Translation as Instrument of Empire

Translation as Instrument of Empire

by Joshua M. Price

But the picture is rarely clear-cut. As they ply their intercultural craft, translators or interpreters also sometimes demonstrate a certain complicity with the terms of domination even as they may otherwise subvert the workings of power.

In the signal year of 1492, noted linguist and grammarian Antonio de Nebrija presented the first Spanish (Castilian) grammar book to Queen Isabel. The Queen reportedly asked what use the book could possibly be to her, since she already spoke Spanish. “Your Most Enlightened Majesty,” he wrote, “language has always been a companion of empire” (que siempre la lengua fue compañera del imperio). Nebrija’s reply was canny, even cynical – he flatteringly appealed to the queen’s imperial ambitions. Or perhaps Nebrija’s insight was uncanny – he recognized the world-transforming power of the grammar book. 

Nebrija’s observation suggests a corollary: translation has also been a companion of empire. As imperial instrument, translation has taken various forms. The preeminent example is the translation of the Bible. In the last two centuries, Christian missionaries have, for the purpose of evangelizing, translated the Bible into hundreds of languages throughout the world. The use of Bible translations to promote religious conversion has been one of the most enduring and readily identifiable examples of imperiling of Indigenous knowledge through cultural domination. Starting in the early days of colonization, legions of missionaries have translated not only the Gospels but also the catechism and other Christian teachings and texts into Maya, Guaraní, Tagalog, Wolof, and other languages. As a shorthand, we could call this imperialism through epistemic imposition, or translation-as-imposition. 

However, imposing ideas is only one type of intellectual or cultural imperialism. If we take Antonio de Nebrija at his word – that a grammar book can be an instrument of empire – then we can look for practices of ordering, classifying, naming, labeling, and categorizing as part of a colonial structure. 

Colonial-era Bilingual Dictionaries and Hidden Asymmetries

For instance, early bilingual dictionaries were also instruments of colonization. The bilingual dictionary, as we currently think of it – a handbook between two living languages – was a sixteenth-century invention of Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit missionaries from the Iberian Peninsula and other parts of Europe who had devoted years, even decades, to New World evangelism. In order to preach more effectively, Bernardino de Sahagún, Maturino Gilberti, Luis de Valdivia, and others studied languages indigenous to the Americas. The learned clergymen developed word lists, glossaries, and eventually full-fledged bilingual dictionaries, known as vocabularios, as well as grammars to assist in their missionary work. 

The vocabularios were an instrument for making incommensurate languages and worldviews commensurate. In fact, this characteristic – grinding down two worldviews to the point where they can be compared – seen in terms of its colonial origin, gives a clue to how early colonial missionaries perceived difference and then built inequality into the differences between themselves and Indigenous people, whose languages most of the missionaries viewed as faulty and deficient.

These missionaries, in other words, came to their ministrations with all the precepts and presuppositions of their time regarding language, non-Christian gods, the humanity of the people they encountered, and whether they possessed souls. Fray Diego Gonçález Holguín’s Vocabulario de la lengua general de todo el Peru llamada lengua Qquichua, o del Inca (1608) left out or distorted Indigenous concepts such as inti raymi, the sun festival, since the conquistadores perceived it as diabolical.  Instead, Gonçález Holguín glossed “ynti” narrowly as “sun” (sol), ignoring the godlike qualities the concept Inti connoted: he simply eliminated the pagan god as referent. Gonçález Holguín, Ludovico Bertonio, and other missionaries found ways to translate confession, God, the liturgy, and so on by infusing existing Quechua or Aymara words with new meanings or by fashioning hybrid neologisms. They also included in their dictionaries telling phrases such as (my renderings in English) “There is always room at Mass,” “You haven’t been to church if you haven’t been to Mass,” and “Every time I think of God, I want to cry.” The bilingual dictionary was thus part of an effort to promote and purvey a Christian worldview and eschatology as truer than and spiritually superior to the subject epistemologies. Under the guise of a word-for-word symmetry between languages, the bilingual dictionaries imposed a hidden asymmetry. 

By linking them together, the bilingual vocabularios transformed Nahuatl, Aymara, Purépecha, and Spanish. In addition to the mutual linguistic transformations built into the vocabularios, these fascinating tomes also included introductory narratives that advanced colonial philosophies of language and provided rationales for the study of the subject languages. While a few of the friars praised the dignity of the Nahua, Guaraní, and other people they came to know, and made note of the elegance of their languages, Bertonio and many other priests laid out in their vocabularios a series of complaints about the people and the languages that have been repeated by others over the subsequent centuries of colonial and postcolonial rule. For them, Indigenous languages were deficient, lacked crucial concepts, and were unstable. The Spaniards characterized Indigenous people as recalcitrant and dissolute, and their beliefs as magical and dangerous, not least to their very souls. These arguments date from at least the initial period of colonization, although they were prefigured in Catholics’ attitudes toward Jews and Muslims who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the previous centuries of the Reconquista. 

