I want to applaud the Daily Lobo for its International Issue — what a wonderful glimpse of the diversity that we are!
It was a joy to see Tasawar Shah, one of my linguistically gifted doctoral students, featured along with other international students. By publishing this multilingual issue, the Daily Lobo put itself far ahead of all mainstream newspapers, even those with massive circulations and ahead of most online media as well. Bravo!
I read your International Issue only days after returning, fed up and disgusted, from an international conference focused on comparative and international education held in Mexico City. Over 3,000 educators from around the world attended, yet everything was in English. Nothing was translated or orally interpreted, not even into Spanish, the language of the country where the conference was held.
At the conference, two of my Indigenous Mexican colleagues and I presented on our collaborative work in Oaxaca, Mexico. My colleagues are bilingual in their own original languages and Spanish, but they do not speak English. We produced a visually powerful PowerPoint with text in English so that my colleagues could present in Spanish, uninterrupted by oral interpretation, while non-bilingual members of the audience followed the translated English PowerPoint. This way, I only needed to orally interpret during the Q&A session.
Many attendees said publicly that they were moved to hear my Indigenous colleagues speak their own truth in their own language, supported by Spanish-English translation and interpretation that made our session accessible and meaningful to all. My colleagues would have been silenced if we hadn’t upended the English-only practices of that conference.
Not everyone who is fluently bilingual is a skilled translator, so I commend everyone who assisted the Daily Lobo with accurate translations. Translation requires deep understanding, not only of two languages, but also of the social, cultural, political and spiritual contexts of their speakers.
UNM graduate students who are fluently bilingual, and especially international students, have the opportunity to develop translation skills that are crucially important and potentially lucrative in a globalized world. The Department of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies (LLSS) will offer an introductory Translation Studies course in Fall 2018, taught on Mondays from 4:15-6:45pm (LLSS 593.002, No. 61722). We invite bilingual graduate students to broaden their abilities and to enrich their CVs by developing translation skills!
Lois M. Meyer, LLSS