LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Commencement speech should not be translated
June 15, 2011
I had the pleasure of attending my younger sister’s graduation from Whittell High School this past Saturday. Crespin Esquivel, the school’s principal, gave his commencement speech and then translated it into Spanish for the Spanish-speaking families.
I was nothing less than appalled. My feelings do not come from a place of intolerance or prejudice, but from an understanding of our nation’s primary language.
Furthermore, all of the graduating students, coming from an English speaking high school, are proficient in English. Their families may or may not be proficient in English, but does that warrant a translation? I feel that if I spoke English as a second language and had my skill undermined by Esquivel’s translation, I would have been insulted.
I understand that Esquivel is proud of his personal background and those that share it with him, but he crossed the line. The translation was inappropriate and acted as a time for Esquivel to make a personal statement that took away from the recognition the graduating students deserved.