September 14th, 2006
I’m just back from Spain after a couple weeks vacation. In Barcelona, I was surprised to see the growing number of Latino immigrants; it seems that each time I visit the presence of Latinos in the streets is larger than before. Unlike in our own country, Latino immigration is not the scapegoat of choice for the Spanish government. Indeed, it goes unmentioned when the topic of “the immigration problem” is raised. The immigrants Spain is concerned about reach its shores in makeshift rafts, dying of thirst and exhaustion. In an interesting twist, Latinos are considered a more “desireable” immigrant group in Spain.
El Instituto Cervantes, the public entity that represents and foments the use of the Spanish language in the world, announced this week that the influx of Latino immigrants to Spain is not only enriching the language, but making it more “courteous”.
August 4th, 2006
Shakira, recently nominated for 7 MTV Music Awards, has moved the U.S. Latino community by dedicating the honors to Latinos in this country:
Shakira dedicated her seven MTV Video Music Awards nominations to the Latino community in the United States.
“I too am one of them,” the 29-year-old singer said Thursday as part of her “Oral Fixation” world tour.
That’s sweet of Shaki, and I guess she means it in the “you are part of me” figurative sort of way, since she’s not from the U.S. I hope she hasn’t forgotten where she came from.
Speaking of which, if I were a fan excited about Shakira’s U.S. tour I’d be disappointed to hear that…
Shakira has been singing mostly in Spanish while touring Latin America but will switch largely to English when the U.S. leg of the tour opens Aug. 9 in El Paso, Texas.
No thanks. I miss classic pre-English Shakira.
Via / Yahoo! Entertainment
June 13th, 2006
Does your mouth water at the idea of a succulent Philly Cheesesteak sandwich? Maybe you’ve been to Philadelphia’s famed eatery Geno’s and had one there. Next time you go, keep in mind that your English better be up to par if you want to order yourself one of these puppies:
A sign in a landmark Philadelphia restaurant asking customers to order in English is sparking controversy in the metropolis known as the “City of Brotherly Love.”
The owner of Geno’s Steaks said on Thursday that the sign, “This is America — when ordering speak English,” is intended to encourage immigrants to learn the language and assimilate into U.S. society, but one Latino activist said it’s racist.
First of all, I’ve never seen a Spanish speaker expect a non-Spanish speaker to understand what he’s saying — I see them struggling with the little English they know. That said, is this sign a reaction to the fact that Spanish-speaking customers are communicating with Spanish-speaking employees in their native language? Sorry, but you can’t restrict that.
May 4th, 2006
Recent controversy around the translation of the National Anthem into Spanish has spurred some experts in Texas to look to history to tell us about the Anthem’s past. Turns out it had already been translated into Spanish (and other languages) nearly 100 years ago, and that version caused no public outcry. Indeed, it was actually commissioned by the U.S. government:
President Bush has spoken out against the translated version of the national anthem, saying it should be sung in English only. If so, that’s actually a break with American tradition, says Walter Kamphoefner, a history professor at Texas A&M University.
The Library of Congress archives dozens of versions of the anthem, including a couple in German and a Spanish translation commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education in 1912.
Perhaps naysayers should have protested the fact that it was recorded by Reggaeton performers instead. Actually, that argument wouldn’t hold water since the anthem is regularly performed at public events in variety of genres.
April 28th, 2006
Dear VL readers, some of you may be experiencing inability to view the site today due to the fact that the overwhelming traffic to the “Nuestro Himno” piece we posted last week. VL has never seen this type of traffic and it’s been too much for our host — we’ve been crashing on and off all day.
This issue seems to be striking a chord with immigrant rights supporters and the opposition alike. Pretty amazing that something that amounts to a translation of a song is stirring up this much controversy. The Bible, considered by many as a “sacred” document has been translated into thousands of languages but I don’t see that as such a cause for concern. What’s going on?
April 24th, 2006
Latino performers have banded together in solidarity with immigrants to record a new version of the national anthem. I’m sure this is likely to piss off quite a few conservatives, but the message is clear: the flag, the anthem and other symbols of patriotism belong to all of us, no matter where we came from:
The Latino-oriented record label Urban Box Office (UBO) said Friday it will put the new Spanish-English version of the U.S. national anthem on the market Monday to coincide with the U.S. Senate’s restarting debate on immigration legislation.
“We decided to re-record ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to show our solidarity with the undocumented migrants,” said UBO President Adam Kidron. “Today we are Americans and ‘The-Star Spangled Banner’ represents everything to us.”
The recording features performances by Gloria Trevi, Don Omar and Ivy Queen.
Via / SiLive.com
Update Friday, 28 March: VL Editors available for comment on “Nuestro Himno” controversy
March 23rd, 2006
Proof that translation is thorny terrain. We reference a lot of stories from QuePasa.com here on VL but the headline of this one really stood out to me for obvious reasons:
Santana makes thousands of Peruvians vibrate in concert
Lima, Peru, March 22, 2006 (Notimex).- Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana made thousands of Peruvians vibrate in a concert last Tuesday at the Monumental Stadium, east of Lima, the Peruvian media said today.
Is that a good or a bad thing? And is it legal to do that in public?
Via / Que Pasa
February 23rd, 2006
Why is that television believes children can get down with Spanish while adults cannot? For whatever reason, prime time TV (with rare exceptions like Freddie Prinze‘s “Freddie”) doesn’t want to bother with bilingualism, even though Latinos are a perfect demographic: 600 billion in buying power, median age of 26, average household size of 4 members, yadayadayada…
There’s a huge rise in the use of Spanish and bilingual dialogues in mainstream children’s television programming. We’ve posted before about Dora La Exploradora, but she’s not alone.
February 9th, 2006
Last week Mala reported on Shakira’s claim that her crossover into the English language market had nothing to do with money. It seems that not all the money in the world, his label’s pressure or potential for fame in Europe will make Juanes do it:
The artist is doing so while performing in his native language. Juanes — whose full name is Juan Esteban Aristizabal — speaks English fluently, but is not interested in it for singing.
“I’m still thinking in Espanol, I still dream in Espanol, and I write my music in Espanol,” he says. “I don’t see why I need to change.”
January 19th, 2006
The UK’s Telegraph has a fascinating piece on how Spanish-language musical artists have triumphed with tunes in español in virtually every country — except England. The perfect example is Colombian superstar Juanes, all but unknown in the UK:
People magazine called him a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Bono. Time magazine nominated him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world today. So why haven’t we heard of him in this country?