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Eight Years of Global Voices in Spanish

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Spanish Global Voices: The world is talking, are you listening?

This January marks eight years since Global Voices began publishing articles on Global Voices in Spanish. Since then, although many things have changed internally, and sometimes externally as well, the website's goals and essence remain the same: giving underrepresented voices from various online communities around the world a platform, defending the rights of netizens threatened for expressing themselves, and helping reduce the digital divide. 

Moreover, the work of Global Voices in Spanish would not be possible without the invaluable daily contribution of its volunteer translators, many of whom have been volunteering for several years, who bring together their knowledge and enthusiasm so that we can meet our goals. In line with that effort, all of us within the community do our part and as such learn, teach, and even have fun doing something we like and, above all, believe in: working toward an inclusive Internet that is not foreign to the political and social dynamics of the world. 

Below, some of the members of the Global Voices in Spanish volunteer community share various experiences from this year. 

Claudia Mercado from Mexico joined Global Voices in Spanish in August 2014 and has already translated 20 posts. This is what she has experienced so far in the community: 

Me gustaría compartir la emoción que sentí al ver mi primer traducción publicada. Al principio entré al grupo para practicar mis habilidades y técnicas de traducción y poder adquirir experiencia para entrar al campo laboral. Sin embargo con el tiempo me di cuenta que no sólo estaba logrando mi cometido, sino también efectuando un trabajo de gran valía al mantener comunicados e informados a cientos de personas que acceden a la página.

Ver que mis post son retuiteados me llena de emoción pues me doy cuenta de la dimensión que alcanza el proyecto, además encontrar mi nombre y verme ya cómo traductora y participando con una comunidad tan amplia y heterogénea es algo que no pensé lograr este año. Agradezco mucho poder colaborar con todos.

I would like to share how excited I felt when I saw my first translation published. At first I joined the group to practice my translation skills and techniques and to try to get experience in order to enter the workforce. With time, however, I realized that I was not just reaching my goal, but also doing work of great value, helping inform the hundreds of people who access the page. 

Seeing that my posts are re-tweeted fills me with excitement because I realize the dimension that the project reaches. In addition, finding my name and seeing myself as a translator participating in such a wide and diverse community is something that I did not expect to accomplish this year. I am very grateful for being able to collaborate with everyone. 

Romina Navarro from Argentina has been with us since 2012 and has translated just over 100 posts. She tells us: 

Llevo un poco más de dos años traduciendo para Global Voices en Español, una tarea que me apasiona y jamás me aburre porque los temas y contextos de las noticias son extremadamente diversos. Cada artículo que traduzco presenta un pequeño desafío, un problema de traducción, una duda lingüística, una necesidad de investigar algún detalle, y con ello la oportunidad de aprender y crecer un poco más como profesional del idioma. Y en 2014 agregué un nuevo matiz a mi voluntariado y di mis primeros pasos como autora.

Ojalá estos diez años de GV sean sólo un comienzo y que vengan muchos más, y espero con ansias la oportunidad de conocer personalmente a algunas de las personas maravillosas que dan vida a esta rica comunidad y la hacen crecer cada día. ¿Qué mejor forma puede haber de empezar el 2015?

I have been translating for Global Voices in Spanish for a little over two years, a job that fascinates and never bores me because the topics and contexts of the news are extremely diverse. Each article I translate presents a small challenge, a translation problem, a linguistic doubt, a need to research some detail, and with it the opportunity to learn and grow a bit as a professional of the language. In 2014 I also added a new twist to my volunteer work and took my first steps as an author. 

Hopefully these 10 years of GV are just a start and that many more are to come, and I look forward to the opportunity to personally meet some of the wonderful people who give life to this rich community and make it grow each day. What better way can there be to start 2015? 

Axel Haefele from Chile is completing his practicum, or professional internship, with the Global Voices community since the end of November 2014 and comments: 

Llegué a este sitio en busca de una pasantía, pensando más en lo cómodo de traducir desde la casa que en la importancia de un proyecto de esta magnitud. Así empecé a traducir noticias de temas que ignoraba (algunos vergonzosamente) como las elecciones en Japón, los atunes en peligro de extinción y, quizás uno de los que más me interesaron, sobre la guerra de información que lidera un bloguero anónimo de Ucrania con el gobierno ruso.

Lo que primero aprendí de esta experiencia fue a analizar el texto, me explico: en mis estudios me había acostumbrado a traducir textos más técnicos, como instructivos, contratos, etc., pero en Global Voices se trabaja con noticias, por lo que el enfoque al momento de traducir un artículo es uno muy distinto al que me había acostumbrado. De esta manera, creo que he aprendido a adecuarme mejor a cada texto.

I arrived at this site in search of an internship, thinking more about the comfort of translating from home than the importance of a project of this magnitude. So I started translating news stories on topics that I ignored (some embarrassingly) such as the elections in Japan, the tuna in danger of extinction, and perhaps one that was most interesting to me, about the information war that an anonymous blogger from Ukraine led against the Russian government. 

