More on Katrina and Translation

The PeopleFinder is making good progress — it’s pretty inspiring to see what a gang of geeks can do when they set their minds to it. As far as I can tell, there’s been no acrimony at all on the mailing list, IRC channel, or Wiki. (Ethan has a good summary here) Pretty amazing. Compare that to the stories about politicians bickering.

I’m voting Geek Party in 2008.

Anyway, some media stories about translation issues and Katrina have started trickling out, so here’s an update:

  • Spanish Translators Volunteering In Gulf
  • ‘Spanish-speaking organizer’ helps comfort evacuees
  • A mention in Worldandnation: By van, by bus, finally leaving New Orleans:

    On the fourth floor, Cuban-born Arturo Montero, 71, had to be talked into leaving.

    “Sir, I’m begging you to come,” Sgt. Kevin Coakley said. “You will die here. If you don’t die from starvation, you will die from disease.”

    Montero stood at the door, sweating and shirtless, and only began to give in when a Spanish-speaking translator began persuading him that Texas might offer a community where he could live.

    “Bien, bien,” he said.

    The English translation of what he said next was, “It’s difficult because when you’re old you have a certain idea about the way things should be, and it’s hard to change. I love these four walls, and if I have to leave, I’m going to feel sad.”

I’ve been unable to find any mention of that story in the Spanish language media, but I’ve only just started looking. I’m also trying to figure out what the Spanish-language demographics of NOLA and the Gulf Coast generally are. More later.

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