Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8] >
Discontinue the use of 'powwow'.
Thread poster: scooke

scooke
Canada
Local time: 06:21
Kazakh to English
Aug 30, 2014

I was about to sign up for a Pro account and then saw this terminology. Disgusting. Based on ignorance.

Another term must be used. The English word in question, 'powwow', does refer to events which are hosted by First Nations peoples in what is now called North America... but it is not a 'general' term now meaning any kind of meeting. I never come across this term except for actual pow wows, and insane cases like this, on this site.

Also, the people in what is now called North America are not all variations or tribes of one ethnicity called "Native Americans". Just like myself landing in London and asking someone, "Hi, how do I ask for directions in European?". They will tell me, "Well, you are in England, so use English and say ...". Or if I land in Germany, or Italy, or Spain, do I get off the plane and ask, "How do I say, thank you, in European?". They will say, 'You are in Germany/Italy/Spain, so in German/Italian/Spanish you say...". Or if I land in Nigeria, do I get off the plane and ask, "How do I say, hi, in African?". I will be told, 'You are in Nigera, so you can use English, or Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde, and Kanuri, and you can say..."

The ignorance, and/or disrespect, behind the use of 'powwow' and its justification simply has no place in a site supposedly for translators. Especially since we are supposed to be knowledgeable and sensitive to not just words, but the cultures behind the words.

Please, remove it. Change it to the usual English term, 'Meetings' or some other actual English term. If pros.com as an organization refuses to do so, then we the users of these forums can start the change.

I also hope this is the first step for many in learning about the First Nations in what is now called North America.
Much thanks, meegwetch,
Shane


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree Aug 30, 2014

I agree.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sindy Cremer

Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I agree Aug 30, 2014

I agree

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:21
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 30, 2014

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powwow

I guess you've never heard an English speaker use the word "rendezvous" either, have you?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:21
Member (2012)
German to English
don't understand the outrage Aug 30, 2014

I see no correlation between the use of "powwow" and someone asking "how do I say thank you in European". Even if I did, I don't see how the latter would be disrespectful of anyone. It would at worst be a misunderstanding of culture.

There are tons of examples of word-borrowing at the culture intersection that I happen to know (German and American). Germans often simply get it wrong when they try to use English (handy for cell phone, beamer for projector). But if anything, the term preferences indicate admiration for the culture in question, not the opposite.

[Edited at 2014-08-30 18:56 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Off-putting Aug 30, 2014

scooke has explained why some may find it offensive. I find it somewhat off-putting and indeed, it puts me off attending ! Something different might attract me, such as "social gathering" "get-together" "exchange meeting" etc.

Any better suggestions for alternative names?

[Edited at 2014-08-30 19:10 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Oksana Gerasymets  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
Member (2012)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Powwow Aug 30, 2014

I see no correlation between the use of "powwow" and someone asking "how do I say thank you in European". Even if I did, I don't see how the latter would be disrespectful of anyone. It would at worst be a misunderstanding of culture.


I am not getting it either.


http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/powwow

1 North American Indian ceremony involving feasting and dancing.

2 conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:21
Member (2012)
German to English
explained?? Aug 30, 2014

I see some attempt at explanation, but I am not following it.

As has been indicated, the assertion that the term in question "is not a 'general' term now meaning any kind of meeting" is simply not true, no matter how much anyone might wish it were (and I am still puzzled as to the motivations behind such a wish).

I also wanted to point out that, as scooke pointed out, we should all be knowledgeable of words, and therefore it should be obvious that "powwow" is no more a good approximation of "meeting" than "rendezvous" is. Each of these three words has been assimilated into mainstream English, none has a meaning that reflects poorly on the culture from which it comes, and each has a very different connotation.

Would calling these meetings "huddles" have been derogatory to American football players?

If it must be changed (and the case for such a necessity really needs clearer exposition), then "jamboree" would capture the current connotation as well as any alternative I can think of.

