Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tilde Language Justice Cooperative

I added a link to the Tilde Language Justice Cooperative to the collection of links of 'other folks committed to making movements more multilingual' on the left side of this blog (if you're not looking at it on a phone). There are some fabulous people in that list, check them out and let me know if I'm missing anyone. Proud to be part of this movement across movements.

And check out this service that Tilde provides. Let's do more of this in other places!

~ multilingual capacity building ~

"tilde provides consulting services for nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, government entities, and others seeking to increase their multilingual capacity. Drawing on its decades of experience working in nonprofit, social movement, agency, and other settings, tilde can assist any group to maximize resources and improve its capacity to create more linguistically democratic spaces. tilde also offers participatory trainings to meet a wide range of needs, including interpreter skill building and best practices for multilingual spaces."

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Translation and LGBT+/Queer activism

This is not one of my normal term translations, but a call for papers. Even if you have no interest in writing such a thing, you might find the list of references at the end on activist translation interesting.

Translation and LGBT+/Queer activism

Guest Editors: Michela Baldo (University of Hull), Jonathan Evans (University of Portsmouth) and Ting Guo (University of Exeter)

Special issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies
The Journal of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association

This special issue will focus on the role that translation plays in global LGBT+/Queer activism. It will analyze the practices of translation as part of activism within lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual and/or allied movements, that is social movements that advocate for LGBT+ people’s rights, but it will also explore translation as part of queer activism, which emerged out of the AIDS campaigns of groups such as ACT UP and Queer Nation in the late eighties and early nineties in USA. Rather than mobilizing for the extension of legal rights to sexual minorities, queer activism has sought to undermine the reproduction of heterosexual social norms, using the concept of queer to destabilize dominant models of knowledge and power (Baer and Kaindl 2017). More specifically, queer activism, since its inception, has sought to fight the limitations perceived in the traditional identity politics of LGBT+ groups. While the queer activism of the early nineties focused more on the violence against sexual minorities, later strands of queer activism that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s developed close links with the alter-globalization movement (Shepard and Hayduk 2002), put more emphasis on antiauthoritarian, anti-capitalist practices and transnationalism (Brown 2015), and on the concept of the body, against the theoretical excesses of the first-wave white Anglo queer theory (Espineira and Bourcier 2016).

Despite the recent interest in studies of translation and activism (Baker 2006, 2015; Tymoczko 2007, 2010), testified by the coinage of the expression “activist turn” in translation studies (Wolf 2012), and the surging interest in studies on queer aspects of translation, attested by recent edited collections (Spurlin 2014; Gramling and Dutta 2016; Epstein and Gillett 2017; Baer and Kaindl 2017), queer activist translation practice is an area which remains understudied in translation and interpreting studies. While the term activist remains ‘ill-defined’ (Baker 2018: 453), we understand it here as an activity that aims for political or social change, and activist translation as translation that is undertaken as part of such an activity. Although some activist translations might be initiated by isolated individuals, activist translators are usually networked with other translators and activists in common enterprises (Tymoczko 2010), for example in the fight against war, racism, transphobia, sexism, gender violence, capitalism, environmental pollution, etc. Consequently, not all translation of queer texts or materials is activist: our focus is on translation as (part of) a political or social intervention aimed at causing change.

This issue will address the gap between research on activism in translation and queer practices of translation. It will concentrate on both how the notion of translation can inform the analysis of transnational LGBT+/Queer activism and also on how theorizations of queer can enrich studies of activist translation. We would like to ask how the idea of ‘queerness’, being a North American and European construct, has been translated in other activist scenarios outside of these geographical areas (Domínguez Ruvalcaba 2016). By investigating global approaches to the intersections between queer, translation and activism, we expect the special issue to deepen understandings of the relationships between these issues and global flows of culture, theory and science. By taking into account the inherent geopolitical inequalities that impact on the practice of translation, as well as queer of color critique, queer diasporas and queer migration studies (Muñoz 1999; Ferguson 2003; Gopinath 2005; Luibhéid 2008) and transgender studies, we are interested in exploring the involvement of queer activism with migrations, neoliberalism, citizenship and nationality. One line of enquire could be how activist translation of LGBT+/Queer materials chooses what areas to focus on (gay men, cis lesbians, white queer middle class culture, etc.) or exclude, and how these choices then affect understandings of LGBT+/Queer in the host culture.

