The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is calling on a Connecticut newspaper to create a plan to better serve Latino readers beyond relying on Google Translate to create its Spanish language web page. It’s an issue first raised in a CTLatinoNews op-ed piece by columnist Bessy Reyna.
The post, an opinion article by Bessy Reyna, a well-known author and writer who first noticed the discrepancy caused by a Google computer translation of the Hartford Courant’s articles to Spanish, stated most of the translations were nonsensical and in some instances, downright funny.
The association’s president Hugo Balta, as well as two vice presidents, its executive director, and its Spanish Language-at-Large officer, wrote a letter to Courant editor Andrew Julien and Rick Hancock, digital platform manager, saying, “While we applaud the awareness of Latinos in Connecticut … its Spanish-language readers deserve more than Google Translate.”
The association is prepared to help the Courant transition to an improved product. “We know the Courant can do better and we stand ready to help.” The NAHJ has requested a meeting with Julien and Hancock to “discuss a more well-rounded approach to reaching Latinos and Spanish language readers.”
The letter comes just two days after Fox Latino News and the Poynter Institute, the premiere journalism think tank, brought national attention to the failings of Courant en Español.
FoxNewsLatino stated, “One newspaper in Connecticut took a bit of a shortcut when putting together their … ‘Español’ section. Instead of hiring or finding someone to write and translate articles in Spanish, the Hartford Courant’s Spanish-language section – ‘Courant en Español’ – is simply a version of its homepage run through Google Translate.”
Andrew Beaujon of the Poynter Institute, who closely follows media issues, wrote in the MediaWire blog, “The limitations of this approach are immediately apparent to Spanish speakers.”