Mexico is currently sitting atop the World Cup’s Group F leaderboard with two consecutive victories, but a third has taken place quite literally behind the players’ backs. Last year, New York Times en Español editor Paulina Chavira took to Twitter to lament the lack of accent marks over Mexican players’ jerseys. Chavira argued that the omission is not just a bothersome grammatical error, but that it may come at the expense of proper pronunciation of the Spanish language. She said, “A simple accent may seem trivial for a lot of people, but its presence or its absence changes the way we pronounce a word, and sometimes even its meaning.”
The significance of issues like cultural heritage and translation feel particularly amplified on the World Cup stage, which sees millions of people of all nationalities coming together to watch and discuss the events in bars, stadiums, and social media networks around the globe. When Mexico took the pitch for their qualifier against Wales with accent marks beaming above the surnames on their kits, Chavira tweeted her overwhelming joy—and perhaps surprise—to see that the correction she fought for had been made:
Mexico take on Sweden this Wednesday at 10am EST. In the meantime, read the full New York Times piece, including an interview with Chavira, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/insider/mexico-world-cup-spanish-accent-marks.html
Interested in becoming an editor or a translator? Enroll in an upcoming NYUSPS CALA program!
This summer, CALA will be hosting the Translation and Interpreting Summer Institute, a three-week intensive program suitable for beginning to mid-career translators and interpreters from all language pairs.