What I first learned from this experience was to analyze the text. Let me explain: in my studies, I had become used to translating more technical texts, like instructions, contracts, etc., but in Global Voices we work with news, so the focus when translating an article is very different from the one I had been accustomed to. Therefore, I think I have learned to adapt myself better to each text. 

Cecilia Cárdenas from Argentina has been with us for less than a year, but she has translated an incredible number of posts — 348, more than one per day! She tells us about what she learned: 

Hasta este año los gentilicios para mí eran una pregunta típica de crucigrama pero como ustedes saben en GV son algo cotidiano, así que más de una vez tuve que chequear antes de traducir, con algunos me llevé sorpresas, descubrí por ejemplo que malayo es un idioma y una etnia pero los aviones que se caen últimamente son malasios. Indio, es un natural de la India e hindú un devoto al hinduismo. Bangladesí es el natural de Bangladesh y bengalí es el idioma que ellos hablan, pero bengalí también puede ser gentilicio, referido a la región de Bengala. Israelí, es el gentilicio e israelita tiene más que ver con la religión o el origen hebreo. Gazatí todavía no figura en la lista de gentilicios reconocidos x la RAE pero se aplica a los nativos de la ciudad de Gaza y a los de la Franja.

A veces la duda estaba en cómo deletrearlos, por ejemplo algunos colegas usan pakistaní, que es correcto pero también se escribe paquistaní. Los kirguizos también pueden ser kirguíes, como los nacidos en Trinidad y Tobago pueden ser trinitenses o trinitarios, y alguna vez leí trinitobaguenses también. Como se imaginarán esto es sólo una muestra. Si quieren verificar sus conocimientos en la materia o aprender gentilicios por mero placer pueden consultar esta lista.

Up until this year, places of origin for me were a typical crossword puzzle question, but as you know in GV they are an everyday thing, so I had to check this several times before translating and sometimes I was surprised. For example, I discovered that Malay is a language and ethnicity, but the airplanes that recently crashed were Malaysian. An Indian is someone native to India and Hindu is a devotee to Hinduism. Bangladeshi is the person from Bangladesh and Bengali is the language that they speak, but Bengali can also be a place of origin, referring to the region of Bengal. Israeli is the place of origin and Israelite has more to do with religion or the Hebrew origin. Gazan is still not on the Royal Spanish Academy's list of recognized places of origin, but applies to natives of the city of Gaza and those from the Gaza Strip.

Sometimes the question was how to spell them, for example some colleagues spelled Pakistani with a “k” [in Spanish], which is correct but it can also be written with a “qu”. The Kyrgyz could be “kirguizos” but also “kirguíes”, as those born in Trinidad and Tobago could be Trinidadians or Trinitarians, and once I even read “Trinitobagans” too. As you can imagine, this is just an example. If you want to test your knowledge on the subject or learn places of origin for mere pleasure, you can refer to this list [in Spanish].

Carolina Pirola from Spain has been with us since 2012 and currently assists in evaluating and reviewing the interns’ translations. She says: 

Ha sido una experiencia muy enriquecedora. Aportar mi granito de arena a esta comunidad resulta muy gratificante, puesto que la conforman personas entregadas a la causa, que no buscan más que difundir informaciones que normalmente no tienen cabida en los medios tradicionales internacionales. Global Voices hace un servicio muy valioso para la sociedad en este aspecto, y poder contribuir de alguna manera a que estas voces e historias lleguen a más gente es algo que valoro mucho. Además, en este caso he podido echar una mano a un estudiante que recién empieza en el mundo de la traducción. Esto es algo que considero importante puesto que muchas veces en las escuelas se centran mucho en la teoría y no tanto en la práctica, por lo que esta experiencia es para ellos fundamental para el futuro. Por ejemplo, hay matices de una lengua que no siempre se captan en la versión traducida o que puede tener dos acepciones, por lo que poder ofrecer una segunda opinión desde la experiencia puede ser enriquecedor para el proceso de aprendizaje del pasante.

It has been a very enriching experience. Adding my two cents to this community has been very rewarding, since it is made up of people dedicated to the cause who do not look for anything more than to spread information that normally does not make it to traditional international media outlets. Global Voices provides a very valuable service for society in this regard and being able to contribute in some way so that these voices and stories reach more people is something I value a lot. Additionally, in this case I have been able to lend a hand to a student that was recently starting out in the translation world. This is something I consider important since many times schools focus on theory and not so much on practice, making this experience fundamental to their future. For example, there are nuances of a language that are not always captured in the translated version or there's the possibility of having two meanings, so being able to offer a second opinion from experience can be enriching for an intern's learning process.

And so, we hope that this year, as well as in those to come, the community continues to grow so that we can bring more stories to our readers sooner and in more languages. 

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

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