Thursday, April 29, 2010


artivist: artivista

according to the (longer) English wikipedia definition:
Artivist is a portmanteau word combining "art" and "activist". Artivism developed in recent years while the anti-globalization and antiwar protests emerged and proliferated. In most of the cases artivists attempt to push political agendas by the means of art. Yet this is not political art as it was known before, in the sense of artworks being political. The artivist is often involved in Streetart or Urban Art, Adbusting or Subvertising.

When I went looking for this word in Spanish I found that Kayhan Irani has the fabulous website (though she's of Iranian descent, so maybe this word works in Farsi too, but I'm guessing she got it from the Spanish). She also edited the great book, “Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Stories to Build Community and make Social Justice Claims”, which I really enjoyed.

The photo here is graffiti in Bogotá.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

arengas (interpreting tip)

I haven't found a great rendition of the word arenga itself - rallying cry just has a less powerful ring to it. But check out the great Spanish wikipedia entry on arengas -

and here are some arengas I interpreted at the last vigil to close the School of the Americas (the picture here is from an action to close the SOA that I was part of last Monday while I was in DC - which is why I haven't posted in a while):

por que, por que, por que nos asesinan, si somos la esperanza de america latina!

why, why, why do they assasinate us, we are the HOPE of latin america!

por nuestros muertos, ni un minuto de silencio, toda una vida de lucha!
for our dead, not one minute of silence, but an entire lifetime of struggle!

That last one you'll hear alot from Colombians. The key to interpreting at rallies is to know that it's likely the speaker will throw in an arenga. They usually know before they get on stage which they will use, so be sure to ask them ahead of time and figure it out before hand so that you can be calm and say it strongly and with passion, instead of panicking about rhymes, etc. In this situation finding one with a better ring is more important than being strictly literal.

Monday, April 5, 2010

accents (becoming a better interpreter tip)

One of the skills you need as an interpreter is being able to understand different accents, mumbling, and voices in general. One fun (and sometimes crazy making) way to practice this is by listening to music and making out what they're saying. Now there's a fabulous web site where you can practice this, called lyrics training. Select Spanish or English in top left and it will play you music videos in that language (you pick which, but one of the ones you could choose is this Oreja de Van Gogh one, above), and if you select easy it will give you most of the lyrics with some blanks to fill in. If you're an interpreter though, you should pick hard, where you have to fill in all of the lyrics. The great thing is that it stops the song at the end of each line until you catch up with the typing. It's a fun game - you won't even notice that you're improving your interpreting skills!