We are also interested in exploring what insights LGBT+/Queer activism’s focus on sexuality can add to existing studies of translation and activism. More specifically we argue that issues explored in translation and activism such as ideology, horizontality, non-hierarchy, collaboration and pluralism might not be sufficient to account for LGBT+/Queer scenarios and that we need to also draw on the notions of desire, precarity and affect, among others. These notions, investigated by queer theory (Berlant 2011, Ahmed 2004), by some of the studies of queer translation abovementioned (Gramling and Dutta 2016; Baer and Kaindl 2017) and especially by queer transfeminism, that is feminism informed by transgender politics (Bettcher and Stryker 2016), can offer a more nuanced account of how these activist collectives and individuals operate. Borrowing Basile’s (2017) concept of queer translation as the intimate and vulnerable encounter between languages (skins, surfaces) which exposes their interdependence, we are interested in exploring, for example, how this concept could be applicable to queer transfeminist activism or other intersectional forms of LGBT+/queer activism.

Our focus in this issue is not only the themes translated by LGBT+/queer activist groups and individuals but also questions of how translation is understood, performed and disseminated. We put emphasis on how “queerness” affects translation epistemologies, that is what counts as translation, how it affects translation methodologies, and how it affects translation reception or how translation impacts on society at large. Special emphasis will be given thus to the performative aspect of activist translation: its capacity to produce transformation.

For this issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS), the guest editors invite contributions that address diverse types and locations of LGBT+/queer translational activism. We welcome papers on literary translation (including prose and poetry), specialized translation, interpreting, audiovisual translation or translation of theatre/performances. Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following lines of research:

1.                  Fansubbing or fandubbing and LGBT+/Queer activism
2.                  Textual and paratextual strategies in LGBT+/Queer activist translation
3.                  The dissemination of translations by LGBT+/Queer activist translators
4.                  LGBT+/Queer activist translation and performativity
5.                  LGBT+/Queer activist translation and neoliberalism
6.                  Transfeminism and activist translation
7.                  Queer of color critique and activist translation
8.                  Queer migration and activist translation
9.                  Queer diasporas and activist translation
10.              The translation of scientific studies of sexuality by LGBT+/Queer activists
11.              The subtitling and dubbing of LGBT+/Queer film festivals and its relation to activism
12.              Sociological analysis of LGBT+/ Queer activist groups of translators/interpreters
13.              LGBT+/Queer activism and affect
14.              LGBT+/Queer activism and desire
15.              How translation practices can gender or otherwise circumscribe notions of queerness or LGBT+ identity
16.              Theorizing queer activist translation

Submission Guidelines

Authors interested in contributing to this special thematic issue should submit an abstract (400–500 words) to the three guest editors:

Michela Baldo (
Jonathan Evans (
Ting Guo (

Please include a brief bionote about the author(s) and their university affiliation(s) in a separate file.

All abstracts and manuscripts should adhere to the Translation and Interpreting Studies style guide (

Authors of abstracts that are accepted for consideration will be invited to submit a full manuscript that is between 5000 and 6500 words in length, exclusive of bibliography. Every manuscript will be submitted to double-blind peer review.

Timeline for Authors

Abstracts (400-500 words) due to guest editors
1 February 2019
Decisions on abstracts
1 March 2019
Submission of full manuscripts
1 September 2019
Decisions to authors
1 February 2020
Final version of paper due (based on reviews)
1 August 2020
Final versions of papers to journal from guest editors
1 October 2020
Publication of special issue
Summer 2021


Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York and London: Routledge.

Baer, Brian and Klaus Kaindl. eds. 2017. Queering Translation, Translating the Queer. Theory, Practice, Activism. New York and London: Routledge.