Ludovico Bertonio’s Vocabulario de la lengua aymara (1612) is peppered with the disrespectful language he often used to refer to the Aymara people: 

Los indios son tan mal habituados, tan llenos de espinas y abrojos sus corazones que la semilla de la divina palabra que en ellos se siembra no puede fructificar, y finalmente, que es tiempo perdido el cultivar esta gente. (Bertonio [1612] 2011, 44) 

(The Indians have such bad tendencies, and their hearts are so full of thorns and thistles, that one cannot harvest the seed of the divine word in them, and ultimately, cultivating these people is a waste of time.) 

Although he devoted himself for decades to Aymara, Bertonio complained that the speakers were not capable of the kind of abstract thought Europeans were. They were childlike, of limited intellectual capacity, and uncultivated. Bertonio tended to conceive of the Aymara people as “simple communicators,” to use Gabriela Veronelli’s phrase; like many of his contemporaries, he saw the Native people as brutes, barely capable of following orders. 

Pero no son éstas las mayores dificultades que se hallan en aprender esta lengua. Otras hay mayores que suelen entibiar mucho aún a los que se sujetan de buena gana al trabajo. La una es la poca capacidad que echan de ver en los indios. (Bertonio [1612] 2011, 44) 

(But these are not the biggest difficulties one finds in learning this language. Other difficulties, even larger, would dampen the enthusiasm of anyone working hard to master the language. One difficulty is the limited potential one sees in the Indians.) 

This dualistic view of Indigenous languages, as conceptually rich but also deficient and unstable, and dualistic view of the people, as full of thorns but also possessing souls deserving the divine word, set up a contradiction between the descriptive aim of their glossaries and the prescriptive goals implicit in the administrative ambition of standardizing the Indigenous languages and the missionary project of conversion.

Entry for “ynti” (“sol”) in Gonçález Holguín’s Vocabulario de la lengua general de todo el Peru llamada lengua Qquichua, o del Inca (1608)

Racial Paradoxes of Colonial Philology

In order to understand this paradox – dehumanizing people while trying to convert them for the sake of their souls, scrupulously studying and documenting their languages while belittling them and trying to destroy their cultures – a brief detour is needed. If the Catholic priests supposed that the languages of the Americas, their speakers, and the knowledge they produced were inferior to the language, knowledge, and people of Castile, some thought this was due to circumstance – Indigenous people had merely been denied the Divine Word before the providential arrival of the Catholic church. Yet missionary rhetoric often shaded into attributing intrinsic inferiority to them. In these latter examples, one can see an incipient process of racialization creep in. Casting the Quechua and Nahua as inferior went beyond skin color and extended to the racialization of languages themselves, as well as the racialization of knowledge and religion

Bertonio’s ambivalence situates him somewhere along this continuum of European thought that racialized language. At one pole, the fiery orator Antonio de Montesinos, his more famous disciple Bartolomé de las Casas – often called the first human rights activist – and the studious Andrés de Olmos all seemed to recognize in the various Indigenous peoples a humanity and capacity as full as their own. At the other pole, the notorious figure of Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, in his disputation with Bartolomé de las Casas, put forward an Aristotelian argument for the inherent inferiority and slave-like characteristics of the people of the New World. Some missionaries followed this mold of treating them as if they were “homunculi,” to use Ginés de Sepúlveda’s infamous phrase, incapable of producing true knowledge on the level of the Europeans. Somewhere in between stood figures, Bertonio and Domingo de Betanzos among them, who did not so much wholly dehumanize Indigenous people as ascribe to them a limited, reduced humanity, a humanity they nonetheless clearly recognized: the missionaries, after all, did not try and convert deer, beavers, stones, or rivers. Some drew a binary between, on the one hand, Christians who were divinely inspired and fully human, and who enjoyed the full recognition of the majesty of Castile, and, on the other hand, the Caliban-like figure of the native.

Translating epistemologies from one language to another presupposed and played a crucial, if variable, role in arranging people and traditions of knowledge into hierarchical categories of worthiness. In this way, translation was, and is, sometimes involved in race-making. Translation can be, and has been, enlisted as part of a racializing project. 

