CHWA CESU Project Spotlight: NPS Spanish Translation

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By Dan Filer, NPS CHWA CESU Research Coordinator 

The Archeology Program at the Washington Office of the National Park Service (NPS) worked with the University of Maryland’s School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures to translate eleven lesson plans into Spanish through a CHWA CESU agreement from August through December, 2018.  The Translation and Interpretation Services at the Department of Spanish and Portugese engage graduate and advanced undergraduate students along with adjunct and tenured faculty in professional translations with cooperators.  Dr. Manel Lacorte, Associate Professor of Hispanic Applied Linguistics served as the Principal Investigator on the project and spearheaded the effort while Dr. Teresa Moyer was the lead for the NPS.

Screenshot of NPS lesson plan translated into Spanish

Spanish Translation of NPS Teaching Artifacts Lesson Plan

The execution of this project filled a much-needed gap for the National Park Service and the American public.  Prior to engaging with the University of Maryland, the NPS offered no online archeology lesson plans in Spanish.  Completing this project increased the relevancy and reach of archeology while engaging more diverse audiences.  Faculty and students working on this project for the University of Maryland were able to apply their skills of interpretation, while also being exposed to the discipline of archeology.  Topics of the lesson plans included the history of women in the field of archeology, STEM-related topics, and 3D scanning and printing.  Each lesson plan package, which will be loaded onto the NPS educators’ portal (, includes an English lesson plan and its Spanish translation along with background/informational documents to prepare for teachers for their use in the classroom.  The packages also include assessment worksheets for the students to measure their knowledge at the completion of the lesson.

The success of this project is leading to additional work within the CESU network.  The NPS Archeology Program intends for UMD to complete more translations in 2019, including the NPS Junior Archaeologist Booklet, a 3D Lesson plan for Fort Frederica National Monument, and other lesson plans in development.

The success of this project exemplifies the CESU model: experts and students were given the chance to apply their skills to their craft for the betterment of our public lands while the NPS received technical assistance for a need that could not be completed within the ranks of the agency.  The public benefits from the project as a larger segment is now able to access and understand these resources while the NPS better fulfills their mission by increasing their relevance to the American public and the reach of their educational programming. Dr. Moyer notes, “These translations open archeology education to Spanish speakers and those learning the Spanish language. We hope they will encourage lifelong interest in learning about archeology.”