Category Archives: General

What really happened at G20 Trump’s Conference Interpretation?

From November 30th to December 1st, the 2018 G20 Summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At this summit, leaders agreed upon important documents for the economic, financial and political cooperation of the countries. Despite its paramount political importance, we will focus on a communication issue that concerned many people around the world: the interpretation of the welcome speech for Donald Trump.

When the U. S. President arrived in Argentina, he met Mauricio Macri before the beginning of the summit. Both said some words publicly to the media. The President of Argentina started by welcoming Trump.

Surprisingly, Trump suddenly tossed the earpiece all presidents use to listen to the interpretation in their native language and expressed: “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on this. But that’s okay”.

It is essential to pay attention to his exact words “…than I did on this”. The interpreter, however, rendered her interpretation as “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on the interpretation”.

Maybe this choice of words was made from a humble position and the interpreter ended up putting the blame of the awkward moment on her own. In fact, when interpreting, interpreters need to make decisions very quickly and in this case, it backfired on her. But the truth is that there was a technical issue and the earpiece was not actually working correctly.

Fortunately, the Argentine Association of Conference Interpreters (ADICA) explained that there had been a technical problem with the earpiece. A clear evidence of this can be seen on the US Embassy website, where the transcription of this meeting has been posted (check https://ar.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-president-trump-and-president-macri-of-the-argentine-republic-before-bilateral-meeting/). In this official transcript, readers can clearly notice that the US President said: “on this”.

Of course, we can also start debating about the exact reference: is Trump referring to the earpiece or to the interpretation? Nevertheless, “on this” is already a big difference of what had been previously spread in the media.

Interpreting is a serious profession carried out by professionals who may make mistakes; however, it is essential for international cooperation and for spreading knowledge in business meetings, conferences, negotiations, press conferences, and so on. This is another professional service you can get at Baquero Translations.

By: Andrea Chetti

Endangered Argentine Treasure

One of the most precious and threatened species from Argentina are native languages. Such is their importance, that UNESCO declared Argentina’s linguistic diversity as a part of the national heritage in 2010. However, some of them, not to say most, are going through a process of oblivion.

Before colonization, there were about 20 native groups along the territory of Argentina. Each of them had their own tongue and variants. For example, some of the Mapuche, Tehuelche and Qom communities used to live in the Buenos Aires region; most Guaraníes used to live in the province of Corrientes, in the north-east of Argentina; and Tehuelches were also in Patagonia, the southern region.

Nowadays, approximately 15 native languages are still alive but with different levels of vitality (vulnerable, endangered, extinct). This status can be seen in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Here are some examples of various Argentine native languages and their condition:

According to this map, the tongue wichi, native to Chaco, in the north of Argentina, is vulnerable as many people from young age speak it, but wichi is not used in certain contexts.

Quechua from Santiago del Estero, in the north of the country, is definitely endangered because it is not taught as a mother tongue. Similarly, in Corrientes, Mbya Guarani is severely endangered as only the elderly speak it, their children may understand it, but their grandsons and granddaughters do not learn it. This means an increased use of Spanish at the expense of native tongues.

Finally, one example of an extinct language is gününa-këna in Patagonia. The disappearance of this tongue means a loss of an important piece from Argentine cultural treasure.

Languages are a vital part of identities as customs and traditions are passed through native tongues. Therefore, to prevent languages from becoming vulnerable, endangered —and consequently— extinct, greater awareness of languages’ importance is needed, both at national and international level.

One international entity, the United Nations, is already thinking about this and has decided to dedicate next year to indigenous languages. UN aims to promote different actions for the preservation and growth of indigenous languages around the world.

Here at Baquero Translations, we embrace language diversity and join this movement of raising awareness, starting with this article. It is essential that we all get to know other tongues that existed before Spanish colonization, as each language is part of our history and it occupies —or used to occupy— a place in the diverse Argentine melting pot.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

 

Expanding Accessibility with Audio Description

Audio Description is one of the key components in making audiovisual material inclusive.

