Voters Lost in Translation

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Spanish translation of an informational “voter guide” is so poor that the election board had to trash what remaining flyers it had in stock. Here’s an excerpt:

    One passage literally reads, “People that are registered 29 and 15 days before an election will be commanded a brochure.”

    “Any Spanish speaker would catch these errors, even if they were not academically proficient in Spanish. It’s that bad,” said Leslie Padilla-Williams, a translator in Oceanside who called the translation “horrific.”

    Four translators who work throughout the county said it appeared that a single person went almost word by word through the English version of the voter guide with a Spanish-English dictionary to write the flier.

    “That’s kind of close to the way it actually happened,” confirmed Mike Workman, a county spokesman.

    He estimated that between 8,000 and 12,000 copies of the voter guide were distributed.

What’s particularly disturbing is that this same basic flyer was also used in the 2000 election.

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