Sunday, August 26, 2007


(carbon) offsets: compensaciones (de emisiones)

Sometimes called offsetting projects, which I would render as proyectos de compensacion de emisiones. There is a completely wrong proz definition of offsetting as reducciones. Actually offsets are widely used as an excuse to continue polluting and seem to actually make reducing emissions less of a priority. They function much like the indulgences issued by the Catholic church, clearing you of all guilt. Many of these projects would have happened anyways, without the funding from guilty travelers. Some are sketchy monoculture tree farms, or tree planting programs that have no funding for actually keeping the trees alive. I'm sure there are some good ones out there, but I'm iffy about the whole tactic.

It's all something I'm chewing on as I'm traveling around to academic conferences. I'm currently using wifi on the train from Edinburgh to London - my one feeble attempt to reduce the footprint of this trip. Ironically I'm presenting a paper at the IBG on guilty solidarity. No, not solidarity amongst all of us who are guilty travelers actually, but how guilt shapes solidarity activism by people of privilege, in particular U.S. citizens working in solidarity with Latin Americans to end U.S. empire.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

living wage

living wage: salario digno

living wage is completely misdefined on, which led to great frustration as I tried to explain this concept to colleagues doing translation for Democracy Now! It is NOT a minimum wage, but precisely more than that. It is better defined here

On proz they have living wage translated as salario vital, but I really don't like that rendition. I don't think it's nearly as immediately intelligible.

I came up with salario digno many years ago and have been propagating it amongst movement interps since. I've seen it pop up in all sorts of documents - not sure if others came up with it too, or if I was truly that successful in getting it adopted : )

I'm in Glasgow, Scotland at the moment, and was happy to hear at lunch today that activists in the UK are picking up this tactic, which I believe started in the US, and are pushing to have all of the purchasing associated with the London Olympics be required to offer a living wage. Note though that this term is still new to English speakers over here, and if you're not speaking to a union crowd they may not know it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


able-bodied: persona sin discapacidades

I've been chewing on this one since my first post on ablism. It's really so strange that the opposite for discapacitado isn't capacitado at all, in fact, that's completely off. Maybe capacitadismo really doesn't work. Too bad though, it's so neat and quick.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


netizen: ciudadano internauta

my colleague Tori raised the good point that limited English speakers might not recognize this term if you're going Sp>En, but it's much more widely used, and a whole lot cuter, than cybercitizen

see Spanish use here
and from here's a better definition that what's on wikipedia:

The word netizen seems to have two similar meanings.
  1. A citizen who uses the Internet as a way of participating in political society (for example, exchanging views, providing information, and voting).
  2. An Internet user who is trying to contribute to the Internet's use and growth. As a powerful communications medium, the Internet seems to offer great possibilities for social change. It also creates a new culture and its own special issues, such as who shall have access to it. The implication is that the Internet's users, who use and know most about it, have a responsibility to ensure that is used constructively while also fostering free speech and open access.
Cybercitizen is a synonym.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

correr la voz

correr la voz: spread the word

obviously not run, or spill, the voice - though doesn't that sound strangely cool?


encuentro: meeting, conference, gathering, workshop

It sounds so much more prosaic in English. I wish I could come up with something that had all the beautiful resonances that it does in Spanish. I've seen people just keep the encuentro in Spanish, especially for the Latin American feminist ones, but depending on the crowd of course I think a lot of your listeners just wouldn't understand. I love that punto de encuentro can mean common ground.

Monday, August 13, 2007

vocab crunching?

Are you studying obscure legal terminology for a certification test? ah, that endless interpreter endeavor ... I have crazy huge collections of those itty bitty index cards on rings that I've had in pockets and purses for spare moments for years. Just ran in to this cool program though that I wish I'd known about before I passed all those exams and moved on to grad school - check it out: quizlet

Friday, August 10, 2007


lactivism: lactivismo

Yes, a neologism in both languages, but the Spanish version does actually have some minor googlage.

