On Tuesday Jonathan sent us the draft HTMA along with some comments from one of the Housing staff members. Each of us individually read through the HTMA and made annotations. Our schedules haven’t lined up very well this week due to midterms but we will meet Saturday morning to discuss our notes. Jonathan also sent us the scanned copies of the raw data collected at the visioning session from last week. The visioning session incorporated residential voices by having residents brainstorm solutions on giant sheets of paper. These documents were collected by Jonathan’s team, and copies of those documents were shared with us. We are concurrently reviewing those suggestions and the HTMA to determine the language necessary to to communicate the findings in the HTMA to the general Alisal community. Our updated version is due November 16th. We will also meet to discuss this data, review the notes, and make some general comparisons, then create an action plan to make more specific comparisons to see where discrepancies lie within the HTMA document. We were unable to contact Jonathan this week due to our busy schedules, but when we decide upon a convenient time we will contact him so that we understand which specific parts of the HTMA document, if any, the organization wants us to translate. Until then we will pick parts we feel are the most significant areas in the HTMA, based on what we observed at the visioning session, and Jackelyn will start translating them after we make our preliminary review of the document. We decided to split up the work in this way: First we will all work together to summarize the HTMA document. Once we have the summary in English, Jackelyn will translate the HTMA summary. Celine and Jennah will check over the translation and make any edits or suggestions for technical things like grammar and more important things like language use, then we will ask another student to check it as well for added perspective. We were unable to speak with Carol McKibben this week because of conflicting schedules but will attempt to reschedule again the week after the next. We are also going to schedule to meet with Andrea Jany.
What We Observed and Learned
This week we spent time reviewing the HTMA document. It’s a technical document but we were tasked with making it accessible to the Alisal community. We are deciding how to best split up the document so that we can all contribute equally. The three of us have varying degrees of expertise in language, writing, editing, and graphic design skills, and we want each person to contribute depending on their strengths. Something else that we are grappling with is how to make the HTMA as accessible as possible. Our original task was to translate the document into Spanish, but is that the accommodation that needs to be made? Alisal is a predominately low-income community, but a lot of technical jargon is being thrown around in this doc. We are discussing how we can best convey the ideas presented in the document, with terms such as “rent control” commonly discussed in academia and community organizations but not necessarily a word easily translatable in Spanish by colloquial terms. For example, we recall that at the workgroup session we attended in Salinas, these types of terms were usually triggers of “code-switching,” where bilingual residents slip in English words like “rent control” but monolingual Spanish speakers may not fully understand this idea. Likewise, gentrification and displacement are also big concepts casually discussed in academic settings, but these ideas are not very accessible in Spanish-speaking communities. The direct translation is gentrificación, however conveying the actual meaning and connotation behind that word is not as easy as a simple translation. For these reasons, we realize we have to be critical with the language we use when translating this document. We have decided upon first reviewing the document, annotating the information and synthesizing the information in English, then translating into Spanish. Since we all have the background and vocabulary that allows us to understand and analyze this kind of policy information, we would be used to using vocabulary like “gentrification,” and we most likely will when making annotations because that is how we understand these ideas. However, we need to keep in mind that for our process of translation, we need to come up with ways to simplifying the language so that the community can understand, while keeping the full meaning and context of the ideas conveyed. These dynamics can not be lost in translation because simplifying and minimizing the weight of these ideas does not serve this community justly. We will provide definitions to terms in order to empower residents by giving them the words they need to express their ideas, needs and desires.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Moving forward we will meet to discuss our annotations and create a summary of the HTMA in English. Jackelyn will translate the HTMA summary and Celine and Jennah will check over this. This was decided because Jackelyn does not have experience creating infographics while Celine and Jennah do. We want to divide our work evenly while making the best use of our respective skills and knowledge. In the weeks coming up Jennah and Celine will be discussing layout designs and ways to design an infographic that will best be interesting, relevant, and accessible to the community we are presenting to. We are inspired in part by the presentations by Mei Lum and Diane Wong on the ways they presented information to their community, and presentations by Deland Chan on community meetings about transportation and infrastructure. We remember specific comments about text being too small for elders and information being too technical for the general community. These are all concepts we are going to take into account. We will talk to Jonathan this upcoming Tuesday to get a clearer idea of what parts of the HTMA he wants us to translate, and what kind of infographic he expects or what other types of media we are able to create and present. Another question we have is whether our team budget is going towards printing the infographic, because we also need to know how many copies we would need to make or if the City of Salinas will produce print copies for their workgroup meeting. We will also discuss with him the summary we made thus far and get his recommendations. We will try to meet with Carol for more background on Alisal so we know more about the sensitivities the community may have. We will meet with Andrea Jany to get more guidance on the interviewing process. We got some contacts to interview at the visioning session that we will contact once we have a solid plan for the interviews. We will interview on November 16th and we will have to do more planning to develop strategies.