It was the fourth time the Philadelphia Museum of Art held a Wikipedia “Edit-a-Thon," but its first dedicated to Latino communities.
This 2019 Art+Feminism event Saturday — part of a global campaign that takes place every March to create more content on the open-source, online encyclopedia about women, queer, and nonbinary artists — asked participants to translate Spanish entries to English to increase access to the artists’ work.
“We decided that this was a way to highlight some of the Latina artists in our collection, and language becomes a big part of that,” said Ricard Sieber, librarian at the Art Museum.
The invitation to translate the entries on Latina artists based here and in other countries was extended to language translation students from Drexel University — and it came with some challenges. How could they retain the essence of Spanish-only expressions or address cultural gaps between the languages? How would they make sure the entries stayed objective? Raquel Salas Rivera, the poet laureate of Philadelphia for 2018-19, helped editors frame the English-language entries so that they still keep their Spanish-language context.
“It’s kind of like a detective’s search," said Steve Vásquez Dolph, assistant teaching professor at Drexel’s department of global studies and modern languages, "where the students are trying to piece together bits of information to create a whole narrative in English for these artists.”