Wednesday, February 17, 2016

personero: local ombudsperson (Colombia)


personero: local ombudsperson (Colombia)

Just "local ombudsman" is the translation that Winifred Tate uses in her book:
Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats: U.S. Policymaking in Colombia

I personally prefer the non-gender specific term ombudsperson. I've often seen this rendered as human rights ombudsperson. Since most English speakers won't automatically associate ombudsperson with human rights, it can be useful to spell that out for them if it's appropriate for the context, but personeros (or more appropriately the whole office of the Personeria) actually also provide general oversight on issues of corruption, environmental impact, etc.

Personeros are appointed at the level of the 'municipio' - but I like Winifred's use of local to get around the way Colombian municipios are a complete false cognate with municipality in (US/Can) English. Municipalities are only urban and don't usually have political units inside them (boroughs are a rare exception). Municipios are often rural, and have all sorts of other units inside them (veredas, corregimientos, etc).

The translation into Spanish of Winifred Tate's book, by Andy Klatt and Maria Clemencia Ramírez, is here. 

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