Here is the wikipedia definition:
Lactivism is a word joining two other words, "lactation" and "activism." A "lactivist" is a generic term describing any person who supports or is in favor of breastfeeding, lactation, pumping, and other related activities which support lactating mothers. Often a person is referred to as a "lactivist" when he/she protests an injustice done against a woman due to her status as a lactating woman. Examples can be found in the current media of instances of lactivism. For example, a common lactivism approach is that of staging a "nurse-in" where nursing mothers congregate outside of a place of business or public building (like a swimming pool) and breastfeed their children to protest against an action that was previously taken against a breastfeeding mother in that place (if she was asked to leave because she was breastfeeding her infant, for example).

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Accountability: Rendicion de cuentas; Responsabilidad por; Responsabilidad a
(to hold accountable: responsabilizar)

There are three senses of the term in English, so the translation will be different depending on the context and use. There is accountable as in able to be explained, that is, by giving “accounts”, for example, sharing our stories and being self-reflective about how we benefit from privilege and colonial patterns. Rendicion de cuentas. In so doing we can hold each other accountable for our geoeconomic and geopolitical position in the world, our social locations, and what we do with and about them (that is another sense, accountable as in responsible for: por). If phrased as in 'we will hold him accountable for x' you could render it as 'lo vamos a responsabilizar por x'. We can take the lead in this work from those most directly affected by racism and empire (the third sense, accountable as in responsible to: a). I deeply believe that as social justice movements we need to develop more spaces and mechanisms for accountability.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Si Se Puede!

Si Se Puede!: Yes We Can!

There are lots of other versions, but this catches the spirit of it and also works well as a chant.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


lockout: cierre patronal

A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. This is differentiated from a strike, in which employees refuse to work.

Yesterday I ran across the term "workbench lockout" to descibe an incident where "union members had been assigned fault equipment, not given materials or work orders on time in order to meed production goals, denied overtime hours, subjected to under-counting of production ...." in this fabulous article:

Traub-Werner, Marion and Cravey, Altha (2002) Spatiality, sweatshops and solidarity in Guatemala. Social and Cultural Geography. 3 (4), 383-401.

about the campaign for the first maquila union in Guatemala at the Van Husen shop, which went on for years and I responded to many action alerts on. If you also work on consumer solidarity I recommend the article (if you don't have academic access I can send it to you). But really, the point for this blog is that I'm not sure what term to use for that. I'm going to ask Marion, but anyone else have ideas?

Monday, August 6, 2007

detras de nosotros, estamos ustedes

detras de nosotros, estamos ustedes: behind us, we are you

I can't take credit for this one - I saw it in an email. It's the title of a book by el sub (Marcos) that came out in 2000, and as far as I know has not been translated yet. I've seen the slogan in various zapatista materials and love it.

Friday, August 3, 2007


empower: potenciar, apoderar, empoderar

The dictionary says to empower is to give someone else power (I empower you to do it). In that sense I would use apoderar. I am all about neologisms, and yes, empoderar is catching on - but I don't get how it's better than than the long existing apoderar. Unless maybe it squeamishness about those other definitions of apoderar carrying over. See this definition.

Or maybe it's that people feel uncomfortable with it when empower is actually being used more like to own your own power (the dictionary would say having the confidence to do something), which is the sense in which you're more likely to see it in a social justice context (as in We can fight our landlord, we know our rights, we are empowered tenants). Ok, so in that context I could live with empoderados, but I like potenciados alot too.

I've heard potenciar from several different social justice 'terps now, so I'm not just making this one up. It's not an exaaaact match though. See this definition.

Thoughts? Votes?

(Oh, and if you don't have the word ref searches in your firefox toolbar scrolldown to the bottom of those definition pages and get them. Amazing tool.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007


outreach: promoción

Kenny mentioned that he uses difusión de información; información al público; educación/educar al público
but those all seem fairly wordy. It's true, promocion sounds like you're selling something, but in a way you are usually - an event, a service, etc.. Thoughts? Other options?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


grassroots: popular

Thanks to Kenny for reminding me to put this one up. I run into folks screwing this one up all the time, though usually by doing the cognate Sp>En. Ok, not a horrible screw up, it is technically correct, but most crowds just won't get it. We usually say grassroots in English. Sometimes in English grassroots is used as a synonym for "rank and file" (as opposed to leadership). In that case I'd render it as base, or "de la base".