Beyond Translation

When The Journey Leads To Where You Started

By Paula Flores

I never imagined myself leading binational programs – much less championing an effort to introduce a serious message…and yet, here I am.

My parents’ first job in the USA was migrant farm work. During my childhood, my parents traveled throughout the states picking different crops according to the seasons. Kids often joined their parents during the summer and even during the school year. For me, those were the best summers ever! Disney World could not compete with the opportunity to playing in the dirt all day, having a picnic with your entire family under the sweet-smelling citrus trees.

I don’t remember ever thinking about pesticide exposure risks in the fields.

Many years later, I was hired by EPA where the opportunities to learn are endless! I have worked on a variety of issues. Nonetheless, I’ve always gravitated towards community involvement.

So in 2005, a group of us launched an initiative called Beyond Translation. The purpose of this effort was to go beyond the mere translation of documents and truly expand the environmental conversation with the Latino community – especially with respect to those issues that most impact our communities. Other EPA offices, including Research Triangle Park, Headquarters, and Region 3, followed suit to have a meaningful impact within their multilingual communities.

The BT Initiative resulted in the creation of a theater production called “El Moscas” y Los Pesticidas. Through clever characters and dialogue, a family learns about pesticide risks in agricultural fields and at home, as well as tips to minimize exposure. The play has been performed in San Juan, El Paso, and San Elizario, Texas and even in Wanachee, Washington.

Just a few weeks ago, a group of migrant students from Laredo performed the play to one of the largest audiences yet. Over 800 individuals filled the seats of Laredo’s Convention Center to see “El Moscas”! It was evident that the pesticide awareness message hit a cord in light of the increasing demand for more performances.

Imagine how proud I felt, when I saw the many faces of migrant workers in the audience. It has been a pure joy to be able to give back to the community who prepared me to take on just about anything. And as I watched their reactions – I thought I spotted my dad…and he was smiling.

About the author: Paula Flores-Gregg’s passion is turning community challenges into opportunities for collaboration. In her 25 years of service, she has embraced every assignment with creativity and enthusiasm. Paula is currently part of the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 Program, serving as coordinator for the Texas – Coahuila – Tamaulipas – Nuevo León region.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Beyond Translation: Promoting Environmental Health through Education

By Lina Younes

On October 6th, 2010, Hispanic community leaders will be participating in EPA’s 4th Beyond Translation Forum in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The theme for this year’s forum is “promoting environmental health through environmental education.”  Participants from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, academia, small businesses, and government officials will be coming together with EPA officials to discuss issues of concern to the Hispanic community.

This forum is part of the Beyond Translation Initiative spearheaded by EPA-Region 6 back in 2006 and replicated by different EPA regional offices. Originally conceived as a Hispanic outreach activity, the initiative has been expanded to reach out to other multilingual communities as well. The initiative supports Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priority of expanding the conversation on environmentalism particularly with those communities that traditionally have not been engaged in our work and activities. Our goal is to continue the dialogue beyond the one day forum so that together we can collaborate to resolve environmental challenges.

While EPA is a regulatory agency, our work goes beyond rules and regulations. We need to reach out to all communities regardless of the languages that they speak to increase environmental awareness. Through environmental awareness activities, we can show multilingual stakeholders how the actions they take at home, at school, at work, and in their communities have a direct impact on their health and the environment we all share. Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. If you live in the Raleigh area in North Carolina, we would love to see you at the forum.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Beyond Translation Initiative Goes National

I just returned from a successful Hispanic forum at our offices in Research Triangle Park, NC. The forum is part of EPA’s Hispanic outreach initiative known as Beyond Translation, an effort that was spearheaded by EPA’s Region 6 office in Texas in 2006 and now has become truly national in scope.

EPA will be hosting its second National Beyond Translation Forum in Washington, DC on October 26, 2009. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will be there to address Latino elected officials, representatives from community-based organizations, small businesses, and faith-based organizations. This year’s national theme is “EPA and the Hispanic Community: Working Together to Protect our Health and the Environment—At Places Where We Live, Work, Learn, and Play.” EPA officials and key stakeholders will discuss various issues ranging from environmental health, the role of Latinos in the green economy, promoting environmental careers among young Hispanics, as well as economic and partnership opportunities at EPA.