Ranging from the symbolic and the social to the material, translation here involves employing rationalities and techniques as part of a system of colonial governance. In the case of Iberian missionaries, epistemicide involved both royal and ecclesiastical authorities since publishing required seals of approval from king and church. However, employing translation as a technology of the coloniality of power is not confined to one particular form of government, modality of governmentality, or imperial power. Soon enough, the Portuguese, Dutch, and English would begin to engage in their own versions of epistemicide through translation as colonization became a global phenomenon (the term “epistemicide” comes from legal scholar Boaventura de Sousa Santos). 

It must be emphasized that using translation in the service of colonization was hardly a case of a Western juggernaut rolling over submissive Indigenous cultures and other subaltern cultures such as those of the African diaspora. In this uneven war, different elements of the colonial structure (military, ecclesiastical, royal, mercenary, settler) struggled for cultural ascendency against the arrayed elements of Indigeneity (most prominently the existing Aztec/Mexica/Nahua and Inca/Quechua hegemonies as well as the thousands of other nations responding in their respective ways to the threats Europeans posed). 

Struggles over interpretation have always been at the center of these colonial wars of domination. To have one’s interpretation, or interpretive framework, be ascendant or hegemonic was of key importance.  Translation is a privileged location from which to identify those struggles over interpretation. Analyzing translation practices is one way to study the struggles on a granular level. Translation, even amid tremendous power imbalances, is, as Brian Baer has pointed out,  

not merely a site of passive appropriation or of unresolvable contradictions but rather . . . a site of complex negotiation, deployment, and reworking of Western symbols and images to suit the needs of a target readership. (Baer 2018, 42) 

In his work on translating contemporary queer terminology, Brian Baer warns against seeing translation from hegemonic to nonhegemonic cultures as limited to imposing foreign ideas and eclipsing nonhegemonic knowledge: 

By focusing not only on what is lost but also on “what is brought to life through cultural permeability, exchange, influence or simple coexistence,” translation can be seen as an expression of linguistic and political agency rather than an act of submission to the dominating Anglophone culture. (2018, 42, quoting Kulpa, Mizielinska, and Stasinska 2012) 

Embedded within these imperial wars, Indigenous people, people of African descent, and other people racialized as nonwhite, when they have served as translators or interpreters, have been active as linguistic and political agents in just the way that Baer describes. Subaltern translators have sometimes destabilized Eurocentric knowledge, rechanneled it, or otherwise shored up resistance to it. They have sometimes succeeded in unsettling the terms of coloniality, to use Sylvia Wynter’s turn of phrase. 

But the picture is rarely clear-cut. As they ply their intercultural craft, translators or interpreters also sometimes demonstrate a certain complicity with the terms of domination even as they may otherwise subvert the workings of power. The archetypal figure of La Malinche in Mexico embodies this equivocal role. Her complex identity as Cortés’ translator, interpreter and concubine (forced into sexual slavery or lover?) has been an enduring legacy throughout Mexico and the Southwest United States. 

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Latin American criollo intellectuals used translation as part of their ongoing struggles for national and regional independence. Texts such as the French Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen of 1789, the United States’ Declaration of Independence, and others were translated as part of emancipation and nation-building movements as Georges Bastin and Nancy Piñeiro have shown. This process was not without contradictions; in addition to the importation of European thought for articulating democratic aspirations and frameworks for universal rights, some forms of domination were to remain unchanged. For instance, for many bourgeois revolutionaries, independence was consistent with maintaining slavery and gender hierarchy.

More generally, no matter their identity, translators and interpreters in the Americas have been agents located ambiguously and ambivalently within these larger imperial projects. The ambiguity and ambivalence may be intrinsic to the role of translator. Shuttling between worlds, translators have historically been both valued and maligned, necessary for colonization even while subject to suspicion by colonizer and colonized alike, viewed as unfaithful, and feminized. Legions of amanuenses, bilingual lieutenants, kidnapped Taíno, Maya, and other Indigenous people, missionary priests, their Indigenous acolytes, hybrid scholars, court interpreters, conversos, enslaved mistresses, professional linguists, adventurers, amateur philologists, and mestizx royalty have played formal and informal roles as translators in the colonial project. Over the centuries countless bilingual and multilingual actors were forcibly enlisted, and sometimes volunteered, in ways planned and unplanned, to translate or interpret in the cultural interface implicit in cultural domination. In these often humble, barely visible roles, usually outside of the starring part, translators and interpreters contributed to the form modernity has taken in the Americas. 

