Tuesday, January 26, 2010

subtitling a 12 year old.

good subtitling here, particularly of the testimony of the 12 year old boy at the beginning. Josh did a good job here of not being too literal and making it sound like the way a 12 year old would talk in English.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the price of silence

This video is so fun! Check out the interpreter booths and the funny earpieces they use at the UN. They've been using that same sort of earpiece since the 40's. The seats have a built in spot for them in the armrests. It hangs off the top of your ear and though it looks funny it is probably more comfortable if you're going to have it on all day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

translating nonviolence

from the Albert Einstein institute translation procedures for translating texts on nonviolence:

Some of the English terms in this field do not translate readily into other languages. Other terms in this technique may be assumed at times to have exact foreign equivalents but those may not actually be accurate. For example, some persons have incorrectly translated the term “nonviolent action” into the target language as the equivalent of “passive resistance” although nonviolent action can be extremely active. Also, “nonviolent action” has often been translated as the equivalent of “nonviolence,” which also is inappropriate because “nonviolence” may be understood to involve ethical, moral, or religious beliefs (when the reality is that nonviolent action has been widely practiced by nonbelievers for pragmatic reasons). The widespread confusion between nonviolent action (or nonviolent struggle) and “nonviolence” is potentially very serious. Those beliefs in “nonviolence” may have their merits, but they are a
different phenomenon than pragmatic nonviolent struggle. When the term for
nonviolent action is mistranslated in this way, this technique may be summarily
rejected by persons and groups that regard themselves as realists. All persons
working on translations need to understand these differences very well.
There are additional issues with terminology as well. Direct equivalents
for “nonviolent action” and related terms may not already be in standard usage or
even exist in the target language. New terms may need to be coined and
introduced in some translations. For example, in Burma the term “political
defiance” was coined because anything called “nonviolent” had connotations of
passivity and naïveté.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

murio desangrado

murio desangrado: he died from blood loss
(even better suggestion from comments: bled to death)

One I hope you never have to say, but a good rendition of this phrase that came up in testimony by a mother of one of the recent extrajudicial army executions in Colombia (a so-called "false positive") in this great short piece about the new US military bases in Colombia by Al-Jazeera. In related Colombia news I'm disgusted to report that 17 of the alleged perpetrators of these so-called false positives have just been set free, supposedly because the courts were slogged. If the Obama administration insists on continuing to send massive amounts of money to Colombia, how about using it to fund the courts instead of the military?

Friday, January 1, 2010


brinconear: to skip

May you skip with joy in the new year!

this is a word I was reminded of by this fabulous letter, shared here with permission:

Dear friends,

After living for three years in the state of Arauca, I joined the Christian Peacemaker Team here in the city of Barrancabermeja on September 16. I’ll be returning to Arauca occasionally to visit friends and I’d like to share with you now a few of my favorite memories of that very beautiful and afflicted region.

Martin Sandoval and 13 other people were arrested for “rebellion” in the town of Arauquita on November 4, 2008. Martin is the president of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Arauca. The Committee organized a public hearing of the Congressional Human Rights Commission in Arauquita on July 31, 2008. More than 500 people attended that hearing during which Martin and other community leaders denounced the abuses committed by the army and police. Leaders of the Committee felt that Martin’s imprisonment was in retaliation for organizing the hearing.

I visited Martin twice in the Arauca City prison. “As a human rights defender in Colombia, the least that you can expect is to be imprisoned” he said. “This is a beautiful experience. We share everything with each other here.” He and the 13 others remained united, worked with a lawyer that provided a joint defense for all of them, and were finally released on May 14. I called Martin the following evening when he was at the welcome home celebration in Arauquita. He expressed his appreciation for my support and said, “You’re part of this family.”

When I returned to Arauquita in March (after being in the U.S. for two months), I received a wonderful welcome from many people there. Some of those friends were the man who repairs shoes in front of the church (we joke that he’s performing surgery); Maria who bakes pizza in a cart by the park, along with the group that congregates with her in the evening (Colorado who sells lottery tickets, and Jaime who has a repair shop but is also a painter and philosopher); and the man at the produce store who always calls my name and gives me the thumbs-up when I walk by. At the start of mass that evening, Father Fernando announced “We’re very glad to have with us again the best human rights defender around here.”

Alejandra was two years old when I moved to the town of Saravena in 2006. She lived a block away, and she would wave and call out “Gringo!” whenever I walked by. One evening when she was three, she ran down to the corner to meet me and was so excited that she started skipping back to her house. That seemed like an excellent idea to me and I began skipping alongside her in the street. This turned into our evening ritual and we would skip together along the entire block.

Unfortunately, after Alejandra turned four she became too self-conscious to continue skipping (I hope she grows out of that by the time she reaches my age). After several skip-less months, a young girl who lives across the street from Alejandra called out to me one evening and started skipping. She had seen our previous ritual and wanted to join in the fun. I crossed the street and we skipped together to the corner. She and a younger friend became my new skipping buddies and the evening ritual was revived.

On that same block, there’s a taxi driver that works the Saravena-Arauquita route and I’ve traveled with him various times. I saw him in front of his home one afternoon and he asked, with a smile, “Are you still skipping?”

In love and solidarity,


Photo of Martin during a visit to the Arauca City prison that was organized by the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights on October 10, 2008 – one month prior to his arrest: