Being a Translator at TYO
Ruba Hafayda, at student of English Literature and Language at An-Najah University, is one of TYO’s translators. She began volunteering with TYO in the fall of 2011 in our intern classes and has been translating with us ever since. Ruba heard about TYO through word-of-mouth. One of her friends was volunteering at TYO, and she informed Ruba about the organization and the work TYO does for its community. “After hearing about how wonderful the work is there, I decided to go and see the center for myself and before you know it, I was volunteering as a translator,” says Ruba. She was a translator last session in a music class and now in an art class. Ruba shares, in her own words, her experience as a translator thus far.
My role as translator has three main aspects. First, it includes translating written materials for the intern that I am paired with. This includes everything from short videos, to song lyrics to small words for charades. Second, my job is to be the liaison between the children and the intern, switching back and forth from Arabic and English to help everyone understand one another. I also interpret the interactions the children have amongst themselves for the intern, as well as informing the intern about the different cultural dynamics with honesty to help them have a better grasp of the children’s background. My third task is related with the volunteers who work as aids for the intern class. I work to convey messages back and forth between intern and volunteers and this creates an atmosphere of teamwork in the classroom.
I decided to come on board with TYO because I knew it would give me the opportunity not only to practice my English, but also to give me firsthand work experience. I have learned a lot about different cultures, places, and people by way of working with the international volunteers. What is more, although I had never worked with children before, I can now confidently say it has been a pleasure working with them, especially the ones from the most disadvantaged backgrounds that we serve at TYO. This organization creates programs and classes that show the love and care that TYO has for children to its core. After two semesters of working here, I have realized that I want my participation with the organization to go beyond being a volunteer translator, and I hope I can realize this goal and be a key player in the next level of success for TYO.