GOOGLE TRANSLATE + The 2020 Democrats' bilingual campaigns
The presidential elections in the United States are already next year, and the Democratic panorama is well populated with possible candidates to unseat one of the most disturbing and divisive presidents in the history of the country.
OF THE 20 CANDIDATES WHO WILL SOON DISCUSS IN SEARCH FOR VISIBILITY AND LEADERSHIP, ONLY 4 DO NOT HAVE A WEB PAGE OF THEIR CAMPAIGN IN SPANISH, WHICH IS OF GREAT INTEREST FOR A COUNTRY WHERE THERE ARE MORE THAN 56 MILLION PEOPLE OF HISPANIC ORIGIN AND 29 MILLION. POSSIBLE VOTERS, AND WHERE MORE THAN 37 MILLION SPEAK SPANISH IN YOUR HOME OR IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
Of the 16 candidates who have pages in Spanish, only some handle a bit of Spanish as a foreign language, in addition to Julián Castro, who is a heritage speaker and culturally identifies with his Mexican-American ancestry.
Last April, Trevor Noah dedicated a few minutes of the Daily Show with Trevor Noah to a segment called The Dems get lost in translation (5: 08-5: 59), where he talked about candidates like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O 'Rourke or Amy Klobuchar (which incidentally, Fox News accused of having made a mistake that actually was not) and their web pages in Spanish. Since then, most errors have been corrected, but only superficially in most cases, because a look at the candidates' websites shows narratives that are not bilingual, but unilaterally translated from English.
Democratic candidates who want to have a real impact with Hispanic voters must get involved with policies and legislative proposals that directly and positively affect their communities. But while they arrive at a position of power to create a real change, and since none manages Spanish at the level of discursive competence, their web pages are the access portal for Spanish-speaking voters to the political message of each candidate.
The Hispanic-American academic world is very divided about what is or should be the Spanish of the United States, and there is little consensus on adequacy, normativity or "what sounds good / bad". The reality of Spanish speech, certainly, is what its speakers make of it, and the Spanish-speaking communities of the United States are bilingual to a great extent, alternating the code and building bridges in a linguistic continuum that neither creates nor destroys one or another language, but it transforms both into daily contact: sometimes translating, sometimes tracing, sometimes borrowing and borrowing, sometimes adapting. The Spanish of the United States is in constant development and growth and is a variety of language that has both linguistic and cultural influences, and not only English, but also all varieties of Spanish that we live here bring to the fore: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Argentina ...
Returning to politics, if the electoral messages do not represent a REAL language, living and in true contact with the Hispanic and Hispanic identity, the political change that is sought will not find the expected response.
It is important that the Democratic candidates court the Hispanx electorate, but they must do so from a Spanish that reflects a true understanding of who will read the bilingual websites.
In the coming weeks I will publish a series of analysis of the bilingual narrative of some of the main candidates for the Democratic nomination. We'll start with Elizabeth Warren and her campaign Will you join our fight in your neighborhood?
Original post available here: Narrativas bilingües en las campañas demócratas