Quick Language Help Needed!

So, I’m hoping to put some fliers up at some of the local haunts I frequent that are full of immigrants. Here in Ashburn, Virginia, a large number of folks are of foreign origin. Many work for the government directly or for contractors, but many others work for technology companies in non-defense areas.

I am scared to go do my normal Friday shopping at two large international supermarkets. It’s usually a festive day of sorts, with many Muslims from a number of countries coming by after attending Friday prayers, and in good cheer. I encounter many Hindus and Sikhs, Chinese, Korean, Persians, Japanese, Thai, African, and a smattering of Western and Eastern Europeans. I prefer to go Friday for the mix of people, fresh seafood and produce, and because on the rest of the weekend, there are too many people!

Both stores have a nice bulletin board up with information in a multitude of languages. I’ve been planning to put together some kind of “Friends Who Cook” poster to see if I can make some new cooking friends from far away cultures so we can share what we know. But this week has accelerated what I feel I must do, and that is, make friends and let people know that I love, respect, and appreciate them, as I know most Americans do.

So I’m going to print up this sign in the next little bit and would love any advice from native Spanish or Arabic speakers. I’ve used Google’s translate feature and though I took a bit of Spanish and Arabic when I was young, I am trusting the machine.

So – please, any helpful editing would be great! I’ve posted the doc as a PDF here for your reference. I stuck to Spanish and Arabic as those are the two communities that need the most reassurance.

Flier for posting

ETA: sorry to bigfoot John’s Veteran’s Day post. I’ll put this beneath it.

52 replies
  1. 1
    GrandJury says:

    3. There was no surge of Latino voters
    Trump built his campaign on a pledge to build a wall on our Southern border and make Mexico pay for it. He suggested during the campaign that a judge of Mexican descent might not be able to rule fairly in a case involving Trump University. He said that Mexico was sending “criminals” and “rapists” to the United States.

    All of that led to predictions of historically high Hispanic turnout, with many predicting that 2016 would be the election that Latinos emerge as the electoral force that their population numbers suggest they should be.

    It just didn’t happen.

    In 2012, Hispanics made up 10 percent of the overall electorate. That bumped up, marginally, to 11 percent in 2016. And, far more interestingly, Trump actually performed better among Hispanics than Romney did — 29 percent to 27 percent. More tellingly, Clinton underperformed Obama’s 2012 showing among Hispanics by six points (71 percent for Obama, 65 percent for Clinton), an underperformance that allowed Trump’s slight overperformance among white voters to matter more.

    I tried to tell you all that Latinos never show up and this time will be no different. I promised that after the election I would come back here and tell you that I told you so. So here I am telling you that I told you so.


  2. 2
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @GrandJury: Was it the laziness? Or the shiftlessness? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. 3
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @GrandJury: 10% increase isn’t bad. Better than other groups! I’m sure had we all the data we could show that compared to other groups who didn’t vote who did previously, their increase stands out. It just wasn’t enough in the places that mattered like WI and MI and PA.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    @GrandJury: Trying to comprehend the mindset that could read Alain’s post, look at the flyer he put together to let frightened people know there are friends out there who want to help and protect them and then post I TOLD YOU SO. Oh well. You’ve got plenty of company in threads throughout the blog.

    @Alain the site fixer: In the days since the election, I’ve been sleepless, heartsick, horrified and depressed, but I haven’t cried about it. Until I read your flyer. Like every other tragedy, man-made or natural, I try to do what Mr. Rogers said his mother told him to do when he saw scary news: Look for the helpers. Thank you for being a helper.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Random suggestion, Alain, but if you have a Hillary t-shirt, I would wear it to the store. With a safety pin on it. I think us non-asshole white people should be publicly signaling that, no, we do not support the orange shitgibbon.

  6. 6
    cosima says:

    So, the intent isn’t very clear. Are you inviting them to contact you (apparently a random ?? person? group? hate group? church? — throwing those out there because that’s what readers will be wondering, and possibly be suspicious)? Why should they contact you? What will they get from you? Will you host a support group? I do understand & appreciate & support your intentions, but your flyer is too vague, needs more than support & friendliness, it needs clarity.

