The true meaning of leaving no one behind [The Lancet]

Sometimes it is important to go back to basics. For human interaction, one of the basics is language, the system of communication that, when applied at its best, allows us to understand each other, share, cooperate, and pull each other towards a better place. When on a collective journey towards a common objective such as the Sustainable Development Goals, with a rallying cry of “leaving no one behind” and a central aim of “reaching the furthest behind first”, this system of communication is fundamental to move beyond just the rhetorical: to be truly reached, the furthest one behind will need to understand what she is being told, and most likely, that exchange will have to be done in her own language. That principle should apply to all aspects of development, including global health.
With roughly 7000 living languages in the world, miscommunication is inevitable, but there are times and places when particular care should be taken to ensure that the message is clear and fully understood. Take the highly volatile situation of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for instance. Since the outbreak was declared in August 2018, there have been over 1000 confirmed and probable cases in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Because the trauma of conflict has compounded the impact of the outbreak on the population, community engagement and ownership of the response are particularly important in the DRC. Last month, Translators without Borders released the results of a rapid studyevaluating the effectiveness of risk communication materials on Ebola used in North Kivu. The results are striking: they show that materials used for the response—posters, brochures, and consent forms for the Ebola vaccine, some in French, some in standard or local Congolese Swahili—are not fully understood. Basic vocabulary in French related to Ebola was not recognised in focus groups and half of the participants misinterpreted a poster inviting the sick to present to the nearest health centre as the complete opposite, that they would not be welcome there. Consent forms used for the Ebola vaccine were also generally misunderstood, as they contained words in standard Swahili, French, and English that were not known to the participants, raising further ethical issues. This study presents the epitome of where and when the basics of language should be better applied to reach “the furthest behind” in global health.
Global health research in general should concern itself with language. As in most scientific fields, English is established as the dominant tongue. Some will rightfully argue that researchers need a lingua franca, a common language in which to communicate, but English is not strictly that: for some (indeed, a minority) it is their mother tongue, but for the rest it is a second language, one that can be mastered at varying levels of fluency, or not mastered at all. That clearly implies that when it comes to the handiwork of research—the searching for funds, the publishing, the reading, the presenting—not everyone is on the same plane, and some are left behind. A Comment published this week presents the reflections and ideas of a group of francophone researchers during a workshop at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) in Kigali, Rwanda, last month on this very issue. Our readers will appreciate that we could not in good conscience publish this Comment in any language other than French, and will, we hope, take the extra step of accessing the English translation in the supplementary material if needed. The main message is that linguistic isolation and the barriers it creates are real and deeply ingrained, but also that there is a way forward. The solutions will require more consideration of the needs of different linguistic groups, the creation of support networks, and more linguistic collaboration in general. One initiative that fits neatly within these criteria is the Science and Language Mobility Scheme Africa, led by the African Academy of Sciences in partnership with the Wellcome Trust and Institut Pasteur. This brand-new programme funds research done by anglophone, francophone, and maybe soon lusophone researchers in language regions other than their own, in order to strengthen scientific collaboration while building language skills and improving cultural understanding between researchers from different linguistic backgrounds.
Such efforts are to be applauded. Leaving no one behind will require more than glancing back from a position of linguistic power and hoping everyone follows. It will require everyone, journals included, to reach out to the other and find concrete solutions to this most basic dilemma.
Source: Article Info The Lancet

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Top 10 proofreading tips

Compartimos con nuestros lectores hoy el siguiente artículo sobre revisión de textos que hallamos en la web: Top 10 proofreading tips (en inglés) y que resulta muy útil. Se indican 10 puntos básicos que se explican y amplían en el artículo.

  1. Don’t rely solely on spellcheck
  2. Be clear
  3. Change your view
  4. Read your content backwards
  5. Read out loud
  6. Proofread when you’re most alert
  7. Break up the task
  8. Phone a friend
  9. Don’t chase perfection
  10. Call in the professionals


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Lengua y economía

Desde una perspectiva económica, la lengua es un componente básico del capital humano y social de una co­munidad. La especialidad de la eco­nomía de la lengua caracteriza a las lenguas como bienes de club, con las siguientes características: no tienen coste de producción, no se agotan con su uso, tienen un coste único de acceso, su valor se incremen­ta con el número de usuarios y no son bienes apropiables.

