Language and culture are vital subjects in modern society. Each week, LanguageLine curates three related stories that we think should be top-of-mind. Here are this week's "Liner Notes."
Latinos are projected to represent 22.4 percent of the US labor force by 2030 and more than 30 percent by 2060, according to a McKinsey report titled "The Economic State of Latinos in America."
The report emphasizes that addressing barriers preventing Latinos from full economic participation could have a significant impact on the US economy, unlocking their entrepreneurial potential, creating millions of jobs, driving consumer spending, and building intergenerational wealth.
Although Latinos comprise 18.4 percent of the US population and 17.3 percent of the labor force, their share is expected to increase by over 30 percent by 2060. Latinos have shown higher rates of intergenerational mobility, start more businesses, and have an increasing presence in skilled and higher-paid occupations. They embody the American dream of upward mobility through hard work and the belief that each successive generation will be better off than the previous one.
However, the American dream remains elusive for many Latinos. While US-born Latinos enjoy higher wages and intergenerational mobility compared to foreign-born Latinos, both groups still face significant disparities compared to non-Latino White Americans.
Latino Americans earn only 73 cents for every dollar earned by White Americans, and they encounter obstacles in accessing financing for business ventures. Latinos also struggle with access to essential resources such as food, housing, and healthcare. Moreover, their household wealth is only one-fifth that of White Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges, disproportionately affecting Latino lives and livelihoods.
The report reveals that Latinos are collectively underpaid by $288 billion annually. Achieving full parity could result in an additional annual spending of $660 billion by Latinos. Latino-owned businesses have the potential to generate an extra $2.3 trillion in total revenue each year and create 735,000 new businesses, supporting 6.6 million jobs. Additionally, the annual flow of net wealth from one generation to the next among Latinos could be $380 billion higher.
Despite progress in income, wealth, and intergenerational mobility, Latinos still face significant barriers. Income disparities persist, and Latinos are often concentrated in lower-wage occupations. Latino-owned businesses, while growing in number, fall short in terms of share and performance. Latinos encounter challenges in securing financing, lack access to professional support and mentoring, and face limited e-commerce presence.
Latino consumers, who make up 18 percent of the US population, account for only 11.4 percent of aggregate consumer spending. Closing this gap could result in an additional $500 billion in consumer expenditure annually. Latino households spend a larger share of their income on essential items compared to White households and often face limited access to various products and services. However, Latino consumption is growing at a rate of 6 percent annually, driven by an increase in high-income Latino households.
While Latino wealth has been increasing at an average rate of 7 percent annually, it remains significantly lower than that of non-Latino Whites. The median wealth of Latino households is only one-fifth of their White counterparts. The report attributes this wealth gap to a lack of accumulated family wealth, lower rates of saving, and lower participation in retirement programs and investments.
The report concludes that although Latinos are gradually integrating into the US economy, significant barriers persist, particularly for first-generation immigrants. Addressing these barriers is not only a moral imperative but also an opportunity to strengthen the economy for all Americans. The report acknowledges that resolving the identified gaps will require time and effort, and it aims to provide a starting point for enhancing economic dynamism and inclusivity.
Full report: McKinsey
Three Translated Novels for Summer
The interconnectedness of fiction and history is often overlooked, but they are inherently linked and cannot be fully separated. Both literature and history offer valuable insights into the past, even when fictional elements are involved.
"Kairos" by Jenny Erpenbeck and "Ivan and Phoebe" by Oksana Lutsyshyna transport readers to different historical periods. "Kairos" explores the final days of divided Germany, while "Ivan and Phoebe" delves into the early years of Ukraine's post-Soviet independence. Françoise Sagan's "The Four Corners of the Heart" reflects mid-20th-century French bourgeois society and serves as a significant piece of literary history as an unfinished work by a renowned author.
In "Kairos," protagonist Katharina reflects on her past with her deceased lover Hans, prompting a journey through memory, love, and the shifting tides of history. Erpenbeck's prose, translated by Michael Hofmann, beautifully captures the emotional depth of the narrative.
"Ivan and Phoebe" centers on protagonist Ivan's mind and community, with his wife Phoebe playing a minor role. The novel explores Ivan's misogyny and unkindness, rooted in tradition, thoughtlessness, and trauma during post-Soviet Ukraine. Despite some flaws in translation, the book offers a poignant portrayal of historical trauma.
Françoise Sagan's unfinished manuscript, "The Four Corners of the Heart," presents a satire of self-interest in French bourgeois society. While it lacks the precision of her completed works, it still contributes to literary history.
These novels showcase how literature and history intersect, offering diverse perspectives on different historical eras. From Erpenbeck's intimate portrayal of divided Germany to Lutsyshyna's exploration of trauma in post-Soviet Ukraine, and finally, to Sagan's glimpse into French bourgeois society, each work provides valuable insights into the complexities of the past.
Full story: NPR
Translators Discuss Their Art
The New York Times gathered a panel of five renowned translators specializing in bringing foreign literature into English. Their perspectives shed light on the rewards and obstacles entailed in this challenging profession.
Translating a literary work involves a multitude of approaches, unique to each translator. Far from a mechanical process, it is a fusion of artistry and skill. Translators make choices that reflect their sensibilities, emotional landscape, and personal background.
Regrettably, literary translators have historically received little acknowledgment. The names of those who beautifully rendered beloved books often went unnoticed, absent from the covers. In the publishing realm, they were often undervalued, undercompensated, and deprived of rights and royalties for their invaluable contributions.
Fortunately, the efforts of translators themselves and organizations like PEN America have led to increased recognition for the field. PEN America, for instance, recently released a manifesto highlighting the significance of literary translation and advocating for the rights of translators. These initiatives have enhanced the visibility of translators and fostered a greater appreciation for literary translation as a distinct and creative art form in its own right.
Read the panel discussion here.