Occupied by Translation
This has been a heady few weeks of activity for the Translation Working Group down at Occupy Wall Street. In this time, the ranks of our volunteer translators have swelled from a handful to one hundred and twenty-five, with more signing up every day. The Declaration of the Occupation has been translated into a dozen and a half languages and counting. Several of these translations are already posted on the new official web site of the New York General Assembly, and more will be coming soon; the designers of the new web site, which launched three days ago, are still working to automate the workflow for getting the translations posted. Everything is being developed in real time—including the sense of the Occupation’s mission and reach.
Three weeks ago today, seven hundred peaceful protesters were arrested while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge; eight days ago Mayor Bloomberg backed down from his stated intention to clear the protesters from Liberty Plaza after more than two thousand supporters showed up at 6 a.m. willing to be arrested in defense of the protesters’ exercising their First Amendment rights. Not that things will now be smooth sailing for those involved. Princeton professor Cornel West just got arrested for the second time in a week for his role in the protests. Naomi Wolf was arrested earlier last week.
But the movement is clearly attracting more and more supporters every week, and all the polls I’ve been hearing on the radio and TV indicate that the vast majority of the American people support the protesters’ message about the financial and political inequalities that mar our society. And this message is now being translated into a bevy of languages by the valiant volunteer members of the Translation Working Group. Two issues of the Occupied Wall Street Journal have already been published in Spanish translation, the first Turkish translations have just arrived, and French and Arabic versions are coming soon.
A lot more work lies ahead, and we are still looking for more translators, particularly in Slavic and Asian languages. If you’d like to join us, do get in touch!