Marta E. Sánchez

in Latino Studies

ISBN: 9780199913701
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

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  • History of the Americas
  • US Cultural History


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Translation is a cultural mediation involving, most commonly, two different national languages. This description, however, does not entirely fit with translation in the context of Latino studies. This is because the language and literature of Latino studies serve as an ethnic, expressive medium of US multilingual society informed by the history and culture of the Spanish-language countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central America. Since the mid-20th century, English has been the primary linguistic register of the cultural groups included in what became Latino studies in the 1980s, but the Spanish language has been an integral component of the history of these groups at least since the early 19th century. Long before the 1990s, when numerous Latino imaginative narratives in English appeared in Spanish translation (with a lesser number translated from Spanish to English), for consumption both outside and inside the United States, the first generation of Mexican Americans developed practices of translation and interpretation in a networked society of English and Spanish. This earliest and, in the early 21st century, most numerous of US Latino populations lived in two languages, meaning they had to come to terms on a daily basis with a cultural history different from their own and establish lines of contact with it. Living in a region that became part of the United States in 1848, they wrote in Spanish, and some of these texts remained untranslated until the late 20th century. Throughout the 20th century, particularly the latter half, movements of people from Mexico and South, Central, and Caribbean America have made Spanish the largest, most sustained of all non-English US languages, and the United States, among the top five Spanish-speaking nations in the world. These migrations have reinforced the need for translation and interpretation in real-world settings. Although translators and interpreters in Latino communities negotiate multilingual meaning every day in pragmatic situations of law, medicine, politics, diplomacy, public health, and education, little work has been done to develop translation as a field of scholarly inquiry. The entries that follow constitute a preliminary attempt toward this end. Chosen primarily from the expressive realms of language and literature, including some primary texts in both English and Spanish and the translational crossings between them, these texts offer several entry points into a body of imaginative and critical work that will lead to interpretive frameworks and diverse methodological approaches to translation.

Article.  10651 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; US Cultural History

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