Wednesday, January 25, 2012

why I don't love "language justice" terminology

I've been mulling over the 'language justice' terminology used by a lot of my compas who organize to make our movements more multilingual. I don't really like it. My sense is that it makes it sound like making the space fully bilingual is about justice for limited English speakers - or at any rate it seems easy for fluent English speakers to interpret it that way - rather than understanding that it benefits, say, limited Spanish speakers as much or more to have a broader more inclusive smarter movement with access to more experiences and insights. Rather than talk about 'language justice' I would prefer calling it the 'bilingual space committee' or what have you. Of course a bilingual space involves much more than interp and trans, but also bilingual facilitation and more (for how to see the great tips in the resource in this post).

Now if it's a matter of getting proper language interpretation in court, there I'm all for using the term 'language justice'.

But then again, I might be wrong about the connotations of the term - because this image is from the fabulous Wayside center, and though they use the term 'language justice', as they put it:

"Wayside has made a commitment to build and amplify voices and languages not often heard in organizing and movement spaces. We are working in Virginia and DC with organizations that see the need, and the organizing power, of connecting people across race and language especially in immigrant communities. When we begin to see language as a tool of empowerment that gives value to people's culture and way of being, our organizations grow in heart, experience, and perspective. When we begin to see that interpreting is not just for mono-lingual non-English speakers but in fact for everyone who is unable to understand all languages present in a conversation, we can begin to see people working from abundance and not deficiency. When we interpret well, we open space for the jokes, the perspectives and the soul of everyone in the room to come through, building deeper solidarity, democracy, and a broader movement for change."

(fabulous! pero ojo: I prefer to use the term limited English vs. non-English since most users of interpretation will actually speak some basic English, and using the term non can reinforce the idea that interpretation is only for those who speak no English at all)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


leaders: lideres y lideresas

I've been seeing this version in more Spanish language movement documents - recently in several from Bolivia. I have mixed feelings about it. I wish lideres was seen as including women, but I guess this highlights the role of women leaders.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

los indigenistas

indigenista: indigenist

over on my other blog (decolonizing solidarity) I posted the story of three international solidarity activists from the US who were killed in Colombia in 1999. In the Colombian press they are widely called "los indigenistas", which got me wondering how to say that in English and yes, you read that right - that cognate does exist in English. Ward Churchill calls himself one and writes in this Z classic that

"By this, I mean that I am one who not only takes the rights of indigenous peoples as the highest priority of my political life, but who draws upon the traditions—the bodies of knowledge and corresponding codes of value—evolved over many thousands of years by native peoples the world over. This is the basis upon which I not only advance critiques of, but conceptualize alternatives to the present social, political, economic, and philosophical status quo. In turn, this gives shape not only to the sorts of goals and objectives I pursue, but the kinds of strategy and tactics I advocate, the variety of struggles I tend to support, the nature of the alliances I am inclined to enter into, and so on."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

other resources to share with orgs that use interps

in my last post I shared a resource for organizations looking to be more multilingual in organizing, meetings, etc.

along the same lines, here are two more mainstream resources from the American Translator's Association

here is their promo text:

Interpreting: Getting it Right

For non-linguists, buying interpreting services is often frustrating. Many buyers are not even sure they need a professional interpreter since they know someone who is bilingual and willing to help out.

Buyers simply don't see the same problems and risks of miscommunication that you see.

These potential clients need to know what you do and the value your services can bring to their business. That's where Interpreting: Getting It Right comes in. This straightforward brochure explains the where, why, and how of professional interpreting services. It's a quick read that offers practical, hands-on information for language services consumers, perfect for client education.

To preview this brochure online, click Interpreting: Getting It Right.

Translation: Getting it Right

There are hundreds of ways a translation project can go off track – ridiculous deadlines, misapplied machine translation, poor project management. You know because you've seen it all. But have your clients? Be sure they know the value you bring to their business and keep them coming back.

Client education is one of the best ways to build your customer base, and it's easy to do with the Translation: Getting It Right brochure.

Translation: Getting it Right

ATA members can receive 20 free copies just for the asking. Contact the ATA Membership Services Manager for details.

But what if your client doesn't speak English? The brochure is now available in a number of other languages. Check out the links below!

You can also preview this client education booklet online. Click to download a PDF version of Translation: Getting It Right.