Además, los economistas han distinguido varias funciones económicas de la lengua. Así, la lengua misma constituye un mercado, referido a la enseñanza del idioma y las actividades mercantiles asociadas a ella. La importancia de este mercado dependerá de factores como la utilidad comunicativa de la lengua en cuestión (número de ha­blantes), la influencia económica y política de la comunidad lingüística, o su capacidad creativa y ascenden­cia intelectual. Es, igualmente, la materia prima esencial de un conjun­to de industrias, como las culturales –y, de modo muy específico, la edi­torial–, cuya existencia misma gira en torno de la lengua.

Productos relacionados con el uso de la lengua

grafico lengua y economia

Fuente: “Atlas de la lengua española en el mundo”, de Francisco Moreno Fernández, disponible online en: Fundación Telefónica España/Publicaciones

¿”constitución” con C o con c? Mayúsculas y minúsculas.

En expresiones como la Constitución española o la Constitución argentina, lo adecuado es escribir la palabra constitución con inicial mayúscula y los especificadores (españolaargentina…) con minúscula.

En los medios es habitual encontrar diversas formas de escribir esas expresiones: «El ministro ha abogado por reformar la Constitución Española», «Gran parte de las Constituciones chilenas tienen como principio básico la definición de un Estado unitario» o «El proyecto es dotar al país de una nueva Constitución».

La Ortografía de la lengua española señala que las constituciones suelen citarse de forma abreviada, utilizando el sustantivo genérico constitución escrito con mayúscula inicial: la Constitución.

Esa mayúscula, añade, no debe afectar a los especificadores que la acompañen: los padres de la Constituciónla Constitución argentinala Constitución española

Tampoco es apropiado extender la mayúscula a los usos plurales o genéricos, como señala también el Diccionario académicolas primeras constituciones bolivianaslas constituciones democráticasuna nueva constitución

Por esto, en los casos anteriores lo adecuado habría sido escribir «El ministro ha abogado por reformar la Constitución española», «Gran parte de las constituciones chilenas tienen como principio básico la definición de un Estado unitario» y «El proyecto es dotar al país de una nueva constitución».

En el caso de las alternativas carta magnaley fundamental y código fundamental, lo adecuado es, como señala la Academia, escribirlas siempre en minúsculas, pues se entiende que se trata de expresiones meramente referenciales y genéricas: «La ley fundamental boliviana», «La carta magna aprobada tras la muerte del dictador», «El código fundamental peruano»…

Fuente: Fundeu


Words in the news: judge

Written by Liz Potter


News that a pay review body has recommended pay rises of up to 32% for judges, taking the salary of the most senior from over £180,000 p.a. to over £240,000, has aroused comment in the UK media. Such huge rises for a small group that is already very well paid stand in stark contrast with the situation of other public sector workers such as teachers, doctors and nurses, whose pay has been capped at low levels for many years. The suggested rises, designed to end a recruitment crisis which has seen top barristers preferring to remain in their very well remunerated positions rather than moving to the bench, may not be approved in full. In the meantime, the story gives us the opportunity to look at the interesting noun judge.

judge is, of course, the person whose job is to make decisions in a court of law. While the role of judges varies in different judicial systems, in all of them a judge is a person who decides, whether about the meaning of the law or about the outcome of a particular case. The second meaning of judge in Macmillan Dictionary also refers to decision-making, in this case deciding who wins a competition. More broadly, a judge is anyone who decides what the correct thing to do is when there is a disagreement: the example given for this sense refers to a referee being the sole judge of the rules that apply to a sport or game.

If we say that someone is a good or a bad judge of something or no judge of something, we are talking about whether their opinions are generally valid or not; so if someone is a good judge of character, they are usually right about what a person is really like. If we say that someone should be the judge of something, we mean that they should rely on their own opinions rather than accepting those of others. If you tell someone that you will be the judge of something, you are telling them in no uncertain terms that you do not want or need their advice.

The first, judicial meaning of the word, meanwhile, is referenced in the expression judge and jury: if you ask who made someone judge and jury in a matter of importance, you are saying that they have too much power and that it would be better if that power was shared.

Judge came into English from the Old French ‘juge’, which came from the Latin word for a judge, ‘judex’. There is no space in this post to look at the related verb judge, but you can find all its meanings and its many grammatical patterns here.