[Edited at 2014-08-30 19:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-08-30 19:50 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
French to English
+ ...
I don't know but... Aug 30, 2014

Eric Zink wrote:

Would calling these meetings "huddles" have been derogatory to American football players?

it wouldn't appeal to me - I recently learnt of this term being used in the UK for a sort of café where people can drop in or meet up and chat, and there are activities available for young children: I just think it is a slightly odd use for the term, as I think usually "huddle" doesn't have a very positive sense.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

David Lin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
Member (2013)
English to Chinese
+ ...

MODERATOR
agreed Aug 30, 2014

scooke wrote:

.....
.....

The ignorance, and/or disrespect, behind the use of 'powwow' and its justification simply has no place in a site supposedly for translators. Especially since we are supposed to be knowledgeable and sensitive to not just words, but the cultures behind the words.

Please, remove it. Change it to the usual English term, 'Meetings' or some other actual English term. If pros.com as an organization refuses to do so, then we the users of these forums can start the change.

I also hope this is the first step for many in learning about the First Nations in what is now called North America.
Much thanks, meegwetch,
Shane


I agree. As an international translators workplace, terms used should be more universal rather than dwell on a particular context.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:21
Italian to English
Why not be consistent? Aug 30, 2014

"Powwow" has always seemed an oddly North America-specific term to use for Proz meetings, particularly since all the other gatherings are regional/international/virtual etc "conferences".

Why not call them "local conferences"?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Luis Arri Cibils  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:21
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A possible explanation why some may consider that word offensive Aug 30, 2014

I have often heard in the US the word “powwow”, both as a noun and as a verb, well before ProZ was established: “Let´s have a powwow tomorrow to discuss that” or “Let´s powwow tomorrow about that”. That word is not a ProZ invention at all.

In an old Webster Dictionary I still have, I found that meaning (characterized as an American colloquialism) as well as the original Native North American meanings, one of them: “a ceremony to conjure the cure of disease, success in war, etc., marked by feasting, dancing, etc.” I thought that might explain why some may consider the colloquial use offensive: Compare that ceremony with ProZ powwows!

I tried to check whether that might be the reason and found in the Web this article:

Things NOT to Say to American Indian Coworkers

http://www.diversityinc.com/things-not-to-say/things-never-to-say-to-american-indian-coworkers/
Among the things not to say, the article includes the following:

“Pow-wow”
Waters describes a pow-wow as a social gathering for ceremonial purposes, and many tribes still hold them on a regular basis. Using this out of context to refer to a meeting or a quick get-together with an American Indian coworker trivializes this tradition and could be taken as offensive.

I leave to those of you who are American English native speakers to decide whether that comment is valid or PC in excess.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Powwow Aug 30, 2014

For me, powwow has the advantage of being easily understood by everyone, regardless of their language.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:21
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Interesting..."disgusting" is a bit far Aug 30, 2014

Hi scooke. I recommend you still sign up.

Proz.com is a place where people will find this sort of debate interesting and want to hear you out.

Here you will find many key players in the evolving landscape of language. Becoming a full member will give you the opportunity to get to know them better.

I think for many British English speakers "powwow" just sounds extremely casual and intimate for what is essentially a work-related meetup.

I suspect many would be surprised to hear the use of that word being called "disgusting" and "ignorant".

But "ignorant" it is, in my case anyway, as I had no idea it was controversial. Now that someone else has explained the underlying issue, I can see why it could be.

"Disgusting" is a bit of a stretch though. Especially in a language which happily uses the word "blitz" as a metaphor for sudden increased work on a specified target area.

Go along to one of these meetups though, you will see why it's called a "powwow" and not a "meeting".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
‘Get-together’ sounds much better! Aug 31, 2014

I second Tom's suggestion of changing it to ‘get-together’, which is what I called the one I organised in Brighton (UK) a while back.

I have always hated the use of this word here on the site. Not so much because I find it insulting as merely stupid sounding. I remember being embarrassed to mention to my friends here in the UK that I was ‘organising a powow’. It's bad enough having to explain the name ‘Proz’ to them

The word is actually used here and there in the UK. See e.g.: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19887318 ... but that's still no reason we need to use it too.

Michael

[Edited at 2014-08-31 13:42 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Lucia Leszinsky[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Discontinue the use of 'powwow'.

Advanced search






Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search