Community Interpreting and Translation course. He’s looking to partner with another community organization, possibly Legal Aid of Buffalo.

“Translating, which is different from oral interpreting, is great for students to practice and master,” Miletich said. “It also helps them learn more about the community and how they can help.” 

Although the Kidney Foundation of WNY has used Spanish language materials from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this marks the first time it has had its own educational materials translated.

The partnership with Buffalo State inspired the foundation’s leaders to create a Spanish language news release for National Kidney Month in March, which a volunteer provided.

“Kidney disease often has no outward symptoms,” Morlock said, “so it’s especially important for everyone to understand risk factors and ways to protect kidney health.”

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Modern and Classical Languages

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