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¿Hablas español? Spanish version of Boy Scout Handbook now available

UPDATE: Buy the Spanish handbook here.

For the first time in history, the Boy Scout Handbook will be translated into another language. By the end of the year, the BSA plans to release a Spanish-language version of the official guide for Boy Scouts.

It’s the perfect time, too, as the organization approaches its 100th Anniversary celebration. The new Spanish-language edition acknowledges the strong foundation that the Scouting program has established in the Hispanic community in the past 100 years and the future relationship that will develop over the next century.

If you or your Scouts want to pick up a copy, look for them by the end of the year at your local Scout Shop or at scoutstuff.org.

The entire 480-page book has been translated into the Spanish version of the same length. This task, spearheaded by the Hispanic Initiatives committee, wasn’t easy. Mayte Millares and Rich Luna at the national office pored over every word in the English edition to find the best Spanish word to convey the same message.

While the English language has a few regional dialects that affect pronunciation and word usage, a person from Boston can still understand a resident of California. But the Spanish language is more nuanced, and a Puerto Rican may not understand every word spoken by someone who lives in Madrid.

For example, “There are six different ways to say green beans,” Millares said.”We had to find the best word that would serve the greatest number of people.”

The Hispanic Initiatives committee gathered Scouting volunteers from Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and different regions of the U.S. to hear feedback about their first draft of the book.

The result is a book that mainly uses what’s called “Broadcast Spanish,” Millares said. It’s a region-neutral version of the language that generally avoids words that could be misinterpreted in different parts of the world.

A byproduct of this, however, was lengthier sentences. Some sentences were as much as 25 percent longer when translated into Spanish, Luna said. This meant extra work for the book’s designers, who used a smaller point size for the font in some places.

Though the task was tough, says Millares, it was rewarding. The book’s translator was a Scout in her native Mexico and enjoyed camping, river rafting, and navigation there. She and the Hispanic Initiatives team had been pushing the BSA to add a Spanish edition, and once they approved the funding, the “ambitious” and time-consuming task began.

“It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love,” she said. “It was like my first-born child in a way.”

Also, an updated bsahandbook.org is on the way. The site, already live and full of great information, will soon have a Spanish version, as well. It will include all of the great interactive info available on the English site but will also feature a glossary that will help Spanish speakers from different regions understand words that may be unfamiliar to them. Not only will the site make the book more accessible to all Scouts, it will also be an educational tool for expanding a Scout or Scouter’s understanding of the world.

Ready for a sneak peek at what’s inside the Spanish edition of the BSA handbook? Follow the jump.

Here are the first seven pages of the Spanish-language handbook:

2 Comments on ¿Hablas español? Spanish version of Boy Scout Handbook now available

  1. Is there any update for when this will come out? It will be a great help to teach the parents of Hispanic youth. The Spanish edition does not show up on ScoutingStuff.

  2. Rafael Argos // January 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm // Reply

    I’m an Eagle Scout and a first generation American. I grew up in an ethnic neighborhood and didn’t speak almost a word of English before I started kindergarten. I also have interpreter strips for two additional languages (one of them Spanish) and have lived and worked for many years in non-English-speaking countries.
    That said, I’m very disturbed by all this : are we going to start having MB pamphlets in Spanish too? How about a whole separate system of councellors, camps, etc. for non-English speaking Scouts? Maybe “El Orden del Arco” (Order of the Arrow)?
    Why not have handbooks in Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Tagalog, French, etc.?
    In my mind, this sets a dangerous precedent : we’re creating a division within Scouting where none should exist. Instead of publishing a “Manual de Scouting”, Scouting should be emphasized as a way of integrating Spanish-speakers into the English-speaking community, rather than creating linguistical islands.

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