Back to Index

Multilingualism



     Many WAISers, including Sam Huuntington, Diana Hull, John Wonder, understand that culture and language are the glue which holds a nation together. We have seen in California the waste of translating statements into various languages. A test case has arisen in Doņa Ana County, New Mexico, close to the borders of Texas and Mexico. The main city is Las Cruces; Doņa Ana is a small town just up the river. New Mexico used to be bilingual, but that whole issue is now in the air. A Doņa Ana County court ruled that members of a jury need not know English; interpreters would be provided. A Spanish-speaking peasant described the experience, not realizing that traduttore tradittore. The court judge objected to the ruling, and hoped that the state supreme court would reverse it. He realized, as those of us who have lived in Canada do, that arguments about terms is bad enough without getting into arguments about translations of them. To make things worse, the backers of non-English speaking jurors said the ruling would open the way for jurors who know only one of the local Indian languages. This promised a good market for interpreters, and local politicians seemed in favor. As for the rest of us....

Ronald Hilton - 2/23/00


Webmaster