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Off topic: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Translators/Interpreters
Thread poster: yolanda Speece
yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 11, 2005

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 deals with National Origin Discrimination.
Does a less than par translation apply to this type of situation? What about getting a person to sign an document in English? Does this just apply to healthcare institutions and state agencies or does it apply to all organizations, private and/or public, and non-profit, not for profit and/or for profit? Does anyone know of any cases regarding this piece of legislation?

Any comments regarding this are welcome and appreciated.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:10
French to English
+ ...
possible resource Jul 11, 2005

This title declares it to be the policy of the United States that discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin
"shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance"

and authorizes and directs the appropriate Federal departments and agencies to take action to carry out this policy. This title is not intended to apply to foreign assistance programs.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/title_vi.htm

this is taken directly from their website

Yolanda, my advice would be to write a separate letter for each incident with all of the precise details (date, place, name of translator, name of assisted person, etc.)

You will receive a response; if they cannot help you, they may refer you to another agency which can.

good luck
Rita


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Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 05:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Translators/Interpreters Jul 11, 2005

Yolanda: Most likely you would have to provide more details of the specific situation. Is this in conection with en employee or a an independent contractor? Is this perhaps a disciplinary case? Is this a translation where somone did not like they way it was done? When it comes to discrimination issues most situations are not black or white, but a shade of each.

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
What do you know? Jul 12, 2005

Just tell me what you know in all varying degrees.

Tell me what you know about court cases.

Tell me what you know about all of it


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xxxMichaelRS
Local time: 14:10
My opinion ... Jul 12, 2005

My opinion is that a less-than-par translation falls under the category of "Less-Than-Par Translation" and not any civil rights act.

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Yes but in the United States, there is such a thing as the Civil RIghts Act of 1964 Jul 12, 2005

A section of it called Title VI deals with National Origin Discrimination. I am curious what the ramifications of this are and what other translators and interpreters know how this applies to our work here in the United States.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Elections Jul 12, 2005

I would suppose the most telling area regarding language and civil rights would be elections. We do know that in many places with large Hispanic populations election materials are provided in Spanish, and obviously there are requirements and guidelines for that. But I am pretty sure that is not absolute. For instance, I believe a certain percentage of the population has to speak a certain language before election materials must be translated. There may be similar requirements in different places affecting public agencies, services and publications in other languages. There may or may not be requirements or rulings affecting private transactions as well.

Of course, while language and national origin can go together, they are not the same thing. For instance, an employer cannot legally discriminate against persons of a certain origin, but he can reject those who do not speak English.

I would suggest some research on the Net; what you have is a very broad subject and I would not think anyone
here could provide any comprehensive answers. On the other hand, anything you could come up with would be very interesting indeed, and I would hope you would share it.


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
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TOPIC STARTER
What about the quality of the translations or interpretations? Jul 12, 2005

Henry, you and I both live in a border region and both of us know that there are people who claim to be bilingual and are not. You have documentation all over the place that is poorly translated but was allegedly translated by someone they paid to do this work....


Could this be perceived as a Civil rights violation? Isn't this a form of fraud?

A poor translation can lead to misunderstandings or delays, can't it?


I guess what I am asking is: What do our ProZians know about Civil rights and the translator/interpreter?


[Edited at 2005-07-12 22:09]


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Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 05:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Civil rights Act Jul 13, 2005

Yolanda: If the case is that you were disciplined as the result of a bad translation, and you disagree with it, you have the right to be shown in which way your work is deficient. Not only that, but you must be given the opportunity for rebuttal.

If the point is that a bad translation will have a deleterious effect on someone, you are right, but it happens all the time. And that includes the Courts. Take for instance where I am. I am not certified as a translator, however, I am the only one they have. I translate brochures, certification tests, applications, instructions and regulations. When I translate a document, it is sent to someone who is certified to review and make corrections. By the time the work comes back, it does not have the right meaning. However the company is happy because their spanish documents have been approved by a certified translator.

I used to be a purist and point out when the document did not reflect accurately on the original, now, I do my job and once I submit the completed assignment, I do not consider it mine. I no longer include my name as the translator.


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Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 05:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Civil Right Act Jul 13, 2005

I guess what I really mean is that if you were not affected by their decision, forget it. Just do the best you can. Especially if you are an in-house translator.

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
I guess what you are all asking for is specifics . Jul 13, 2005

Here goes...

I recently visited an organization that I know for a fact receives federal funding.

The signs on the wall were poorly translated (misspellings, false cognates, missing accents, inaccuracies- you name it!) and so was the documentation they pass out to visitors-some of which require signatures by these visitors.

Since they are receiving federal funding, aren't they obligated to have accurate and appropriate translations for their LEP readers and aren't they supposed to have qualified interpreters available?

Is this a potential or blatant civil rights violation?

I am under the impression that ANY organization receiving federal funding (MEDICARE, MEDICAID, FEDERAL GRANTS, ETC.) is required to present appropriate assistance to LEP visitors. I would think that would include accurate translations and interpretations. By not providing an accurate translation and/or interpretation service, the organization is impeding the LEP citizen's access to certain rights and programs we are all entitled to. These poor translations can lead to misunderstandings and therefore produce delays or denials in the services these persons need.

After reading what I have read on the subject, I would think it would be. I want to know if our fellow PROZIANS know enough about this to comment.

Is there something I am not understanding about this law?

It sounds pretty cut and dry but I want to make sure I am not reading too much into this.

Furthermore, if you are translating and somebody else wants to change your work completely even though it is accurate, shouldn't you be given the opportunity to justify your work? If that is the case, they should just send it to the "certified translator" and leave you out of the loop.


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Luis Zepeda
United States
Local time: 05:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Civil rights Act of 1964 Jul 13, 2005

The Law requires that reasonable accomodations be made. It does not require that everything be correct. Some organizations which fall under the law just give it lip service. In no case does the law require perfect translations. Please refer to my prior answer about the quality of translations where I am a staff translator.

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
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I said accurate, not perfect. Jul 13, 2005

I have seen some that should bring shame to the organization.

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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Catch-22 Jul 14, 2005

yolanda Speece wrote:
I have seen some that should bring shame to the organization.


Sadly, this happens more often than not.

Unfortunately, it seems not much can be done. At least not just by us, translators and interpreters.

Recently I visited a government agency (which shall remain nameless) and was appalled at the low quality of the available posters, signs, and assorted documents in Spanish.

When I mentioned this to one of the officers in charge, he said matter-of-factly, that those who are educated enough to notice, already speak and read English quite well; and those who lack formal education, can't really tell the difference between a well-written text and this (pointing at the nonsense on the wall).

So there you have it: If those who need it most (or their advocates) don't complain, things are likely to remain the same.


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So I take it nobody knows anything about this subject Jul 14, 2005

I wanted to know what you all knew about this Act and how it relates to our profession.

If you all don't know, how does the rest of this country?


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