Open Schools: Registration

Escuelas Abiertas: Inscripción Sign

Finally something good for the communities in the rural areas of Guatemala. Escuelas Abiertas or Open Schools is a government program which will pay for teachers and tutors to work in public schools on the weekends from 9 to 5 so the kids take art and computer workshops, music, English, as well as physical education programs.

The idea is to open the schools on the weekends so the children of the communities can have a place to hang out and take courses which are not available during the regular school study assignments and without any obligation. If you open the schools on the weekends and providing engaging activities and workshops, perhaps, the kids will stay of gangs and out of the streets.

Spanish word of the day: Inscripción is the correct Spanish term for registration. However, online, for lack of knowledge or for plain laziness, registration forms are known as formularios de registro in Spanish. Registro is the word for record or inspection. Easy does it is the mentality for many web sites in Spanish, thus, they simply change the spelling of English words into Spanish looking words.

For instance, here is a real question asked a while back on a very popular Spanish web site: ¿Es tu registro usable para el usuario? which translates as, Is your registration form useful (usable) for the user? the word useful in terms usability. Now since Spanish is a phonetic language you can write, read and pronounce just about anything; even if it does not make any sense. The two basic problems with the question are registro and usable. even though registro is a Spanish word, is not the right word which should be inscripción. Usable, on the other hand, is not even a Spanish word; the right words in my humble opinion, for usable are útil or amigable. So the question should be: ¿Es tu formulario de inscripción útil (or amigable) para el usuario?

Sadly, however, the Spanish language is losing the battles with registro (inscripción/registration), tráfico (transito/traffic), masacre (matanza/massacre), usable (útil), usabilidad (utilidad/usability), mail (correo), chat (conversar), et-cetera. Can you share with us what other English words are being misused or poorly translated into Spanish?

Escuelas Abiertas: Workshops Registrations

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Eric

    Interesting post, Rudy. I do like the idea of Escuelas Abiertas, and I hope it proves successful.
    Please excuse the musings of an ignorant chelon, but I wonder if the “lost battles” are the result of so many people looking to los EEUU as a way to better their livelihood ? Could it be an attempt to incorporate English into the daily speech as a stepping stone to working in the U.S., or possibly moving here ? Or is it much simpler than that – the last time I checked, English was the “official” language of all things computer-related. Do you think that the English/Spanish mix of words is just spilling-over from the online community ?
    These are only curious musings of mine. English has the same habit of adopting (and adapting)words from other languages very, very quickly. So, do I study my castilano with greater effort, or do I pick-up a copy of “Que Onda, Vos?” Ja-ja-ja

  • Stephanie

    Rudy, I’m curious about how you go about posting a photo every day for so long now. How often are you actually taking photos? Do you always have your camera with you and it’s pretty well a daily thing? Or do you go out at certain times and take a whole lot of photos that you then slowly post? How often do you go back and use old photos because you don’t have anything recent? The more I view your site, the more intrigued I am by this whole idea of a “photo a day”.

  • Claudia

    Wow, this is great news . . . finally something good – I hope it makes a difference.

  • @Eric, I don’t think it has to do with people planning to move to the U.S.; believe it or not, there are plenty of people who do not wish to leave their country to emigrate to the U.S. or other countries. I think it is more in the lines of projecting a pseudo importance, misconceived pretensions and/or inferiority complex. That’s my humble opinion, but this is something that needs to be studied by psychologists (Manolo?) and anthropologists (Ale?); or anyone who investigates social conducts. On the other hand, there is also some truth in your statement about being the spill-over of the jargon of online communities.

    @Stephanie, I believe all your questions are correct and I do just about all of them through the process of publishing a New daily page about La Antigua Guatemala. I take photos as often as I can since I always carry a camera with me. Almost never I go out to take photos specifically for the web site. Sometimes I publish the photo of the day taken the same day. Mostly I think in terms of series or stuff not already covered on the web site, unless is a follow up or different perspective. I try to go around with my eyes wide open and try to see things not from a local perspective. Also, my main goal is not to show the Guatemalan lifestyle as better or worse than other countries lifestyles. Rather, my goal is to show that there are other ways of being human.

  • Erick

    I agree with the fellow posters, that is an excellent program and hopefully it will continue to be successful and keep kids out of trouble while at the same time learning some valuable skills.

    Another “spanglish” word that I hear a lot around here is “carpeta”, which is derived from the word “carpet.” The proper term is probably “alfombra”, but I guess things change.

  • In my unending quest to master the Spanish language, I’ve always tried to say things in proper Spanish without resorting to spanglish. I get in trouble at times for using “troca” when I want to say “truck” (pick-up truck); some native Spanish speakers use “troca” and others refuse to, preferring the proper “camioneta” instead. I enjoy some manufactured verbs, such as “chatear” (to chat) and “textear” (to text-message). I know it’s wrong, but they’re modern & convenient 🙂

  • emromesco

    @janna (where is your comment?) “troca” is bad bad… but the neologisms are allowed because there is no word that exists in the language without having to describe it in five paragraphs. In French, for example, words have been coined for example: “clavarder” for “chatting” that comes from clavier(keyboard) + bavarder(chat, talk). So it is even more accurate than “chat”. Although sometimes these more appropriate terms don’t catch on.

    @Eric: “carpeta” is not “carpet” but “folder”, and most likely has a unique etymology in Spanish.

  • Erick

    @emromesco: I think you misinterpreted what I said, or perhaps never heard of “carpeta” being used in that form, but it is definitely used to refer to a carpet. I don’t think someone would say: “La carpeta esta bien sucia” and actually referred to their computer folder being dirty. =)

    It’s the same thing that Janna was referring to when he/she used the word “troca” to refer to a truck.

  • Eric

    @Rudy – thanks for the insights. Apologies if it seemed like I thought everybody was looking to emigrate-it was truly just a wondering on my part. I have found exactly what you say in your comment – rarely (only one person in three years) have I met anyone who wanted to leave the land of eternal spring. I like your idea about projecting the “pseudo-importance” thing – that makes better sense, based on my personal interactions. As long as someone understands when I ask “Quisiera una Moza, por favor”, I am quite content.

  • Javier

    This one always threw me off; DMV Department of Motor Vehicles people translate it as Departamento de Motores y Vehiculos. Are motors and vehicles separate or it should read Vehiculos Motorizados.

  • Donald

    My wife is pretty sure “rostizado” (as in pollo rostizado) is not really proper Spanish.

  • So funny! I was just talking about this yesterday with a friend! We were role playing in Spanish b/c I needed to call a lady who speaks only Spanish and I was / am pretty nervous about it. Even though I understand why “Spanglish” word forms are considered “bad” — sometimes it’s such a relief though to have a common understanding! For example, the word “ride.” I was surprised in a meeting of Guatemalans to hear “un ride” used like it is used in English. This really helped me later when calling folks: I would speak in my broken Spanish using “llevar” and then say it again using “un ride.” Un ride always got the more hearty response. 🙂 At least we communicated. 🙂

  • Stephanie

    @ Rudy: “my goal is to show that there are other ways of being human” —- And I think you do a wonderful job of it! : ) That is what I love about visiting your site + seeing another way of being human makes me more aware of the ways in my own community. Bravo!