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2 researchok  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 1:14:48pm

It seems to me unless full translation services (aural and written) are officially mandated, Mrs. Cabrera might be limited in her effectiveness on behalf of her constituents.

It isn’t as if this is new territory.

Canada is officially bilingual, Switzerland is officially tri lingual and so on. Elected representatives in those countries have access to fully translated, official documents, can address their respective legislatures in their native tongue, knowing their words will be simultaneously translated and documents and legislation also can and is translated regularly.

Certainly, the mechanics exist. What is at question is the will- and that is as much financial as it is political.

For example, California spends a small fortune on translation of government services into dozens of languages. Is this the way to go? If a particularly ethnic district elects a represents a local representative, should we offer up translation and legal services to a relatively minor population? Probably not.

That said, Spanish is second to English as first language in the US with large Spanish speaking populations in every state. I see no issue with recognizing and dealing with that reality at the State level.

3 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 1:22:42pm

re: #2 researchok

Certainly, the mechanics exist. What is at question is the will- and that is as much financial as it is political.

The will is lacking. It’s Arizona. San Luis provides translation for the office holders who only speak English because they recognize that their constituents are more comfortable with Spanish, but they won’t provide translation for Spanish speakers because state law says they don’t have to. The law requires English proficiency for office holders, but does not define it, and enforcement is by political whim. This woman was disqualified by a test that no one else had to take.

4 researchok  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 1:28:31pm

re: #3 wrenchwench

The will is lacking. It’s Arizona. San Luis provides translation for the office holders who only speak English because they recognize that their constituents are more comfortable with Spanish, but they won’t provide translation for Spanish speakers because state law says they don’t have to. The law requires English proficiency for office holders, but does not define it, and enforcement is by political whim. This woman was disqualified by a test that no one else had to take.

She was fairly elected by local constituents.

She ought to head to court. It isn’t as if she was asking for assistance because she is Tibetan. Spanish as a second language is pretty universal in the US- and certainly in Arizona.

It doesn’t mean Spanish ought to be made an ‘official’ language- that is a whole other thing- but certainly facilities to assist in effective legislating isn’t too onerous a burden. It isn’t as if there is a shortage of bilingual ctizens in Arizona.

5 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 2:33:12pm

re: #4 researchok

She was fairly elected by local constituents.

She was stricken from the ballot before anyone had the opportunity to vote for her.

I wonder why Arizona got this:

‘This is the law,’ Mr. Gimbut said, arguing that the 1910 act granting Arizona statehood required officeholders to perform their duties in English without the aid of a translator. ‘It’s been on the books since statehood.’

and New Mexico came into the union six weeks earlier with a constitution mandating bilingualism.

6 researchok  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 2:37:20pm

re: #5 wrenchwench

She was stricken from the ballot before anyone had the opportunity to vote for her.

I wonder why Arizona got this:

and New Mexico came into the union six weeks earlier with a constitution mandating bilingualism.

Apologies- I read that incorrectly. Mea culpa.

I should have said she was selected by her constituents to represent them.

Does the NM state legislature facilitate bilingual representation?

7 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 2:38:30pm

re: #6 researchok

Apologies- I read that incorrectly. Mea culpa.

I should have said she selected by her constituents to represent them.

Does the NM state legislature facilitate bilingual representation?

Honestly I don’t know what they do now in NM. I think the constitutional provision had a sunset clause.

8 FreedomMoon  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 4:34:36pm

This really caught my attention because I lived in Central America a few years where I did learn Spanish. I have a mixed opinion. It’s clear this is not an ‘accent’ issue, her comprehension/speaking is extremely poor. Click here to hear her

In the video she is on the stand with her lawyer. The first question is “Where did you go to high school?” She responds “1986.” Her lawyer responds with more emphasis, “Where at?” She responds “1983.” Followed by, “I asked you where did you go to high school?” She responds “Yes, after high school I went to college.” The judge then asks her to step down. She really gets hung up on the word “where” mistaking it for “when.”

So with that said it’s unfair to sake of the argument to say this is an accent issue. On the other hand, the town is 95+% Spanish speaking, English could be considered superfluous. So I leave it to the city council to make the call. If they conduct all their city business in English then it might be an issue. If Spanish, there is absolutely no reason she should be required to pass any kind of proficiency testing.

9 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 4:46:10pm

re: #8 tacuba14

This really caught my attention because I lived in Central America a few years where I did learn Spanish. I have a mixed opinion. It’s clear this is not an ‘accent’ issue, her comprehension/speaking is extremely poor. Click here to hear her

In the video she is on the stand with her lawyer. The first question is “Where did you go to high school?” She responds “1986.” Her lawyer responds with more emphasis, “Where at?” She responds “1983.” Followed by, “I asked you where did you go to high school?” She responds “Yes, after high school I went to college.” The judge then asks her to step down. She really gets hung up on the word “where” mistaking it for “when.”

So with that said it’s unfair to sake of the argument to say this is an accent issue. On the other hand, the town is 95+% Spanish speaking, English could be considered superfluous. So I leave it to the city council to make the call. If they conduct all their city business in English then it might be an issue. If Spanish, there is absolutely no reason she should be required to pass any kind of proficiency testing.

Her English isn’t great, but neither is that of the mayor and current council members.

So I leave it to the city council to make the call.

Those are the people she would oppose in an election. They should not be allowed to decide who can run against them.

The judge who ordered her to be examined by an ‘expert’ said he made up his mind in 30 seconds. Mrs. Cabrera said she was nervous, and also:

She went to a hearing specialist in an effort to show that auditory problems were also an issue.

That’s from the first article. Should hearing impaired people not be allowed to run or serve?

State law says government business has to be conducted in English, and office holders need to be able to participate without a translator. That law should be changed. But it’s Arizona, so I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m guessing they need to provide interpreters for the hearing impaired, which would mean it’s discriminatory not to provide them for everyone who needs them.

10 FreedomMoon  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 5:17:42pm

re: #9 wrenchwench

I read that and to be honest it sounds like a lawyer tactic. The key words are “in an effort to show that.” The reason I take this stance is because I’ve been in that transitory stage of learning a language; you’re learning a language and your comprehension of native speaking lags far behind your ability to speak. I.e. people talk to you and you don’t understand what they’re saying and therefore can’t get give proper answers. Once you break that barrier (which is very difficult) and you gain an “ear” for the language so to speak then you’re home free, you just need to build upon that foundation expanding your vocabulary and knowledge of idioms/expression (which is very important).

I’ve kinda narrowed down my analysis on the basis of her lack of language ability. I realize there are other issues of politics, I cede there. But I don’t think her English is just “not that great”, rather I side with the professor/linguist expert (who is Australian I know) appears to be basic survival.

I run the risk of sounding like a hard-core nativist (which couldn’t be farther from the truth), but from my years and years of experience of being in her shoes, it’s clear her English is very poor. Now, whether or not that should bar her from the city council I’ll acquiesce that I don’t feel qualified to pass a judgement. It’s clear politics is a huge motivating factor behind getting her ousted.

11 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 5:24:48pm

You are ceding and acquiescing in all the right places, except that the test given by the ‘expert’ should mean nothing unless everybody who holds office or wants to run in Arizona has to take the same test.

12 wrenchwench  Fri, Jan 27, 2012 5:41:56pm

re: #11 wrenchwench

That was for tacuba14, of course.

Later, lizards.


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