This outreach effort serves as a mechanism to continue EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s call to expand the definition of environmentalism particularly among those communities that traditionally have not worked with the Agency. We urge you to participate at this year’s forum. If you do not live in the DC area, you’ll also be able to attend via live webcast. You just have to register on-line.  Our goal is to have similar forums throughout the nation. Please join us on this journey to increase environmental awareness among all communities regardless of the language you speak at home.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Taking EPA to the Community

Beyond Translation logo bannerFor nearly four years, EPA has undertaken a multilingual outreach effort entitled Beyond Translation. The first Beyond Translation Hispanic Stakeholders Forum saw the light in San Antonio, Texas in the fall of 2006 as a Hispanic outreach initiative designed to increase environmental awareness among Hispanic leaders. Thanks to hard-working EPA employees, this initiative has blossomed into an effort that truly engages EPA and with Hispanic stakeholders from community-based organizations, small businesses, academia, and government officials. As the title suggests, the main objective is to go beyond the traditional mechanisms of reaching out to Hispanics in the US. While necessary, translating brochures into Spanish only produces limited results in increasing the environmental awareness of Hispanic stakeholders. The purpose of these forums is to take EPA to the community where people live, work, learn and play in order to sustain a productive and ongoing dialogue on their environmental concerns and challenges. Through this important tool, the Agency can effectively promote environmentalism among Hispanic communities in a language they can understand so they can actively participate in EPA’s decision-making process.

This year, EPA is once again taking its message to the community in a series of Beyond Translation Forums. The first one will be in EPA Research Triangle Park, NC on October 7th. The theme for this year’s RTP forum is: “EPA and the Hispanic Community: Building Environmental Awareness in Rural Communities.” I urge you attend either in person or virtually (webcasts will be offered) Stay tuned for the next one in our series. Together we can make a difference in environmental protection.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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La EPA llega a la comunidad

image of Beyond Translation logoPor casi cuatro años, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental ha realizado un esfuerzo de alcance público para las comunidades multilingües llamado “Beyond Translation” (Más allá de las traducciones). El primer foro con líderes hispanos de Más allá de las traducciones se efectuó en San Antonio, Texas en el otoño del 2006 como una iniciativa de alcance público a fin de aumentar la concienciación ambiental entre líderes hispanos. Mediante la gran labor de empleados de la EPA, esta iniciativa rindió frutos y ha culminado en un esfuerzo que realmente logra una comunicación efectiva entre la EPA y partes interesadas hispanas provenientes de organizaciones de base comunitaria, pequeños negocios, académicos, y funcionarios públicos. Como el título sugiere, el principal objetivo consiste en ir más allá de los mecanismos tradicionales para alcanzar a los hispanos en los Estados Unidos. Mientras todavía es necesario, la traducción de folletos al español sólo produce resultados limitados para crear conciencia medioambiental entre partes interesadas hispanas. El propósito de estos foros radica en lleva a EPA a las comunidades donde el pueblo vive, trabaja, aprende y juega a fin de sostener un diálogo productivo y sostenido sobre sus preocupaciones y retos medioambientales. Mediante esta importante herramienta, la Agencia eficazmente promueve el ambientalismo entre las comunidades hispanas en un idioma que pueden entender y en el cual pueden participar activamente en el proceso de toma de decisiones de la Agencia.

Este año, EPA está llevando nuevamente su mensaje a la comunidad en una serie de foros de Más allá de las traducciones. El primero se celebrará en las oficinas de EPA en el Parque de Investigaciones del Triángulo (RTP, por sus siglas en inglés) en Carolina del Norte el 7 de octubre. El tema del foro de RTP este año es: “EPA y la comunidad hispana: creando conciencia ambiental en comunidades rurales.” Le instamos que participe sea en persona o por vía cibernética. Quédese sintonizado a nuestros blogs porque pronto brindaremos mas detalles sobre el próximo en la serie. Juntos podemos hacer una diferencia a favor de la protección ambiental.

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Down, Three To Go

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Lea la versión en español a continuación de esta entrada en inglés.
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Beyond Translation Conference Banner“…Regardless of our heritage, we all have the same interest in a clean, healthy environment. Hispanics, with their deep sense of family and community, can help EPA spread the ethic of environmental stewardship to all segments of our society.” – EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson

Hard work pays off! We successfully hosted our first National Beyond Translation Forum on September 15th. Participation surpassed our expectations. Feedback from the attendees has been very positive.

This event was the first Beyond Translation Forum held at the national level in Washington, DC as a result of the successful initiative originated by employees in Dallas three years ago. EPA Employees in partnership with Hispanic organizations and state representatives came together for this important event.