    I say that with 100% support of your effort! As I have been telling my family for years, it is not enough to vote, we have to DO things as well because apathy + system stacked against the good guys.

  7. 7
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ve been crying. But it’s time to let the most likely scapegoats and victims know they’ve got friends. My reaction 9/11 on the train from NYC to D.C that night was to give an Egyptian medical student who knew little English but was trying to get from NYC to Madison by train and had spent all day at the bus station not aware that anything had happened, I wrote down all my info and explained what happened and that should any law enforcement folks start asking questions to call me for help. I figure that’ll be what this flier ends up being in the longer run – support for those that need it. But first, let my neighbors know.

  8. 8
    mai naem mobile says:

    @GrandJury: I am not going to the link. Also 1/ I can just tell you anecdotally I saw more Hispanics at the polls in AZ. 2/I talked to several Hispanic women(voter/non voter) who can’t accept abortion. Not sure what you do with that but it’s there.3/ You have to have a left wing version of the RWs evangelical megachurch. I don’t claim to know how you do that but theseriously churches are complete social communities not just a two hour weekly religious lesson. Lots of Hispanics in these churches.

  9. 9
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @cosima: not sure. For now, an email address. From here, I don’t know. Ideally people will respond and we’ll build a non profit or something. Who knows. But action starts local and there are many things that people talking and working together can achieve. I’m not the guy to be out in the public, but I need to at least do something.

  10. 10
    amygdala says:

    Alain, I wish my Spanish skills were up to the task, but they’re not, and I know maybe a half-dozen words in spoken (not written) Arabic. So I can’t be of any help. But I wanted to tell you that I’m in tears reading your post, and for the first time since Tuesday, they’re happy tears. You are good people. Thank you.

  11. 11
    gogol's wife says:


    I agree.

    My language is Russian — not much help, I’m afraid.

  12. 12
    Elizabelle says:

    I love that you are doing this, Alain. You are good people.

    Now, to hunt down that safety pin.

  13. 13
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Elizabelle: heading up to top floor to get one and print up a few extras in case some other gringos want one!

  14. 14
    mai naem mobile says:

    Alain I can help you in Hindi and Gujarati for what it’s worth. I am guessing most people who speak Urdu would understand Hindi.

  15. 15
    FlipYrWhig says:

    ETA: My Spanish is getting fuzzy, but ask someone about whether “sostener” is better than “apoyar” as a translation for “support” in this context. I think it comes down to whether you mean “be relied on” or “hold up.”

    Sostener translations: sustain, uphold, support; maintain; bear; live
    Apoyar translations: lean, rest against; recline; hold up, prop up; support, prop; sustain; underwrite

  16. 16
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @mai naem mobile: if you can email a word document with both translations at would be awesome. I’ll cut and paste and adjust font size. Thanks!

  17. 17
    mai naem mobile says:

    I can’t do it till this evening from my computer at home. Will send it later.

  18. 18
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @FlipYrWhig: thanks I’ll edit.

  19. 19
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @mai naem mobile: awesome! This is just a first draft after all.

  20. 20
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Alain the site fixer: Now I’m not sure of myself anymore. Check with a native speaker.

    As far as connotations:



  21. 21
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m thinking sostener though I’ll find out quickly whether I’m right! It just has enough better connotations.

  22. 22
    tobie says:

    Thank you, Alain, for doing this. I’m inspired by the kindness of your gesture.

  23. 23
    Aleta says:

    If it’s OK with you I’d like to print and post this when you get an edited version.
    I’ll also send the link to a friend who is an interpreter (Spanish) in the Boston courts, though I can’t say when he will see it or respond.

  24. 24
    NicaKnit says:

    I would actually recommend apoyar as the better choice in Spanish. In my experience living in Nicaragua, Sostener is used more when you’re talking about holding something intangible (sostener una conversación o una creencia), while apoyar is used when talking about people and their relation to one another.

  25. 25
    GrandJury says:

    @Betty Cracker: Unrelated. I found the WaPo article and came here to add a comment. I wasn’t paying much attention to what the post was about. I was going to put it in Coles post but that clearly was just Veterans day related.

