Saturday, September 8, 2012

my evolving shpiel for folks who misuse the terms interp/translator

Sometimes bilingual people who I explain the interpretation translation distinction to try to tell me that in Spanish traducción means interpretation.

I assume that everyone reading this blog will know that it is not, but I thought I would share an email I sent to a compa who had this confusion. I wrote:

"I want to explain why this is not just some high horse and why this distinction matters so much to us. The same traducción as written and interpretación as spoken distinction exists in Spanish as in English - it's just that people are perhaps even MORE likely to get it wrong in Spanish.

As activist interps we want to make our movements more powerful by making them more multilingual - to do that movements really need to understand language services so they can use them well. It turns out that translation and interpretation are two pretty different skills that require different tools, training and talents (great writing skills vs speaking skills, different software, etc). Part of the reason we insist on educating folks to use the right terms is as a first step towards improving movements use of interps and translation so that our movements can be stronger and more effective.

I will understand if you get this wrong another hundred times, but I'd like to ask you, particularly when speaking publicly about our work to try to remember to use the term interpretación in Spanish when that's what you mean, not traducción, even if that's what other folks you've been working with have been using. "

Multilingual movements are stronger movements! Lets build our power as movements by teaching our compas to do multilingualism well!

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