For those of us who can switch between English and Spanish, we’re sometimes faced with that awkward moment where we don’t know if we should pronounce certain Spanish words as they’re meant to be said or with a sort of accent to make it easier for non-Spanish speakers to understand. Yet, many of us don’t have to make that choice in front of a large audience. For Claudia Tristán – a reporter from El Paso for CBS4/KFOX14 – she’s consciously decided not to say words with an accent in English. She pronounces the name of El Paso in Spanish, but some viewers have called her out for that.
But in the comment section of a video posted two weeks ago (check it out above), she defends herself. “I’m saying El Paso correctly, in Spanish as it’s written,” she wrote in one comment. “I’m a proud bilingual Latina and will continue to pronounce words as they’re meant to,” she wrote in another.
In an interview with HipLatina, she explained that this sort of criticism isn’t new for her. “I’ve received negative comments like these plenty of times before, at my current station and previous ones, too,” she said. “At my previous station I was at a press conference doing another FB Live video. The speaker I already knew from previous stories and knew he spoke Spanish. As the only bilingual reporter for the Fox and Telemundo affiliate in my former market I went right ahead during the presser and asked my Spanish questions for our Telemundo newscast. I left the FB Live rolling and soon after all the trolls came out. My Executive Producer was amazing and jumped on the comment thread quickly. He stood up for me and my bilingualism. I’ve always appreciated that.”
Despite the negative attention it brings her, she’ll continue saying words in Spanish; Vanessa Ruiz – who went viral a few years ago for the same reason – has served as an inspiration. “I was proud to be a Latina in news knowing she was on my team,” she said. “I try to remember her comments every time I respond to the haters.”