• A study analyzes the role of translation in the establishment of the Spanish empire in America

    February 12, 2015

    Professor Roberto Valdeón states in his book entitled ‘Translation and the Spanish Empire in the Americas', published by John Benjamins publishing house, that translation served as a tool to dominate the natives as well as their resistance capacity.

    Malinche interpretando para Cortés.
    A research work of the University of Oviedo analyzes the role of translation in the establishment of the Spanish empire in America, and its relevance as regards the rivalry existing between Spain and England. Professor of English Philology Roberto Valdeón has just published the book entitled Translation and the Spanish Empire in the Americas, in which, through several resources from those times and taking into account the English translations of the Spanish Chronicles, stated that translation has a prominent role in the 16th and 17th centuries in the process of establishment of the Spanish empire. 
    This book has been published by John Benjamins publishing house (Amsterdam/Philadelphia), in the framework of the prestigious collection Benjamins Translation Library, which publishes around five volumes a year written by researchers from all parts of the world. 
    Among other issues, this book addresses the way translation was used as a dominance tool, but also as a symbol of resistance by the Indians. As Spanish settlers established new colonies in the so called New World, says Valdeón, "Aztec, Incan, or any other noblemen form other regions, learnt the language of their conquerors, got used to their laws, and used this knowledge to claim their rights in the new society, usually in order to keep the privileges they had before".  
    Religious orders, for example, "turned to translation to impose religious dogmas related to Catholicism, sometimes through rites like confession, which required interpreters to understand natives, and provide them with a Christian vision of the world", the author claims.