A Slip-Up Is Just One Difference Between English and Spanish Videos for Quinn

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, is a granddaughter of Irish immigrants, according to a splashy video released Sunday officially announcing her mayoral campaign.

But not according to the original Spanish-language version.

That video, which was also released on Sunday, called her a bisnieta, or great-granddaughter.

When alerted to the discrepancy, Josh Isay, a campaign consultant whose firm, SKD Knickerbocker, and Mark Guma produced both ads, said that there had been an error in translation, and that a corrected version would be available later Monday.

Minor though it may have been, the error illustrates a complication in appealing to Latino voters in Spanish. And this year, the stakes are especially high, since all of the mayoral candidates are aggressively courting the city’s growing Latino population, which could make up 20 percent of the electorate.

For the most part, Ms. Quinn’s Spanish-language video hews to the same outline as the English-language one: a biographical opening followed by her record as the Council speaker and finishing with her top priorities if she is elected mayor.

But there are notable differences. For one thing, the English video clocks in at over five minutes and features Ms. Quinn addressing the camera at length, and sometimes emotionally, especially when talking about her mother, who died of cancer when Ms. Quinn was 16.

The Spanish one, by contrast, is only 98 seconds. And it is much less personal and in large part is narrated by a man. That is because Ms. Quinn does not speak Spanish, and has no desire, she has said in the past, to utter a few phrases in a way that two of her Democratic rivals, Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, and John C. Liu, the comptroller, did at a recent forum.

There is less immediacy in the Spanish video, too: the narrator never specifically mentions that Ms. Quinn began her campaign on Sunday with a “walk and talk” tour of the five boroughs.

And it’s telling that Ms. Quinn’s Spanish ad highlights several quotations from El Diario while the English one quotes often from The New York Times and other English-language publications. As a result, the Spanish video has the feel of a political ad that could run on television, anytime between now and November.

There are also subtle differences in emphasis, if not content.

In the English-language video, her top goals, she says, are middle-class housing, child care, good public schools, safe neighborhoods and jobs in all five boroughs. The Spanish-language one lists jobs as No. 1, followed by education, crime and housing.

As for immigrant roots, Ms. Quinn, in the English version, doesn’t talk about her Irish heritage, as the granddaughter of immigrants, until the 3:15 mark. But all it takes is four seconds for the narrator in the Spanish version to describe her, erroneously, as a great-granddaughter.

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