    So no, there was no motive involved other than what I said in the comment. I will repeat that similar type of comment as I find more articles on it.

    There were a lot of people here who gave me a lot of shit about the latino thing. Pretty much everyone disagreed with me. They were all wrong so I think I earned it.

    Happens every 2 years. Everyone thinks the latinos will show up this time and they never do. People never learn and just repeat the same mantra every 2 years that “they will show up this time because…reasons”.

  26. 26
    cosima says:

    My brain is not working properly — name of the amazing BJ commenter from — or living in — Indonesia (I believe)???? Can he help? I’ve not seen him on any of the threads since all of shite hit the fan on Tuesday, though.

  27. 27
    Butch says:

    Pasaremos juntos? I think the vamos a pasar language is trying to apply English idioms to Spanish.

  28. 28
    Betty Cracker says:

    @cosima: The fabulous Amir Khalid. He’s around. Saw him on one of the overnight threads.

  29. 29
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Aleta: Please do; drop me an email through the Quick Link form too. I’ll edit the post to post the updated language when I get more!

    I’m more focused on immigrants and minority religions because of their weakness in the greater society, but I also fear for African Americans and leftists, gays, creative types, free thinkers, etc. We’ve seen this story before, when these dark currents are ascendant. And to be clear, I’m thinking HUAC-type effects where people, especially those listed, have to watch what they say, who they associate with, where they go, etc.

    But to be pessimistic, aren’t all those “Jesus Camp warriors for Christ” kids now adults, likely having kids of their own who will soon go through the same type of brainwashing. Only this time there’s likely to be greater focus on racial and cultural and likely language superiority.

    That sounds so much like the German vacation camps for European teenagers that my Swiss dad and his two best friends fled after one night. Not out-and-out Hitler Youth, but spreading a political/religious/cultural message that makes such a future more likely by its appeal to hatred, fear, bullying, and zero concern for the human rights of wide swathes of humanity deemed inferior.

    And so we must fight to build strong links lest we be separated and overwhelmed should push come to shove.

  30. 30
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @NicaKnit: Thanks, I’ll make that edit. Taking it to the stores now; sure I’ll get edits from customers or staff!

  31. 31
    Dadadadadadada says:

    9 years of public-school Spanish classes, 2 years of living in Mexico, 5.5 years of marriage to a Honduran, and a job as a Spanish/English court interpreter says the Spanish looks good.
    However, at the end, instead of “Vamos a salir de esto juntos” I would go with “Vamos a aguantar esto juntos.”

  32. 32
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @cosima: Amir Khalid.

  33. 33
    GrandJury says:

    @mai naem mobile: Lol. It didn’t happen as always. The numbers are in saying it didn’t happen..same as always. There will be more numbers with overwhelming evidence it didn’t happen.

    And your argument is that it like totally happened because you “saw lots of them” at your polling station.

    Well alrightey then. Can’t argue with that indisputable evidence. You win.

  34. 34
    Aleta says:

    My friend says:

    “The translation looks fine. Thanks for being involved in doing this. We need to, in the new reality of this country, redouble our efforts. Sanity will prevail…”

    (He grew up in Honduras and Costa Rica, is an interpreter for the court system in Boston for many years, goes to El Salvador twice a year for volunteer work, is involved with immigrant communities in Ma area.)

  35. 35

    I’ve been trying to think what I can do to let people know I support them. I am so grateful to read you found a way. Made my day a bit better.

  36. 36
    Noah Brand says:

    An Arabic-speaking acquaintance suggests this for the Arabic text:

    لا تخاف! سنقوم بمساعدة، دعم، وحمايه اصدقائنا وجيراننا! سوف نتخطى هذه الاوقات العصيبه معاً.

    “Get through this” apparently doesn’t translate well into Arabic, so she used a phrase that means something like “overcome these troubled times together.” Hope that helps.

  37. 37
    Lahke says:

    Excuse me, folks, but arguing over an increase in percentage share is not going to whether the absolute number increased or by how much. WaPo isn’t letting me read till I pony up a subscription, so I can’t tell if they address the question in a way that would let you come to any conclusions on this at all.