Baker, Mona. 2006. Translation and Conflict. New York and London: Routledge.
---------------. ed. 2015. Translating Dissent: Voices From and With the Egyptian Revolution. New York and London: Routledge.
---------------. 2018. “Audiovisual translation and activism.” In Luis Pérez-González (ed) The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation, 453-467. Abingdon: Routledge.

Basile, Elena. 2017. “A Scene of Intimate Entanglements, or, Reckoning with the ‘Fuck’ of Translation.” In Brian James Baer and Klau Kaindl (eds) Queering Translation, Translating the Queer, 26-37. New York and London: Routledge.

Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press.

Bettcher Talia and Susan Stryker. eds. 2016. Trans/Feminisms. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3 (1-2).

Brown, Gavin. 2015. “Queer Movement.” In David Paternotte and Manon Tremblay (eds) Ashgate research companion in Lesbian and Gay Activism, 73-88. London and New York: Routledge.

Domínguez Ruvalcaba, Héctor. 2016. Translating the Queer: Body Politics and Transnational Conversations. London: Zed.

Epstein, B. J. and Robert Gillett. eds. 2017. Queer in Translation. New York and London. Routledge.

Espineira, Karine and Marie-Hélène/Sam Bourcier. 2016. “Transfeminism. Something Else. Somewhere Else.” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 3(1–2): 84- 94.

Ferguson, Roderick A. 2003. Aberrations in Black: Toward a queer of color critique.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gopinath, Gayatri. 2005. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press

Gramling, David and Aniruddha Dutta. eds. 2016. Translating Transgender. Special issue of TSQ Transgender Studies Quarterly, 3 (3-4).

Luibhéid, Eithne. ed. 2008. Queer/Migration. Special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14 (3-4).

Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Pérez-González, Luís. 2014. Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues. New York and London: Routledge.

Shepard, Benjamin and Ron Hayduk. eds. 2002. From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban protest and community building in the era of globalization. London: Verso.

Spurlin, William J. ed. 2014. The Gender and Queer Politics of Translation: Literary, Historical, and Cultural Approaches. Special issue of Comparative Literature Studies 51.2.

Tymoczko, Maria. 2007. Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.
--------------. ed. 2010. Translation, Resistance, Activism. Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press.

Wolf, Michaela. 2012. ‘The sociology of translation and its “activist turn”. Translation and Interpreting Studies 7(2): 129-143.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

trickle-down economics: economía de goteo

trickle-down economics: economía de goteo = "quienes poseen el capital dejan caer gotas de su riqueza para beneficiar a los de abajo"

Duque, the newly elected right-wing president of Colombia, won in some part by repeating lies about trickle-down economics that he learned from US Republicans.  As argued by Luis Carlos Reyes in a recent NYT op-ed:

"... claimed that the Colombian government was bloated and that taxation levels were extremely high. Americans are used to hearing this canard when discussing their own tax system, and those who bother to look up the statistics know this to be false: Whereas average tax revenues in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries are around 34 percent of the gross domestic product, in the United States they hover around 26 percent. It is downright alarming, then, that the same claim could be successfully made in a country like Colombia, where tax revenues are a modest 20 percent of a much smaller GDP, well below O.E.C.D. and Latin American averages.
The president-elect Mr. Duque adopted the Republican rhetoric according to which “job creators” are treated unfairly, and he campaigned for tax reductions for these “creadores de empleo.” The fact of the matter, however, is that the rich receive preferential treatment, and even more so in Colombia than in the United States.

In 2010 — the latest year for which data in Colombia are available — the effective tax rate paid by the top 1 percent of income earners was 11.5 percent, a bargain compared with the 23 percent paid by the top 1 percent in the United States during that same year. ...."

Isis Giraldo here offers a more detailed analysis of how this retrograde ideology is being used to deepen inequality in Colombia, which regularly ranks in the top 5 or 10 most unequal countries in the world. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Contraloría [Col]: Comptroller

Well, really the Comptroller General's Office, but for simultaneous you could just use the Comptroller. This is an office that does not exist in all countries, but is part of the fourth branch of government in Colombia - the public ministries that have oversight over the rest of the government. These also include the Defensoría (Human Rights Ombudsman) and the Procuraduría (Inspector General). I regularly hear these terms misinterpreted into English by folks who don't know the Colombian system of governance.