As the theme of the conference suggests, “EPA and the Hispanic Community: Partnering, Engaging, and Building Awareness,” we’ve learned that our work has just begun. It didn’t end with the event last Monday. Far from it. Currently, we are identifying opportunities in which stakeholders will be able to work together. We plan to collaborate in order to increase environmental awareness on environmental health issues of interest to the Hispanic community as well as potential economic opportunities for Hispanic small business and organizations to work with the Agency.

After the presentations, it was very exciting to see many of the stakeholders come to me and other conference speakers to discuss ways in which we can join forces to build on the momentum generated by this important event. As administrator Stephen L. Johnson said in his speech at the BT Forum in Washington, DC this week, “with the help of the Hispanic community, we will continue our environmental successes.”

The next forum will be held on October 1st at EPA Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. At the EPA-RTP campus, we will be focusing on children’s environmental health.

Once again, thanks to the team members from the EPA Office of Small Business Programs, Office of Cooperative Environmental Management, our Office of Civil Rights, the staff from our program and regional offices, as well as many of the speakers from HHS, NASA, LULAC, AFOP, Hispanic College Fund, LCLAA, and others who gave their all for this event. It was a true labor of love.

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

Beyond Translation Conference banner“…Independientmente de nuestro patrimonio cultural, todos tenemos el mismo interés en un medio ambiente limpio y saludable. Los hispanos con su profundo sentir de familia y comunidad pueden ayudar a EPA a difundir los valores de protección medioambiental a todos los segmentos de nuestra sociedad”. – Administrador de EPA Stephen L. Johnson

¡La ardua labor tiene recompensas! Auspiciamos exitosamente nuestro foro llamado “Más allá de las traducciones” el 15 de septiembre. La participación sobrepasó las expectativas y las reacciones han sido muy positivas.

Este evento fue el primer foro celebrado a nivel nacional en Washington, DC como resultado de una exitosa iniciativa originada por empleados en Dallas, Texas hace tres años atrás. Empleados de EPA en asociación con organizaciones y representantes estatales hispanos se unieron para este importante evento.

Como sugiere el título, “EPA y la comunidad hispana: Creando conciencia mediante colaboración y diálogo”, vemos que nuestra labor tan sólo ha comenzado. No culminó con el evento del pasado lunes. Al contrario, ahora estamos identificando oportunidades mediante el cual las partes interesadas empezarán a trabajar juntas. Esperamos colaborar a fin de fomentar la concienciación medioambiental sobre asuntos de salud ambiental que sean de interés a la comunidad hispana así como potenciales oportunidades económicas para pequeños negocios y organizaciones hispanas que quieren trabajar con la agencia.

Después de las presentaciones, fue excitante ver a muchos participantes acercarse a nosotros para discutir maneras en que podemos aunar fuerzas para seguir el ímpetu generado por este importante evento. Como el administrador Stephen L. Johnson declaró en su discurso en este Foro de Más allá de las traducciones en Washington, DC esta semana, “con la ayuda de la comunidad hispana, continuaremos nuestros éxitos ambientales”.

El próximo foro se celebrará el primero de octubre en las Oficinas del Triángulo de Investigaciones de EPA en Carolina del Norte. Allí nos enfocaremos en la salud ambiental infantil.

Nuevamente, mil gracias al equipo de EPA de la Oficina de Pequeños Negocios, la Oficina de Gestión Cooperativa Ambienta, nuestra Oficina de Derechos Civiles, el personal de nuestras oficinas programáticas y regionales, así como a los oradores de agencias federales y organizaciones como HHS, NASA, LULAC, AFOP, el Hispanic College Fund, LCLAA, y otros que dieron su máximo por este evento. Realmente fue una labor encomiable.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Beyond Translation Forum Journal

Last week, Lina Younes blogged about the Beyond Translation Forum series. Today is the National Forum in Washington, DC. Various people will send brief updates during the day, and we’ll update this post though the day.

Lina Younes, Multilingual Communications Task Force Chair, 11:40 am: It’s been only two hours and we’re already producing results. Have been able to make some good contacts and identify potential partnerships. Many local community and state representatives are very interested in continuing the dialogue in favor of environmental protection. Go team!

Marcus Peacock, Deputy Administrator, 12:05 pm: It’s so satisfying seeing an initiative grow from an idea two years ago to the flourishing partnerships we have today. And it is just going to keep rolling along. I expect our existing collaborations will get stronger and we’ll continue to meet new partners. We’ve gone from acorn to sapling with a mighty oak in our future.

Bill Briggs, Director of Public Outreach, 12:30 pm: Sometimes its hard to tell how an event is going when you and your team are on the line for its success. From all the information and input I am gathering, the forum participants are glad this is happening and are helping to achieve the forum’s goals by networking and engaging close collaboration. Someone mentioned to me that they want to have a forum in almost every region. I will be fine for successfully finishing the first national forum before taking on bigger projects.

