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See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

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Blogger of the Week: Laura Vidal

Project Lingua, in addition to bringing valuable information from Global Voices Online in more than a dozen languages, has also attracted talented translators from around the world. As the community grows closer together, the potential for increased crossover continues to build. One of the Lingua translators from Global Voices in Spanish, Laura Vidal, enjoyed her experience so much, that she wanted to become more involved and try her hand at writing about blogs in her native country of Venezuela. Her recent work has helped showcase much of what Venezuelan bloggers have to offer, and many of her subject matter goes beyond the polarized politics that usually comes to mind.

Laura started translating in June of 2007 after learning about the project from fellow Global Voices author Luis Carlos Díaz. From there, she was hooked and it fit in nicely since she was studying languages at the university.

The experience was beautiful. There was a time when I interrupted my work in order to translate for Lingua :) I enjoyed taking posts from apparentely faraway countries and making them accessible for those that read in Spanish. While I translated, I learned..and that was the best of all.

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As she became more involved with Lingua and more familiar with the Global Voices Online community, she thought it would be interesting to write summary posts of Venezuelan blogs. She is a big fan of the mission behind GVO and thinks that has a powerful and long lasting effect.

From a cultural point of view, I think (GVO) represents a way to exchange and encounter others from the point of view of the people. It is a way to express an interest in the defense of human rights, of showing life in communities and in countries, of collaborating with tolerance, vision, and sensitivity of others. When I write for Global Voices, I feel like I contribute so that the culture of my country is known, the way people see things from the point of view of bloggers, and through their perceptions they give a vision distinct from what one normally seen.

Writing about Venezuela bloggers is not the easiest task in the world. Much of what is seen in the mainstream media revolves around the country's well-known president, Hugo Chávez. As a result, much of what Venezuelan bloggers write about has to do with this topic.

I discussed this with Luis Carlos and we arrived at the conclusion that politics and polarization dominates our daily life so much, that the people blog to be able to breathe. Nevertheless, political topics are present and the polarization is felt in the Venezuelan blogosphere. When I post for GV, I look for the greatest variety of opinions, but I always seem to always find many blogs that are contrary to the government, while those that support the government seem to copy and paste the news from digital newspapers. On the other hand, some blogs are written too passionately to quote them in a post, which tries to give a view from the center. In all of the cases, one scrutinizes and looks, but it is difficult.

Many of Laura's articles for Global Voices is proof that Venezuela is much more than Chávez and polarized politics. She has written about famous authors and musicians, as well as education issues. It is no surprise that she writes about these issues, as Laura has a deep-rooted passion for literature and the arts. She graduated with a degree in Modern Languages, specifically in English and French, which has helped with the discovery of literature from other countries. Her personal blog is called Sacando La Lengua [es] (Sticking Out the Tongue) and originally started as way to point out errors of incorrect language around the city, but not in a way to scold others or make others feel bad. In general, her blog became a place “to laugh at the curiosities of language.”

The blog also opened the door for other opportunities to write. She was given the opportunity to write a weekly column called “Blogopodium,” at the weekly magazine Tal Cual [es], largely because of the magazine's editors liked what they saw in her blog. The topics are open, but hthey mainly deal with blogs and culture. However, Laura says finding topics ona weekly basis is much harder than it looks, but it is well worth it.

It is fun because my friends and my parents call me after reading my column and make recommenations. The name of the column was recommended to me by my father because at that time we were watching the Roma series and it was humorous to see the podium where they gave the news..and as I was going to announce what the blogs say about culture, then “Blogopodium” came. It is good publicity for well-written blogs and I like it because I can highlight topics about literature, art, activism, community and of other cultures, especially of what is not published in the newspapers.

9 comments

  • I’ve especially enjoyed Laura’s posts on Global Voices over the past few months. It is so hard to find information about Venezuela in English that isn’t either about villainizing or defending Hugo Chavez and his various supporters and detractors.

    Laura’s posts show Venezuela as a country and culture, not just a litmus test of ideology. I always look forward to every one of her posts.

  • It is interesting that you are able to balance the political polarisation of Ven with arts, lit, etc. I struggle with that for my country Malawi where politics seems to be the only thing to write about or indeed driving other posts. That is great. Keep it up

  • Kudos for you, Laura! I’ll start following your posts in Spanish. I’m thrilled to read about what you’ve accomplished in so little time – and I envy you as I hope to do the same thing for my new adoptive country “Italy”, where I’ve been living for 9 years now. I’m going to start working on my site http://www.luciemariedorion.com where I’ve got a “blog” section which I’ve only activated a week ago. Now I know what I really want to do with it!

    I’m new to Global Voices/Lingua as I’ve just finished tranlating my first post from English into French (I’m from Montreal, Quebec, Canada): “Global: The price of food, the cost of despair by John Liebhardt”, and am now in the process of making sure it’s ok to be uploaded. So are paths will certainly cross each other on the “digital highway”.

  • Felicitaciones Laurilla, tienes mucho por delante aún…

  • Thanks very much to all! This is so exciting and flattering…

  • You’re so right that Venezuela is about much more than Chavez and that political polarization is a big problem that can limit constructive debate. Everyone should check out this blog, VenWorld, for daily news updates on culture in Venezuela that gets beyond politics and the usual biased stuff in the major media. Keep on writing!

  • Gorgeous

  • […] урок английского языка дает Laura Vidal, переводчик-блоггер Global Voices Online и участница проекта […]

  • Me saco el sombrero para Ud. Laurita. No se olviden de leer la traducción que ya viene en camino.

    Tip of the hat. Don’t forget to read the Spanish translatio, in days to come.

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