Bilingualism: Lost in translation? Or plain laziness?
I was riding the MTA on my way to an appointment. Like most of us on the subway, I was looking up at the advertisements and trying not to look directly into anyone’s eyes. I had forgotten my book and had no iPod to keep me entertained. It was then that I spotted the NYC Dept of Education posters advertising the many “so called” improvements to the system’s education for our youth. I applaud them for their effort to inform the public in both English and Spanish but I have to fail them on their translation. They were inconsistent at best. Although the messages were understood, to this native speaker, who suffered grueling spelling and dictation quizzes as a youth in South America to learn that omitting accent marks, can and does, in some cases, affect the meaning of a sentence, the missing accent marks on the translations, were enough to frustrate me all the way home. If we’re going to speak to the public in their language, shouldn’t we do it effectively and without undermining their education?