The federal government issued translations on official documents to help Alaska Natives following destructive storms there. The trouble is, the text is indecipherable for those it was intended to help. An investigative report found the Iñupiaq and Yup’ik translations from FEMA are essentially unreadable for those familiar with the languages. One appears to be at least partly taken from a World War Two-era publication in the Soviet Union. Today on Native America Calling, we’ll check in with Tara Sweeney (Inupiaq), Principal and CEO of Tack 71 Strategies and former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior; Julia Jimmie (Yup’ik), translator and Yup’ik language programming producer; Sam Berlin (Yup’ik), translator and KYUK talk show host; linguist Gary Houlton; and Emily Schwing, freelance reporter based in Alaska.
Since this show, FEMA language contractor, Accent on Languages, released a statement about the erroneous translation. You can read it here.
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