TLC was proud to participate in the Annual Back to School event at Plaza Mariachi that helps local families in the community with the essential school utensils and backpacks. We handed out pencil pouches and toys to the 1,000+ children who attended and talked to the parents about our English and World Language classes.
Sarah Ryan, Interpretation and Translation Training Specialist, presented a 2-day, virtual medical interpretation training to 13 bilingual Erlanger employees. The training specifically focused on learning and implementing specialized Spanish vocabulary for diabetes, cardiovascular health, and women’s health. This was not a certification course, but certification next steps were discussed for those attendees that were interested.
TLC recently helped the Tennessee Justice Center with a translation project. The Tennessee Justice Center is a nonprofit that helps families and individuals in marginalized communities navigate public benefits programs to get vital services such as health coverage, long-term supports and services, and food assistance. TLC translated a flyer and a postcard that summarize the health care and nutrition supports that are available to inform people who may not be aware of the programs and are newly eligible due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic into Spanish, Arabic, and Somali. The translation of these documents will greatly increase the number of people who will have access to the information they contain concerning TennCare, CoverKids, SNAP, WIC, and Pandemic-EBT.
TLC is pleased to report that our students from our spring term ranked our language classes 4.91/5.00 in our end of term satisfaction survey. An amazing 93% ranked us a 5.00.
“I like the small size of the class; the balance of listening, speaking, and writing practice; and the teacher’s style and personality,” wrote one student.
“This class is always a highlight for me each week. It’s been a lot of fun spending time with other people at my language level so that we can interact with one another,” writes another student.
We are thrilled that we are meeting your language learning needs and appreciate everyone who submitted feedback. Thank you!
TLC Project Manager and Interpreter Richard Ponce de Leon assisted TIME Magazine journalist Abigail Abrams interview six Spanish-speaking migrant workers in East Tennessee. Abrams was writing an article on COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the nation. The workers harvest and process tomatoes at Jones & Church Farm in Unicoi, Tennessee.
Read the published article here.
Congratulations to Dennis Caffrey – instructor, trainer and interpreter for TLC for many years – on being recognized by Hands On Nashville with a Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award for his volunteer work with Siloam Health.
As Siloam navigated serving on the frontlines of the pandemic with an incredibly diverse patient base, Dennis was the steady go-between communicator as staff cared for COVID-19 patients, educated others about the risks of the coronavirus, and eventually began administering vaccines to patients. His help in not only interpreting one language from another but overcoming cultural barriers ensured patients felt comfortable, heard, and that their needs were being met.
Dennis started to learn Spanish when he was 8-years-old, and advanced his knowledge of the language throughout college. Dennis spent 15 years of his Air Force career working in and with Latin America. Shortly after retiring from the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., he and his wife moved to Murfreesboro, TN.
“After about four months of ‘doing nothing,’ I took a course to become a medical interpreter and it was there that I learned about Siloam,” Dennis says. “It seemed like the perfect way for me to share my language and cultural skills while helping our non-English speaking neighbors deal with their health needs. That was by far the best decision I made since retirement.”
Dennis began volunteering with Siloam in 2010, and has been volunteering longer than the majority of Siloam Health’s staff. In 2020, he reached the milestone of 5,000 hours served with Siloam, completing 500 of those last year alone.
Jenny Rish, Director of English Programs, and Irma Hernandez, Spanish Bilingual Admin Coordinator, held an interactive presentation for the Tennessee Association of Municipal Clerks and Recorders (TAMCAR) on Thursday, June 3, about “The Basics for Communicating with All of Your Residents.” TAMCAR is a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of the municipal clerk and encourages clerks and recorders to continue their professional growth and development through continuing educational opportunities. TLC helped participants think through interactions they have had with people from other cultures who speak other languages and provided some basic phrases in Spanish to help with their work.
Congratulations to the 21 Court Interpreter Students who completed the TN State Court Interpreter Ethics and Skills Building Workshop at the Tennessee Language Center on June 7, 2021. The workshop is the first requirement to becoming a Certified Court Interpreter in the State of Tennessee.
The students were from the U.S., Spain, and Mexico and representing the following languages: Spanish, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Arabic, Portuguese, and French. These students will now be put in direct contact with the TN Administrative Office of the Courts , which will guide them through the remainder of the court interpreter registration and, eventually, certification process, after which they will begin interpreting in courts and attorney offices statewide.
TLC, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center Interpreter Services graduated eight students from the 80-hour, 15-week program on Thursday, June 3. Languages represented include Spanish, Russian, and Arabic, and participants connected from across the state and beyond.
ESL to Go, a grant-funded program that is part of the Tennessee Language Center (TLC), has been able to provide free English classes to over 1,700 students in the Nashville area with the help of generous funders including the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. ESL to Go was recently awarded another year of funding from Dollar General.
ESL to Go was founded in hopes of helping refugees overcome barriers to attending classes, with transportation being at the top of the list. ESL to Go uses a “classroom on wheels” in the form of a Ford F-650 truck equipped to be a fully functioning classroom to take English classes to the areas where refugees live. ESL to Go also works closely with local refugee resettlement agencies, community organizations, apartment complexes, and churches who allow ESL to Go to use free classroom space, so TLC-trained teachers are able to meet with refugee students close to their homes.
Recently, ESL to Go has expanded class offerings to include virtual classes in order to continue helping students access classes during the time of social distancing.
TN Language Center
The Tennessee Language Center (formerly TFLI), an agency of the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service established in 2018, is dedicated to responsive service of the public sector, the business community and private citizens in realizing their intercultural communication goals.