Version 2 (modified by Enrique Rosas, 10 years ago) (diff)


(first version proposed by Roberto Tijerina)

Greetings members and friends –

In the December 2011 Lowdown, Ross Glover wrote about the recent unification of MF/PL with its sister organization in Mexico, LaNeta. You may have noticed that Ross’s eloquent detailing as to the reasons for the union, sharing of some organizational history, and outlining some of the opportunities and challenges presented by this fusion were transmitted in both Spanish and English – as was the entire Lowdown issue. Yes, May First/People Link has entered a new era both in its operations and communications.

Chief among the challenges of merging two long-standing, political organizations based in different countries is dismantling the language barrier. On the most basic level, this requires the translation of all communications, along with people available and willing to do the translating. May First/People Link is making a call to its membership and supporters for volunteer translators willing to donate time to make MF/PL a truly multilingual organization. Details on how to volunteer can be found toward the end of this article, but first:

While translating written material to make it accessible to English and Spanish reading members is integral to moving forward, it is only the first and most basic step. MF/PL staff, along with members that have long-time experience working around linguistic access, are taking the opportunity presented by this incorporation to rethink how the organization builds its multilingual capacity – in its printed materials, electronic communications, interface, and live spaces.

The big questions are: How do we create a new organization that treats both languages equally, guaranteeing that the voices of the entire membership are heard? How do we make sure that the translation and messaging are not overwhelmingly uni-directional? How do we make sure that all entry points into the organizations are linguistically-accessible?

Developing creative and efficient ways to tackle these questions requires an analysis of both language as a tool of power and the history of how language has been used in the context of colonialism and imperialism to breakdown and isolate occupied peoples. It also requires addressing the multiple ways that language can perpetuate differences in gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, age, and ability.

Just as importantly, it requires the involvement and support of the membership. May First/People Link is extending two invitations. Politically, you are invited to share your thoughts on how to move forward and make MF/PL a linguistically non-imperialist and democratic organization. Logistically, you are invited to volunteer to be part of our translator team and donate a few hours a month to translating member communications.

We are currently working on creating the translation pipeline and will communicate with members once it has been designed and constructed. Simply put, it will be a ticket system similar to the once used by tech support. It will work something like this:

1) Folks sign up to be added to the translator database. 2) When something needs to be translated, an email will go out to the translators in the database. 3) Folks can choose an article to be translated and open a ticket. 4) When the translation is complete, translator submits to the system and advises that the translation is complete.

We are still working out a proofing process and how to negotiate the variations in Spanish vocabulary.

If you would be interested in being part of the translation team, hollaback. You can send an email to :xxx You’ll get a link that will allow you to sign up in the database.

This new work is exciting in its challenges and opportunities, and the language access team is looking forward to taking it on. We also recognize that there are other languages besides Spanish represented in MF/PL’s membership as well as the limitations in capacity to adequately address them. Full linguistic access is a never-ending conversation, and one that we plan to continue to engage in.