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10/7/14 - Alaska gay marriage ban goes to court; Translating election materials to Gwitchin not easy

As the U.S. Supreme Court declines to review appeals from five states seeking to prohibit same sex marriage, a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Alaska's ban on Friday.

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Following a U.S. District Court Order, the Alaska Division of Elections has until the end of the week (Oct. 10) to provide outreach and poll workers with Yup'ik and Gwitchin translations of some 600 pages of election materials and voting information. As KUAC's Emily Schwing reports, Gwitchin translators say it's hard going. There are no Gwitchin words for certain technical and legal phrases, and sometimes they have to choose from among several Gwitchin words that might apply. Translators Alan Payton and Marilyn Savage  are taking care to keep their own views on issues out of their word choices  on candidates and ballot measures. The two say they've faced other challenges, though, such as translating Shakespeare into Gwitchin. And they're happy to know tribal elders will be able to hear and understand issues in their own language.