Many media outlets all over the United States have adopted sections or channels that are in Spanish for the growing Latino population. Especially in areas where there is a large Latino population, Spanish news is an important part of informing the general public.
Even though almost half of the population in Hartford, Connecticut is Latino, the major newspaper outlet there has not fully adopted a Spanish section. However, that’s not to say the Hartford Courant doesn’t have a Spanish section at all. It has a Spanish section, but the problem is that it uses Google translate instead of a professional translator.
Translation Mistake Immediately Apparent to Latinos
For people who are not fluent in Spanish, a Google translate of the newspaper probably looks acceptable. However, for the Spanish-speaking community in Hartford, the section is hard to understand and downright disrespectful due to the use of Google translate. Many Latino people there feel as though they are not being recognized by the community at large, even though they make up such a large part of the culture there.
If the Hartford Courant and its affiliates truly cared about informing the people who cannot speak English, many feel they would at least pay for someone to do an accurate and thoughtful Spanish translation.
Newspaper Added a Disclaimer for the Spanish Section
Instead of taking the steps to hire a translator, the Hartford Courant instead added a disclaimer to the Spanish section of the newspaper declaring the inaccuracy of Google translate. It’s understandable that the newspaper wants to save money, as newspapers all over the country are quickly dying out as the Internet becomes the most reliable source of current information.
However, they will only lose readership faster by completely alienating almost half of their community. Hiring translator services to work on an entire newspaper might be too expensive for the oldest running newspaper in the United States, but even a student studying Spanish at a local college could do the job.
The Hartford Courant is clearly making a mistake by not using a professional translation service or a Spanish-speaking person to prepare the Spanish section for print, but at least we can learn from their mistake.
The Convenience of Translation Services
There are many translation services available with the advent of modern technology, so using a mediocre, computerized service such as Google translate shows that you don’t really care about the non-English speaking community you are reaching out to, and such carelessness could be offensive.