AP Defends ‘Obamacare Spanglish’ Story While Using Same ‘Mistakes’ in Other AP Articles

Jan 16, 2014
6:56 PM

It has been a very active two days in the world of U.S. Latino media, after an Associated Press story reported that the Spanish version of HealthCare.gov was reportedly riddled with translation errors and contained Spanglish, suggesting that the translation was generated by a computer program. The story was pretty much refuted and criticized by many—including our founder, Fernando Espuelas for The Hill and Fusion—and when one reporter asked the AP about it, a spokesperson stood by the story.


However, we guess that the AP actually doesn’t read its own stories written in Spanish, since a quick search of health-care related news written by the AP contains the very same “errors” that the Obamacare story was trying to “expose.” Here is one AP article from December (emphasis is ours) where the word “prima” is used for “premium” and not “cousin:”

Para los estadounidenses que seleccionaron planes de seguros a más tardar el 24 de diciembre, la cobertura deberá comenzar el día de Año Nuevo en el caso de los que paguen la prima del mes inicial para la fecha límite, que fue extendida al 10 de enero.

Here is one from just last week:

Es cierto que los pacientes con cáncer y enfermedades como la esclerosis múltiple y la enfermedad de Crohn podrán conseguir seguro y asistencia financiera para pagar la prima mensual. Pero lo que tendrán que pagar anualmente de su bolsillo será tanto que tendrán problemas para no caer en deudas.

Finally, Espuelas shared additional news today that the AP even rewarded the reporters who wrote the misguided piece with an award:

The Associated Press’s recent error-filled article concerning the ObamaCare Spanish-language site apparently is the best story published by the AP over the last month.

The story claimed that the site was written in “Spanglish,” but the site is actually written in proper Spanish, a fact easily discerned by any fluent Spanish-language reader.

Michael Oreskes, AP’s senior managing editor, yesterday gave a “Best of the States” award to the reporters and editors involved in the ObamaCare Spanish-language hatchet job. In an email, Oreskes exalted the high-quality reporting that created this story — above and beyond other stories produced by the AP in the last month. This recognition of supposed excellence comes with a $300 cash prize.

Guess the AP doesn’t get it when it comes to this case.

So, let’s summarize: writing a poorly misleading story saying that correct Spanish terms are mistakes? Perfect for the AP.

Using those very same “mistakes” in your official Spanish-language stories? #NoMames.

Another reason why American newsrooms need more diverse editors.