Latest bad news from the Comptroller: Colombia's peace process is $25 billion short.

Friday, September 21, 2018

estrategia de transversalización de género: gender mainstreaming

estrategia de transversalización de género: gender mainstreaming

What is it? Well, different organizations use it differently - and far too often as an empty headnod - but as the UNDP explains on their page about this policy,

"Esta estrategia implica integrar el enfoque de equidad de género de forma transversal en todas las políticas, estrategias, programas, actividades administrativas y financieras del PNUD, así como en la cultura institucional, de modo a contribuir verdaderamente a cerrar las brechas de desarrollo humano que persisten entre hombres y mujeres. De forma complementaria a la Transversalización de Género, el PNUD se compromete a realizar acciones afirmativas a favor de las mujeres, a fin de compensar las desigualdades existentes entre hombres y mujeres en relación al acceso a oportunidades, participación e igual disfrute de los beneficios del desarrollo."

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

tool for practicing simultaneous interpreting

The site News in Slow Spanish is intended for Spanish language learners, but it seems to me that it could also be used to practice simultaneous interpretation into English if you are just dipping your toes into those waters. You can switch the speed from slow to normal, so you could practice it once on slow, and then again on normal. They also provide the transcript, so you could start with the transcript, then do it without, then speed it up.

Friday, August 24, 2018

lios de faldas: roughly, 'lady trouble'

I've been struggling with this term since the then Colombian Defense Minister, Luis Carlos Villegas, argued that the wave of murders of social leaders defending the peace accords were just “líos de faldas”—roughly, “lady trouble.”

I ran across this translation in this wonderful article in @nacla, which offers a great overview of the wave of murders and its impact.

Diana, in the image here, was of one of the 170 leaders murdered since the accords were signed - 27 of whom were women. This image is from a beautiful project that is seeking artists to draw images of each of them. Check out the ones they have so far here, and if you know an artist who might donate one, please spread the word.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

tranque [Nicaragua]: barricade

tranque [Nicaragua]: barricade

You could also use blockade or roadblock - though those terms don't necessarily convey the temporary and improvised nature of it.

Nicaragua has been full of these lately, though their numbers have been going down. I realized that this was the Nicaraguan term for them from this debate about the Nicaraguan resistance and the politics of solidarity with it on Democracy Now.

As I've blogged before, in other countries they use terms barricada or bloqueo. In Mexico it is sometimes tope de carretera, and it can be a piquete in Argentina (though that term can also refer to an entire movement).

From the photos I found online it seems like Nicaraguan tranques are often made out of cement blocks, which is not as common in other Latin American countries.

note: Thanks to Barbara Wood for pointing out over on the facebook version of this site that the cement blocks are paving stones. The same ones used by the Sandinista guerrilla as they fought to overthrow Somoza.

If you're on facebook please like my page there to get these posts in your facebook feed.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

asistencialismo: clientelism

I have blogged asistencialismo twice before - it's a term that is difficult to convey in English but this gets much closer than my previous versions if we go with the google definition of clientelism as "a social order that depends upon relations of patronage; in particular, a political approach that emphasizes or exploits such relations".

I came across this rendition in the NACLA article Nicaragua: A view from the left, which I recommend!

note: after I posted this my colleague Eric Schwartz wrote to say, "I think the other entries you had before are closer. A re-working with "charity" seems like the best bet to me.
But clientelism doesn't seem right. Asistencialismo can be part of clientelismo, but not necessarily. It could just be broader State policy to meet immediate demands and demobilize people in the process, without necessarily feeding into a patronage system." 
I still think my handout-ism option is clunky, but maybe charityism would be understood? 

Monday, July 23, 2018


There have been two radio pieces lately, this one in English, this one in Spanish, about the struggle to get this racist character in blackface (el soldado Micolta, in the photo here) off the air in Colombia. Yes, in 2018.

The Spanish piece kept the term blackface in English, and it seems there is truly no commonly used equivalent in Colombian Spanish. Is there in any other Latin American country? Anyone know? Is 'caranegra' or 'caranegra falsa' used anywhere?