For those who are not familiar with AD, it consists in describing the visual content of a form of art. With audio description, the visually impaired can get the essential details like gestures, signs, clothes, change of scenes, etc., which cannot be perceived through voices or music. It functions like closed caption for the hearing impaired.

Nowadays, audio description is available on many TV channels, but the availability of that function has to be previously checked. In the U.S., major TV channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, USA, the Disney Channel, and The History Channel are required by law to provide 50 hours of audio description.

Video description is also used for live performances. Usually, there is a professional audio describer who narrates the important visual details with a microphone, and this description can be heard through headphones provided by the theater. AD can be previously prepared, especially for plays. In Spain, a mobile app has been developed, “Teatro Accesible”, which has the audio description of certain plays ready to be used by the audience.

Several movies have audio description, too. In this case, the description is previously recorded and synchronized. This service does not replace the soundtrack but complements the movie by placing the description in the pauses. Here, in Córdoba, there are movie theaters like the Gran Rex, which offer headphones to hear the audio description of certain movies. AD can be also found on Netflix, YouTube and Argentine web pages, where audio description can be downloaded and applied to already existing movies.

This extremely helpful service can be offered by linguists as video description and translation have a lot in common. For both tasks professional needs to do the following:

  • Research into the subject matter and its context

In order to make a good audio description, the audio describer needs to be informed about the topic of the play, movie or TV program. Apart from reading the script, the audio describer needs to know about the year, place, and social context in which the material was produced so as to make an accurate description and to choose the right words. This involves carrying out a detailed research with reliable resources, which translators are used to.

  •  Have a deep knowledge on linguistics

Language per se is not the only means through which we convey meaning. Intonation, pronunciation, image, sounds, songs and even silences become really important for an effective audio description. It is essential that the audio describer has a thorough knowledge of the interaction of all these elements to exploit them in their favor.

  • Be neutral

As in translation, audio describers need to be faithful to the source material and be as objective as possible. Even though complete objectivity is impossible, the audio describer should aim to be neutral and let the audience make their own interpretations since they can easily become an omniscient narrator letting their subjectivity interfere in the message.

At BT, we participate in an audio description research at the National University of Cordoba, including the School of Communication Sciences and the School of Languages, to set, strengthen, and facilitate AD guidelines. With audio description, we are making materials accessible to people and we are collaborating with a more inclusive world.

By: Andrea Chetti

Celebrating International Translation Day

Finally came the day of the year when we celebrate: International Translation Day! Every September 30th translators beam with pride while receiving greetings from colleagues and close friends.

Officially, it all started with Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin. With this project, he was also the precursor of the translation theory “sense by sense”, as this was the methodology he applied and defended against the advocators of translating word by word. Even though at that time-IV century-, the people who translated were not recognized as professionals, this set an official precedent of our work.

In 1953, the International Translation Federation (FIT) established the day of the death of Saint Jerome as Translators’ day.

Since then, the FIT has promoted the festivity of this day, and, in 1991, it established the official International Translation Day in order to reach out to more people across the world and to clear away the religious connotation this day previously had. Every year, the FIT commemorates it with a particular theme. This year, the theme proposed was: “Translation: promoting cultural heritage in changing times”. The idea behind this topic is to shine a light on the importance of translation in understanding different cultures. Besides, the selected topic is linked to the United Nations’ 2019 theme: “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. The FIT invited all members to celebrate and share the poster in our article from September 24th to 30th.

The UN has also taken part in the commemoration and recognition of translators’ role as last year the resolution 71/288 was issued by the United Nations General Assembly. In this resolution, apart from recognizing the 30th of September as the International Translation Day, they stated: “International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.” From this perspective, translators are regarded as bridges between cultures.

The American Translation Association (ATA) could not miss this celebration and joined the party. They suggested educating the public, which means to clarify certain misunderstandings by sharing images in various kinds of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These images show typical questions made by people who are not so close to the language industry.

Here in Baquero Translations, our staff have also joined the commemoration and wished a fantastic day to all translators. We understand the significance and impact of translation in today’s world; that is why we put so much emphasis on quality. Thus, this Sunday was a special day to thank all the people that work with and accompany us in this quest for excellence.

By: Andrea Chetti