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|April 5, 2012
Director of Communications
Chelsea District Court Probation Officer Offers
Free Spanish Lessons to
Her Trial Court Colleagues
¿Por qué estoy en probatoria? ¿Quién es mi Oficial de Probatoria? ¿Qué tengo que hacer?
These are three common questions asked by Spanish-speaking people who come into the Chelsea District Court Probation Department, according to Probation Officer Olga Lattarulo. In English, these questions are “Why am I on Probation?,” “Who is my Probation Officer?,” and “What do I have to do?”
If you are not proficient in Spanish, you will need a translator to understand these questions.
Lattarulo wants to help her Trial Court colleagues learn how to communicate with offenders and their families in Espanol (Spanish). A 17-year Probation Officer, Lattarulo--who is multi-lingual-- will offer free Spanish instruction at Chelsea District Court every Friday, from 1 to 2 p.m., beginning April 27th. The lessons will be taught in a court conference room. Lattarulo, a native of Peru, is fluent in at least seven different languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, American Sign Language, and English.
“I decided to teach Spanish because there is a big Hispanic population in Chelsea and therefore an apparent need. I have volunteered for a number of years as a Spanish language instructor and wanted to be helpful to my colleagues. Being bilingual and bi-cultural makes you more sensitive to those whose first language is not English,” Lattarulo said.
In her classes, Lattarulo will emphasize legal terminology as well as the questions that appear on the Probation intake forms that Probation Officers fill-out everyday with each new case.
“I want to introduce my co-workers to the culture and language in a realistic and easy way,” added Lattarulo, who also translates the intake information in Portuguese and Spanish.
Thomas Tassinari, Assistant Chief Probation Officer, said of Lattarulo's lessons, “ Basic Spanish will be helpful in moving the intake process along as well as other day to day operations of the court.”
Lattarulo also uses her linguistic skills to assist probationers from immigrant communities understand the court system. She helps them become fluent in English, understand American culture, and familiarize themselves with the law and Probation.