Monika Pitonak


Bachelor of Arts (Honours), MLCS – Language Studies Route, 5th Year

Course: MLCS 495 Honours Thesis (Fall 2021 & Winter 2022) with Instructor Dr. Ann De Leon

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives?  

I worked with the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA), which provides a document translation service as part of their settlement and integration services. My project was focused on creating a searchable Spanish to English translation glossary that EISA’s volunteer translators and proofreaders would be able to use while working on document translations. As well, this project was the focus of my Honours thesis, which I am currently completing where I am reflecting on the creation of the glossary and on EISA's translation practices within the context of community translation and official document translation practices specifically within Edmonton and more generally worldwide. 

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement?  

My biggest takeaway from this project was this feeling that I have the ability to genuinely have a strong positive impact on my community. It is sometimes hard to conceptualize having an impact on the world around me when I am in class or doing homework, so being able to create something that is going to be used to the benefit of other people living in Edmonton was extremely valuable to me. 

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? 

I am interested in pursuing translation in my future career and this project allowed me to gain new knowledge about the organizational and administrative aspects of translation, such as the way that a team of translators can be structured and led. As well, this project allowed me to further develop and practice my Spanish language and translation knowledge and learn about terminology management, which I hope to implement in my career, as I would like to work on creating more translation tools in the future. 

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

As part of the project, Dr. De Leon and I discussed incorporating a CSL component in the SPAN 405 class during the Fall 2021 semester, which focuses on Spanish to English translation. For this component, the other students in the class and I were supposed to translate documents for EISA, and these translations would have been included in the corpus of documents that I used to create the glossary. Unfortunately, there were not enough documents needing translation in order for Dr. De Leon to implement the CSL component for the class, which was most likely due to the fact that Covid-19 interrupted the flow of newcomers coming into Edmonton. On my end of things, in order to reduce physical contact as much as possible, I completed the project online, including creating a survey on Google Forms for EISA’s Spanish translation team to fill out and meeting with Amanda Zhang, my EISA contact over Zoom.