Given the monumental violence visited by Europeans on Indigenous nations and people of African, Arab, and Asian descent (among others), combined with the social and cultural complexity of these colonial encounters and the heterogeneity of the elements involved, the mutual changes reverberated throughout every sphere of life – the material, the economic, the spiritual, the sexual, the racial, and the linguistic.

Title page from Ludovico Bertonio’s Vocabulario de la lengua Aymara (1612)
From Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática de la lengua castellana (1492)

From Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática de la lengua castellana (1492)

Translation as Transculturation

As early as his first letters back to the Castilian Crown, Columbus introduced new words into Spanish. In the early colonial period, ají, canoa, hamaca, and aguacate  – “chile,” “canoe,” “hammock,” and “avocado,” taken from Arawak, Taíno, Nahuatl, Carib, and other languages of the Americas – were incorporated into Spanish and have become a standard part of the Spanish lexicon; the standard English words are also derivatives from Indigenous languages. European obsession with chocolate, potatoes, corn, and chili peppers – all vegetables of the Americas – changed not just European gastronomy and European languages but also European and global economies. Indigenous people from (what is now) the Caribbean had used tobacco as part of ritual activity for centuries, possibly millennia; the Europeans took tobacco and industrialized its production, processing, and consumption, thus transforming its meaning and purpose. In 1940, the famed Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz called the mutual transformation “transculturation.” With the Conquest and the transatlantic slave trade, Catholic practices changed, combining with Yoruba, Quechua, Tupí, and other cultures, as people engaged in spiritual and cultural movements that came to be known as santería, candomblé, the Ghost Dance, and myriad other practices and syncretic traditions.

If the resulting hybridity was pervasive, the material aspects of appropriation were decidedly one-sided. The financing of the Spanish Armada and the gilding of baroque churches throughout Spain relied on the gold and silver taken from the Caribbean and New Granada or mined in Potosí.

Translation as Cultural Refraction

Studying epistemicide includes examining the social norms at play in how a text or utterance fares in the target, or receiving, society, including whether the translated text is celebrated or stigmatized, seen as a source of power or potential danger, hailed as fresh air by one class or group of people, treated as a source of potential subversion or cultural contamination by another, and so on. An understanding of translation as cultural refraction, as critic André Lefevere once put it, leads us to see how translation contributes to, or undermines, dominant ways of knowing. The description of a translation must include its cultural reception or else it risks being sociologically anemic. 

Seeing translation as cultural refraction goes against traditional literary approaches to evaluating a translation. Conventionally, literary criticism of a translated text is reduced to appraising its fidelity to the original and its fluidity. Hence the fixation on what is “lost” in translation and all the clichés that accompany rather narrow views of translation (“Traduttore, traditore,” etc.). To see translation in terms of epistemicide is to move beyond a narrowly aesthetic and semantic analysis of textual translation to include analysis of an array of political, historical, and material conditions that surround the translation. Seeing translation as refraction means seeing translation not as the transposition of an intrinsic and unchanging meaning of a text but as a transforming process of reframing knowledge and even identity.

“Tenochtitlan, Entrance of Hernan Cortes. Cortez and La Malinche meet Moctezuma II, November 8, 1519,” from the “Lienzo de Tlaxcala” (ca. 1550)


I restrict the term “epistemicide” to describe translation only in cases where it is undertaken with the assumption that Eurocentric knowledge is inherently better than that of non-Western others. Epistemicide through translation is part of larger Eurocentric and colonial projects to subordinate non-European languages, cultures, and traditions and enact practices and frameworks that perform or uphold hierarchical social relations and social processes. Not all translation is epistemicide and not all epistemicide involves translation. Merely changing the meaning of a word or phrase through translation is not a sufficient condition to count as epistemicide, since change or transformation is an intrinsic or inevitable part of the process of translation – indeed, translation is transformation by definition. To translate a text is to put it in other terms, and thus interpret it. Even when the translation seems to involve destroying or distorting the semantic content, this attribute alone does not necessarily imply epistemicide in the sense in which I mean it.

Refusal to Translate: Are There Words That Are “Untranslatable”?

In some cases, epistemicide is signaled by an organization’s or a legal entity’s refusal to translate. Two contemporary examples illustrate the point. In The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), a programmatic and influential book in the nascent field of performance studies, Diana Taylor argues that the word and concept “performance” is untranslatable. “Performance” refers in the first instance to theater and performance art, but also, more broadly, to other activities that can be framed as performance, such as political demonstrations, religious rituals, and sporting events; some performance scholars frame their discipline even more broadly and include the “performance” of identity. (This sense of “performance” is distinct from the way in which performance is sometimes used in a business context.) 

