Monday, April 12, 2021


Globish is a neologism for global English and it is a generally difficult to fully achieve holy grail, much like what tends to be called neutral Spanish rather than global Spanish. Neutral Spanish is one that avoids terms used only in some countries or understood differently across countries, such as la guagua for the bus or the many country specific terms for white person. The term Globish is often used broadly to refer to English that is more accessible to L2, L3, L4 speakers (those who speak English as a second, third, fourth language). Though technically Globish only refers to, as wikipedia puts it, "a subset of the English language formalized in 2004 by Jean-Paul Nerrière. It uses a subset of standard English grammar and a list of 1500 English words." It points to how much of English use around the world is between non-native English speakers. The chart documenting this here (only 4% of English use is between native speakers!) is from this article about Globish.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Nos queremos - vivas

This fabulous slogan, widely used by the feminist movement across Latin America, has a fabulous double meaning of both we want to be - alive and we love ourselves - alive. I haven't figured out a way to convey both of those in English. If I had to choose between the two while interpreting, I would choose the later - but in a translation I might try to squeeze them both in or do a translator's note. This coverage of International Women's Day this year (lots of fabulous photos, worth a look) got me thinking of it. They translated it, with this photo, as just we want to be alive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

plataforma: coalition not platform

plataforma: coalition not platform

In Colombia right now there are a lot of 'plataformas de paz' and I keep seeing this rendered in English as peace platforms. Please stop! That's a super confusing false cognate. In US English at least a platform is what a candidate or a party runs for office on. It is most certainly not a coalition of grassroots groups coming together to work for something, like peace. I highly doubt platform would work in British English either, but if you want it to be understandable in both, avoid it and use coalition instead. 

Asistentes al segundo congreso de la plataforma Lgbti por la Paz en Colombia

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

prison industrial complex: complejo industrial de prisiones

prison industrial complex: complejo industrial de prisiones 

This one does not have great googlage, but I think it works well. Not super tricky, just one I hadn't really thought of before. I ran into it in this article:

Género, cuerpo, racismo y complejo industrial de prisiones: experiencias de personas negras en una cárcel de Bogotá 

por Jei Alanis Bello Ramírez

Thursday, February 11, 2021

hashtivism: hashtivismo

The English wiktionary entry for this says it is a derogatory term, but I have seen it used without any
derogatory intent. Yes, you could call it hashtag activism - but doesn't hashtivism sound cooler?!

Hashtivismo only has 327 hits on google but I like it. Yes, you could say activismo hashtag, but again, doesn't hashtivismo sound cooler?

Is it still hashtivism when it both comes from and then again leaps offline, like #metoo did? Hell yes, hashtivism can be part of a larger campaign.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

proyectos productivos (Col): (usually small-scale) entrepreneurial ventures

I have been endlessly frustrated by seeing this term rendered as the false cognate productive projects. That rendition just won't mean much to English only speakers. I can stand 'income generating projects', which I sometimes see, but I stumbled on this better rendition in the article:

Counter, Max. “‘La Doble Condición ’: Landmine Victims, Forced Displacement, and Disability in Colombia’s Magdalena Medio.” Social & Cultural Geography 19, no. 4 (May 19, 2018): 448–72.

Max rendered it at first as small-scale, and then later adds the usually. In a simultaneous interpreting scenario I would add that qualification the first time and then just use entrepreneurial ventures to be able to keep up, since the term will surely be repeated if it is an event about peacebuilding in Colombia.

I would note that many of these entrepreneurial ventures by former FARC combatants are not small scale at all, but rather large scale coops - making everything from honey to bags to, my favorite, 'la roja' beer (see photo).