Language as social justice, a goodbye to the anglo web and hello to diversified campaining

I recently had the chance to join in at the Open Translation Tools 09, where bloggers, translators and coders from across the world came together in Amsterdam for a discussion about the state of translation and which tools to wish for in the future. From Cambodia, India and South Africa projects showed how translation and localization of sofware into local languages enable the growth of social change. Projects like Global Voices Lingua and Meedan have proved that hundreds of people will gather to make global discussion possible across language barriers. But those projects are still small compared to the dramatic shifts in the destribution between languages on the Internet – the Chinese blogosphere alone with sites like Sina and QQ exceeds the total amount of English language content on the Internet. Welcome to the diversified diversified Polyglot Internet. I think it is important not to dismiss this as purely a tendency in the Global South. In the middle of the greatest newspaper crisis in history, US ethnic newspapers are flourishing and clearly benefitting from not having spend forty years losing touch with their readers.

Contequenses for campaigning and advocacy
One of the most impressive organizing efforts last fall came from “Voto Latino”, which mobilized young Latino voters in key swing states such as New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada through a powerfull cambination from MySpace to SMS and celebrity support. Voto Latino are now keeping up steam with an impressive support for Sonia as Supreme Justice nominee.

Both the emergence of ethnic media in the US and diversified campaigns as Voto Latinos proves that efficient campaigns can merge from a point of diversity. The imploding Republican party has clearly defined it self as the party the white-male and surely doesn´t fit nor understand this model of campainging, as they showed to the fullest extend with the immigration debate in 2007. This campaign video shows that progressives such as Voto Latino are not always afraid of offering clear narratives and hard politics, while campaining for diversity, which is promissing to see.

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