Bill Briggs, Director of Public Outreach, 1:40 pm: We have begun the real work of the forum: the breakout sessions. Here is where the experts have a dialogue with the stakeholders on how to “go green”, get a contract with EPA and expand the number of college students choosing careers in environmental science and related fields.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Working Together for a Healthy Environment

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Lea la versión en español a continuación de esta entrada en inglés.
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As Hispanic Heritage Month fast approaches, many government agencies, schools, and community based organizations across the nation are getting ready to celebrate the culture and traditions of our fellow citizens who trace their roots to the Iberian Peninsula, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Americas.

Here, at EPA, we have started our own Hispanic outreach tradition called Beyond Translation. This is an initiative that originated in EPA’s Regional Office in Dallas and has gained momentum. The Beyond Translation Forum provides a framework by which EPA and the Hispanic community can engage in a fruitful dialogue as partners in environmental stewardship. Given the growth of the Hispanic population across the country, the Agency is working to improve access of environmental and public health information, both in English and Spanish, in a manner that is relevant to these diverse communities. These forums provide a venue for the Agency and Hispanics to work together to advance the Agency’s mission. The meetings include workshops on promoting higher education and careers in the environmental sciences, environmental health issues, and economic opportunities that exist for working with EPA.

Cultivating community involvement is one of the key elements EPA uses to engage the general public in the Agency’s decision-making process. We seek to further cultivate Hispanic community involvement during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond. During the next six weeks, we are going to be hosting four Hispanic stakeholder forums throughout the nation starting with the first National Beyond Translation Forum in Washington, DC on September 15th, followed by regional ones in the EPA Research Triangle Park campus on October 1st, McAllen, Texas on October 16 and in Philadelphia on October 30th. We must note that the Philadelphia event also seeks active participation of Asian-American and Hispanic community leaders in the EPA Region 3 area.

Regardless of cultural heritage, all of us at EPA understand that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility. We hope you can join us at a Beyond Translation Forum near you.

Trabajando juntos para un ambiente saludable

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

A medida que nos acercamos al Mes de la Hispanidad, muchas agencias gubernamentales, escuelas, y organizaciones comunitarias se están preparando para celebrar la cultura y tradiciones de nuestros conciudadanos cuyos antepasados trazan sus raíces a la península ibérica, México, y las naciones hispanoparlantes de las Américas.

Aquí en la EPA, hemos comenzado nuestra propia tradición de alcance público a la comunidad hispana conocida como “Más allá de las traducciones”. Esta iniciativa que se originó en la oficina regional de EPA en Dallas está tomando auge. El Foro “Más allá de las traducciones” brinda un marco mediante el cual EPA y la comunidad hispana pueden sostener un diálogo fructífero como socios en la protección medioambiental. Dado el crecimiento de la población hispana a nivel nacional, la Agencia está trabajando para mejorar el acceso a la información ambiental y de salud pública, tanto en inglés como en español, en una manera que sea relevante a estas comunidades diversas. Estos foros brindan un vehículo mediante el cual la Agencia y los hispanos puedan trabajar juntos para avanzar la misión de la Agencia. Estas reuniones incluyen talleres para promover la educación avanzada y las carreras profesionales en las ciencias ambientales, asuntos de salud ambiental y oportunidades económicas que existen para trabajar con EPA.

El cultivar la participación comunitaria es uno de los elementos claves de EPA de involucrar al público en general en el proceso de toma de decisiones de la Agencia. Buscamos fomentar una mayor participación de la comunidad hispana durante el Mes de la Hispanidad y todo el año. Durante las próximas seis semanas, estaremos auspiciando cuatro foros hispanos en diferentes ciudades. El primero Foro Nacional Más Allá de las Traducciones (Beyond Translation) se efectuará en Washington, DC el 15 de septiembre seguido por otros regionales en el campus de EPA Research Triangle Park en Carolina del Norte el primero de octubre, en McAllen, Texas el 16 de octubre y en Filadelphia el 30 de octubre. Cabe señalar que en Filadelfia también estamos buscando la participación activa de líderes de las comunidades asiática e hispana en el área de Región 3 de EPA.

Independientemente de nuestro patrimonio cultural, EPA entendemos que la responsabilidad ambiental es responsabilidad de todos. Esperamos verle en uno de los foros de “Más allá de las traducciones” que se llevará a cabo cerca de usted.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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