Monday, July 9, 2018

velatón: candlethon (wave of candlelight vigils)

Velatón is a neologism in Spanish, recently used for an event held on July 8th, 2018 in over 100 cities across the world and across Colombia that was essentially a rolling wave of candlelight vigils to call for an end to the wave of assasinations of social leaders in Colombia.

The implementation of the peace accord in Colombia has been seriously crippled in various ways - but one of the most serious is these murders of leaders, almost all of whom were members of their local Junta de Acción Comunal and organizing to support the return of land that was stolen during the war.  This puts organizing in those communities back years, as of course others are then afraid to step up.

We need increased and continued international pressure to stop these attacks. Please keep your eye on this and keep spreading the word about it, perhaps by sharing this new word. To honor this organizing, and the creative neologism in Spanish, I suggest creating a parallel neologism in English: candlethon.

Note: I thought that this word was created for this event but I was wrong. Thanks to my tocaya Sara Tufano on twitter (who does great work there for peace and I recommend following @SaraTufanoz) quien cuenta que "Ya había sido usado en Chile, por ejemplo, en memoria de los estudiantes asesinados en la marcha en Valparaíso. Hubo velatón también por el caso de los 43 estudiantes mexicanos asesinados."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

familista: supporter of so-called family values

The newly elected right wing vice-president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, (Colombia's first woman VP) says she is a feminist because she believes society needs more of the 'feminine' - but her views are actually deeply anti-feminist. She openly expresses a profound anti-gay bias, disguised as support for so-called family values, known in Spanish as being familista.

It turns out that the word familist actually exists in English (thanks to Carlos Gonzalez (@carlosrealm) for pointing this out to me on twitter). It means "relating to or advocating a social framework centered on family relationships rather than on the needs of the individual" - but I think that this would be a false cognate in this context (aside from simply not being widely understood in English). Instead I suggest translating familista as 'supporter of so-called family values'. I add the so-called since people who call themselves family values supporters generally only support heterosexual families, and actively attack other types of families.

(On a side note, I tweet at @spaceforpeace)

Friday, May 11, 2018


The most poetic rendition of this I have seen is "high Andean moor." But more usefully, you could keep the term in Spanish and define it, as this article did: "paramo, a special ecosystem in the Andes where vast amounts of water are produced." It is the pollution of that water that is at issue in the gold mine protests described in the article, so this seems like a useful version - though I would have called it a fragile alpine tundra ecosystem. You could also just use fragile Andean tundra if time is short. If doing simultaneous interpreting I would probably define it like this once and then go on to use the term in Spanish.

photo is of the páramo de Sumapaz, in Colombia

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

empantanado: bogged down

This article usefully describes the various ways that the implementation of the Colombian peace accords has gotten 'empantanado' - which I would render as bogged down.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

aguapanela: tea made of raw sugar

Not a social justice term - except that in my utopia everyone gets to drink lots of this!

I ran into this rendition in, of all places, the English translation of the Basta Ya! report on the armed conflict in Colombia - which I'm having my students read parts of in our Reconciliation class. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

paro armado: armed lockdown

In Colombia the ELN guerillas have declared a 'paro armado' for February 10th through 13th. As I explained in my previous post on this term, this is when an armed actor announces that there will be a shut down. What that means is that if you open your business, drive your car, even walk down the street you might get shot (or have your cab set on fire, as in these photos). Entire cities can become ghost towns on these days. These armed lockdowns have been widely used by right wing paramilitaries.

This time the ELN has declared a paro armado for the entire country, but one assumes that it is only in areas that they control militarily that people will stay home to stay safe.

What inspired me to blog about this term last time was that I heard it mistranslated as armed strike, which I think is quite misleading. This time I saw it translated by Reuters as 'blockade'. This gives the impression that all they will do is block the main roads. But then, perhaps a paro armado by the ELN is different than a paramilitary paro armado and will in fact only block roads versus requiring a total shut down? The article does say that the ELN will block major roads and warns people not to travel. I still prefer armed lockdown as a translation for this - most blockades are not armed!