Origin: MacMillan Dictionary

La Organización Mundial del Comercio y los países en desarrollo

Desarrollo y comercio

Disposiciones especiales para los países en desarrollo

Más de tres cuartas partes de los Miembros de la OMC son países en desarrollo o países menos adelantados. Todos los Acuerdos de la OMC incluyen disposiciones especiales para ellos, por ejemplo plazos más largos para cumplir acuerdos y compromisos, medidas destinadas a aumentar sus oportunidades comerciales y asistencia para ayudarlos a crear la infraestructura necesaria para llevar a cabo las tareas relacionadas con la OMC, resolver las diferencias y aplicar las normas técnicas.

La Conferencia Ministerial de 2001 que tuvo lugar en Doha fijó cometidos, entre ellos la celebración de negociaciones, en lo que respecta a una gran variedad de temas de interés para los países en desarrollo. Algunos han aplicado a las nuevas negociaciones el calificativo de Ronda de Doha para el Desarrollo.

Antes, en 1997, una reunión de alto nivel sobre las iniciativas comerciales y la asistencia técnica para los países menos adelantados desembocó en la adopción de un “marco integrado”, en el que participan seis organismos intergubernamentales, destinado a ayudar a los países menos adelantados a aumentar su capacidad comercial, así como en cierto número de acuerdos adicionales sobre acceso preferencial a los mercados.

Existe además en la OMC un Comité de Comercio y Desarrollo, asistido por un Subcomité de Países Menos Adelantados, que se encarga de estudiar las necesidades especiales de los países en desarrollo. Sus funciones comprenden la aplicación de los acuerdos, la cooperación técnica y el fomento de la participación de los países en desarrollo en el sistema mundial de comercio.

Fuente: OMC Desarrollo

Traducción y derechos lingüísticos-PEN


Compartimos aquí esta entrada sobre el Manifiesto de Girona y promovemos el respeto hacia todas las lenguas.

Camino Villanueva

índiceTraducción y derechos lingüísticos

Elaborado por el Comité de Traducciones y Derechos Lingüísticos de la organización PEN International, el Manifiesto de Girona sobre derechos linguísticos es un documento de diez puntos diseñado para ser traducido y difundido ampliamente como una herramienta para defender la diversidad lingüística en todo el mundo.

Los miembros de PEN han traducido el Manifiesto a más de 30 idiomas, y animan a seguir traduciéndolo y creando conciencia sobre la necesidad de proteger y promover la diversidad lingüística.

Estos son los diez puntos del manifiesto:

  1. La diversidad lingüística es un patrimonio de la humanidad, que debe ser valorado y protegido.
  2. El respeto por todas las lenguas y culturas es fundamental en el proceso de construcción y mantenimiento del diálogo y de la paz en el mundo.
  3. Cada persona aprende a hablar en el seno de una comunidad que le da la vida, la lengua, la cultura…

Ver la entrada original 186 palabras más

Constitution of the Argentine Nation

Here is a useful resource for anyone interested in understanding the organization of the civic life in Argentina and the organization of the Argentine Government. The National Constitution of the Argentine Nation was adopted in 1853, and was amended and revised five times since then; the last amendment took place in 1994.

The Argentine National Constitution was drafted in Spanish, the official language of the country. Here we have an official translation from Spanish into English, for reference purposes for non-Spanish speakers, which can be found in the official web page of the Argentine National Congress:  This web page shows access to the text of the National Constitution divided in different links for each part and chapter of the document.

Another official web site of Argentina, the Library of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, shows the same English translation in a full pdf file:

The Constitution defines Argentina as a federal republic. The government system of Argentina is based on the division of powers between the federal government and local governments. The federal government is made up of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The Argentine legal system belongs to the civil law tradition.

The full Spanish text of the Argentine National Constitution can be found at:

This is the Preamble of the Argentine Constitution, a clear, strong and decided declaration of self-determination from the people of Argentina:

We, the representatives of the people of the Argentine Nation, gathered in General Constituent Assembly by the will and election of the Provinces which compose it, in fulfillment of pre-existing pacts, in order to form a national union, guarantee justice, secure domestic peace, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves, to our posterity, and to all men of the world who wish to dwell on argentine soil: invoking the protection of God, source of all reason and justice: do ordain, decree, and establish this Constitution for the Argentine Nation.