Our Work


Illinoislegalaid.org/es is officially live

By Jackeline Granados on February 28, 2017

Illinoislegalaid.org/es has finally launched: yay!

This is something that we have been working on since the launch of the English website in August 2016. You can read about the official launch in our recent press release (also available in Spanish). Some people may not understand why it has taken more than 6 months to launch the Spanish version of IllinoisLegalAid.org. Let me explain a bit why:

I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA and the Spanish Translation Coordinator at ILAO and I'm 8 months into my year of service. On site, my manager Dennis Rios and I translate. Off site, there are over 40 people who have signed up to volunteer their time to translate with us. The numbers of interested people seemed to grow exponentially since November.

Volunteers are a huge help, and without them, we wouldn't have the amount of information that we have available in Spanish. One exceptional volunteer is Jorge Bravo. He has been translating with us since January 2014. When asked about volunteering with ILAO he said:

"I decided to volunteer my time translating for ILAO since I believe in helping others fend for themselves, especially in the legal field where a bit of knowledge can make a big difference. Translating for ILAO gives me the opportunity to do my part in providing information to Spanish-speakers who lack adequate legal protection due to the language challenges they face for not having English as their first language."

Even though we have had the blessing of having devoted volunteers, it has still been a crazy rollercoaster of sorts to make our resources available in Spanish.This includes recruiting, and learning that my legal vocabulary was not as expansive as I believed it to be. (As a result, Dennis' Law dictionary and Bilingual Law dictionary have been in my cubicle for quite a while.) It also includes learning how to use Lingotek, a program that was integrated into our website around December and the issues that arose with the program and already completed translations.

My volunteers and I got a headstart on translating between August and December 2016, before the translation tool, LingoTek was implemented. What we soon learned once Lingotek was integrated into our website was that there was no way to easily import all of the completed translations into our website. All of the English articles on our website are automatically sent up to Lingotek's cloud and machine translated. It stays in the cloud until someone downloads it, which then publishes it onto our website. What we (all of the staff at ILAO) had to do was go into Lingotek's workbench for every article and copy and paste the completed translation into an html syntax application, then copy and paste this into the articles within Lingotek sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph. It's a slightly painful process that's still ongoing.

Even though it has taken quite a while to get to this point, and I realize that there are still many translations that need to make their way onto our website, there is now legal information out there in Spanish for people to read and use. We now have a referral system in Spanish. Sure, everything may not be perfect, and it may never be, but it's there. It's there, and I know that I helped made this important information available for the people of my community.

If you would like more information on the Spanish Translation Program or the Spanish version of the website please contact the Spanish Translation Coordinator, Jackie Granados at jgranados@illinoislegalaid.org