COLLEGE STATION — Handling household maintenance problems, raising a garden or nurturing children can be a bilingual experience on the World Wide Web via “Publicaciones en Espanol” from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
More than 220 fact sheets — many coupled with their English counterpart — have been translated, designed and placed on the Web through a special effort of the Extension Service, according to Bill Watson, communications specialist and project coordinator.
“We had two goals,” Watson said of the project which began about eight months ago. “We wanted to distribute good, research-based educational material in the United States and internationally, and we wanted printing economy — to not have to spend a lot of money running copies through a printing press.”
Publicaciones in Espanol, which is continually adding more materials, stems from an increased awareness of the need for Spanish language materials, especially in southern border and coastal states where Hispanic populations are flourishing. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that “growth of the Hispanic-origin population will probably be a major element of the total population growth” in coming years. “By 2000, the Hispanic-origin population may increase to 31 million, double its 1990 size by 2015, and quadruple its 1990 size by the middle of the next century. In fact, the Hispanic-origin population would contribute 32 percent of the nation’s population growth from 1990 to 2000,” according to a 1994 census bureau report.
Watson said that points to the need for more Spanish language materials available and in a more broad spread manner.
Among the topics offered thus far are child development, entomology, health, horticulture, household maintenance, nutrition, waste management, water quality/safety, and success in school.
“Each topic has useful, concise information on practical everyday issues — information on issues such as insect control, water purity and how to treat sick children for various ailments,” Watson said.
In addition to the materials written by specialists with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Watson said, more than 50 Spanish documents produced by the California Extension Service also are provided through Publicaciones in Espanol.
Watson pointed out that the Spanish language materials often are coupled with English versions, an effort he said provides credibility to the information and also may assist people who are trying to improve skills in either language.
The next outgrowth of the electronic Spanish educational materials, Watson noted, will be a CD-ROM disk provided to all county extension agents in Texas to enable people without Internet access to get the materials locally. He hopes eventually to collaborate with other providers of similar Spanish language materials to establish a more national clearinghouse or collection of educational materials for the Internet or CD-ROM disks. Publicaciones in Espanol can be found at http://agcomwww.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/publish/bwatson/spanpubs.htm