Emigrado versus inmigrante

Is La Opinión spinning its coverage of the scare letter sent to Orange County Latinos by Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen? Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly raises the question in a blog post that compares the original Spanish to what La Opinión has reported.

We’re not going to translate the Martínez Ortega’s two versions (mix-and-match with the original Spanish above!), ’cause it essentially translates word-for-word, sentiment for sentiment. Except for one word–inmigrante. Means immigrant, of course. But the original said emigrado.

So why the change? As reported earlier, emigrado refers to immigrants who are legal but not citizens; inmigrante refers to immigrants without distinction to legal status. The original letter tells readers non-citizens can’t vote; La Opinión’s version spins it so that readers think even former immigrants who are now citizens can’t vote.

You can excuse the English-language press for mistranslation–we’re just a bunch of gabachos y pochos, after all. But why would La Opinión change the content of Nguyen’s letter. Honest mistake (twice)–or deliberate misdirection?

In an earlier post Arellano invoked his parents to help parse the precise Spanish meanings and finally concluded: "Mexican Spanish is full of it."

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