Friday, December 25, 2009

Speak up!

Speak up! speak out! let me hear you! : !Hagase escuchar! :

(CHANGED to alza la voz! thanks to Atenea - see comments)

This one comes thanks to my colleagues: Ken Barger, who posed the question in regards to speak up, and Diana Meredith, who came up with this great rendition.

This is a phrase you often see on flyers and brochures in English that ask folks to take action, call a politician, etc.. Speak up and speak out seem to be used interchangeably. Verbally, in a rally setting, I could imagine someone calling out 'let me hear you!' and 'hagase escuchar' would also work for that I think.

The art here is from the movement artist Rini Templeton. Her family has made all of her images open for public use at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

instead of sending more troops, how about paying for trained interpreters?

I am disgusted that huge sums of money are being misspent to send poor young people from the United States with few other options at home to do far more harm than good in Afghanistan - but here is a new twist on how screwed up the whole enterprise is: they are using completely useless untrained interpreters, and clearly not training troops on how to use interpreters! This video (by the Guardian) of a US soldier trying to speak to an elder in Afghanistan through an interpreter is seriously damning. I couldn't find a way to embed the video, but it is well worth watching the subtitled short bit that starts around 3:30 minutes in.

Kudos to the Guardian for getting this subtitled and exposing the abysmal (worse than nothing) interpreting - but they completely misread the situation with their headline: "When the US 173rd Airborne's Charlie Company try to speak to a Pashtun elder, the gulf is so great even the interpreters have given up interpreting." No, in fact the problem is not a cultural gulf, the problem is utter lack of training and competency. This interpreter really never even begins to try to interpret. He clearly has no training in interpreting, and the soldier clearly has no idea what interpreting looks like or involves. What a royal mess. Yankees, come home now.

Monday, December 7, 2009

interpreting at the vigil

My apologies for the silence - it is the end of the semester and I'm swamped. Above is a video of me interpreting a couple of weeks ago at the SOA vigil - it starts about half way through Padre Alberto's presentation. There are videos of other Colombian speakers at the vigil here, here and here.

I was reminded again at the vigil how many of the folks that end up interpreting for the solidarity movement have little to no training in interpreting skills, so in the future I will try to post some basic interpreting tips and tricks on this blog, along with the terminology.