The meteorologist strives to make critical information more accessible to Latinos in the United States
Washington, Dec. 14. Peruvian-American meteorologist Joseph Trujillo is preparing a glossary in Spanish to facilitate emergency management among the Latino community in the United States, taking into account their language diversity, according to an interview with EFE.
Define it as a two-way job: on the one hand, describing phenomena that only have names in English, and on the other hand, finding terms in Spanish that are understandable to Latinos who have linguistic differences.
His awe and fascination with atmospheric phenomena led him to an academic career in meteorology.
Trujillo, who was born in Lima (Peru), immigrated to the United States when he was five years old and grew up in Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas), a hurricane-prone area, in an interview with EFE said that “violent changes in the state of time that frightened and amazed me.”
“I was curious to understand why these weather phenomena happen, why clouds do this or that. I often had to translate weather information for my family and friends, and this passion made me see the contradictions in the language,” he said.
Trujillo is currently a research assistant at the Cooperative Institute for High Impact Weather Research and Operations at the University of Oklahoma, where he collaborates with NOAA’s Large Storms Laboratory in developing accessible terminology for all Hispanics. .
He explained that his goal was to create a “spanish-language lexicon of terms shared and understood by all Latinos” and used by meteorologists across the country to communicate relevant information to that community.
NOAA already has an English-language glossary of more than 2,000 terms, phrases, and abbreviations that the National Weather Service uses when meteorologists communicate with each other, or when it’s time to issue warnings, warnings, and recommendations to the public.
Added to the fact that this idiomatic heritage lacks a proper translation into Spanish, “immigrants come from different parts of Latin America; They come from Bolivia, from Argentina, from Peru, from many places.” “And many times they don’t understand the warnings in English, or they don’t even know the terms in Spanish,” he added.
“There are phenomena that only happen in the United States and we don’t have words in Spanish. In Peru I haven’t seen hail or snow or hurricanes or hurricanes. In Puerto Rico they don’t use the word ‘storm’ but ‘thunderstorm’.”
The 25-year-old Trujillo dreamed of being an astronaut and then working as a weather reporter on television, but found a different path when he realized “there aren’t a lot of science communicators who speak Spanish.”
“A Cuban, a Dominican, and even a Latino who has been living in Florida for years knows what a hurricane is and how to prepare for an emergency. But other Spaniards who come from countries where there are no hurricanes may not understand the information.”
In addition, he added, “there is difficulty translating English terms into Spanish, which requires more words, and emergency notices have room for fewer words.”
An example is the English term “squall”, which refers to a combination of wind gusts or storms accompanied by rain and low temperatures.
Another occurs when residents are warned of a phenomenon called a “blizzard”, which is characterized by sustained winds or frequent gusts of over 56 kilometers (35 miles) per hour with snow, a combination that reduces visibility to less than 400 metres. (quarter mile) for periods of three hours or more.
Trujillo completed his studies at Texas A&M University with a degree in meteorology and an arts degree in Spanish, and is now pursuing a master’s and doctoral degree in disaster communication.
“We’re trying to understand how different Hispanics understand the communication we give them every day, and the way communities understand what we say to them,” he said. EFE
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