  38. 38
    Woodrowfan says:

    FWIW the Hispanic (and black) vote that trump got was very heavily male. Women knew better..

  39. 39
    Aleta says:

    @Alain the site fixer: For me, your really put your finger on the need to build links now, beyond an expression of support this week.

    …when these dark currents are ascendant, (when) people, especially those listed, have to watch what they say, who they associate with, where they go, etc.

    …aren’t all those “Jesus Camp warriors for Christ” kids now adults, likely having kids of their own who will soon go through the same type of brainwashing. spreading a political/religious/cultural message that makes such a future more likely by its appeal to hatred, fear, bullying, and zero concern for the human rights of wide swathes of humanity deemed inferior.

    …so we must fight to build strong links lest we be separated and overwhelmed should push come to shove.

    Thanks for this.
    I emailed you a couple of links.

  40. 40
    Miss Bianca says:

    thanks for this, Alain. I’ve been doing a bit of cursing the darkness, guess it’s time to think about how I can light some candles.

  41. 41
    Catherine says:

    I would use the “usted” form. No tenga miedo. I’m not a native speaker, so I defer to more qualified people.

  42. 42
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Lahke: if you are Amazon prime you can get a few months free then it’s like $3 a month!

  43. 43
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Noah Brand: thanks Noah. I’ll edit later and replace what I put up.

  44. 44
    Jose says:

    I am a native speaker of Spanish, I was born in Cuba and live not too far from you in Vienna, VA. The translation is fine.

    While the sentiment is to be commended, I personally see the message as somewhat patronizing. Latinos shopping in a Whole Foods are probably professionals, understand English and most likely aren’t worrying about getting deported or have many friends or family in danger of getting deported. My reaction to your message would be, “That’s nice I guess, but I can take care of myself and don’t need a white knight to save me.”

    If you want to help Latinos and express your solidarity, I would recommend making a donation to a group like the National Council of La Raza.

  45. 45
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Jose: I’m shopping at Global Foods and Lotte. Not upscale but full of foreign born workers and customers of all means. I don’t do whole food so much! When i can I plan to hit some other mercados and smaller halal markets and similar places.

  46. 46
    Elmo says:

    @Alain the site fixer: The Lotte in Chantilly? Love that place.

  47. 47
    T S says:

    @GrandJury: I never liked your style, but I never thought your pessimism was unjustified. People insulted me for being a pantswetter, and were, quite honestly, shittier to me than you are to people.

    For the rest of you: So, yeah, I don’t think liberal smugness was the villain this year so much as the racism of those who voted–but a lot of you were fucking smug. Now let me just have this: Fuck all of you who did that. I was feeling shitty, and some of you just piled on and went all in on lashing out and cognitive dissonance. Now you know what I felt like for a month already. Now, with that off my chest, I’m over it. Are we all on the same side again?

  48. 48
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Elmo: actually Ashburn. But I’ve been to most over the years. They’ve come a long way!

  49. 49
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Alain the site fixer: oh and Jose, thanks. I didn’t mean to sound snippy. Your comments are appreciated!

  50. 50
    El Cruzado says:

    I’m a native Spaniard, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt (it’s a bit like if you ask an Australian to write down a flier to post in NY).

    Ayudemos, apoyemos y protejamos a nuestros amigos y vecinos! (which would translate back as “let’s help, support and protect our friends and neighbors).

    We will get through this together.
    Saldremos de ésta juntos (we’ll get out of/through this together).

    Hope that helps.

  51. 51
    El Cruzado says:

    Also I used to live in DC Metro so I know well the area you’re talking about. Most of the Spanish-speaking immigrants around there seem to be from Central America, and to be honest I couldn’t understand a word they were saying after several years around there despite them and me being native Spanish speakers, so add another grain of salt to my help :P

  52. 52
    Kay Eye says:

    Alain, maybe your two grocery stores have meeting rooms/break rooms and would sponsor cooking demos. A neutral spot for exchange of ideas and cultures while sharing food customs might be a comfortable, familiar place.

Comments are closed.