Taylor argues that “performance” should come into Latin America in English because in her view there is no viable alternative. The English word should travel from the Anglo-American academy to Portuguese-, Spanish-, Quechua-, Guaraní-, Patois-, and French-speaking countries throughout the Americas. In those non-English contexts, “performance” names and frames a variety of cultural production and activities under its disciplinary domain. 

Does the emerging discipline of performance studies thus perform a kind of intellectual imperialism in Latin America and elsewhere? That is, do its disciplinary categories, even the very terminology of “performance,” risk a kind of neo-colonial imposition on the Global South? Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui has been an incisive critic of this sort of piracy, in which academics from the United States or Western Europe appropriate ideas from Latin America and the Global South to package, copyright, and market as their own: “Just as in the global market for material goods, ideas leave the country converted into raw material, which become regurgitated and jumbled in the final product” (2012, 104). Rivera Cusicanqui likens this process to Westerners accumulating exotic masks for their living room walls: “We have cooptation and mimesis, the selective incorporation of ideas and selective approval of those that better nourish a fashionable, depoliticized, and comfortable multiculturalism that allows one to accumulate exotic masks in one’s living room” (2012, 104). Intellectuals positioned in privileged institutional locations turn ideas and creative works into aesthetic objects for Western consumption and Western profit. Questions of intellectual appropriation from Latin America are nuanced, and specific cases are often far from black-and-white. Who owns an idea? Who owns a style of activism or a particular political tactic? An aesthetic?

Still from “Common Purpose: Tarek Mehanna supporters speak out for him,” a YouTube video by The Boston Globe

Translation as Terrorism?

A politically laden refusal to translate has also wended its way into the criminal justice system in the United States. A Boston criminal court’s refusal to translate the word and concept “jihad” was at stake in the terrorism trial of translator Tarek Mehanna, who was born and grew up in Massachusetts. In 2011, Mehanna was on trial for translating texts that allegedly aided and abetted terrorism.  The evidence against him was a round-trip flight to Yemen, where (everyone concurred) he did not meet anyone or do much of anything, and a few internet postings of his personal translations, including one titled “Thirty-Nine Ways to Make Jihad,” a jejune text of dubious provenance that, as David Cole has pointed out, was already widely available on the Internet in multiple translations. This was what the prosecution presented to support its charge that Tarek Mehanna provided material support for terrorism. These bits of circumstantial evidence were enough in a climate where, as the appellate court put it in the opening words of its 2013 decision on his case, “terrorism is the modern-day equivalent of the bubonic plague: it is an existential threat.”

At trial, Mehanna argued that translating these texts was his way of engaging in jihad, which, he argued, was a common, everyday word that could simply be translated as “struggle,” a translation for the word “jihad” that has been defended by numerous Arabic translators and scholars of Islam. Mehanna saw himself as a critic of American imperialism and argued that his translation work was protected by the First Amendment. 

Fueled by the hyperbole of the war on terror, the prosecution nevertheless argued that the word “jihad” was untranslatable and referred to terrorism. The court sided with the prosecution, and in its decision, which hinged in part on the meaning of jihad (the word), the court insisted on leaving the word in Arabic. Mehanna’s interpretation of jihad was not taken up by the courts. The court’s refusing to translate jihad was a way of keeping the concept “foreign” – orientalizing Mehanna, in effect, by giving an exotic aura to his activities and making him dangerous and foreign, despite his best efforts to frame himself as a homegrown American. Insisting that jihad was untranslatable was a way to criminalize Mehanna and his activities. 

Performance and jihad. In each case, powerful people – powerful forces based in the United States – argued that certain terms are untranslatable. Though the rationale is different in each, both arguments form part of a larger process of cultural domination. To see the distinct logic in each case, and to see how the logic is epistemicidal, requires taking stock of the social and political stakes involved in a particular refusal to translate. Refusing to translate the performance in performance studies is part of the logic of extractivism, the practice of extracting cultural goods from Latin America and the Global South and using Western categories to sort them. Refusing to translate jihad is part of the logic of criminalizing Arab and Arab American translators. 

In this way, we can map translation practices onto colonial conflict, imperialism, and latter-day forms of cultural domination, collusion, and opposition to domination. Many subaltern translation practices use the resources provided by the colonizer, but in a way that moves us beyond the dichotomy of colonizer/colonized, oppressor/oppressed, or Western domination/Native resistance. These complex tactics of the subaltern translator hearken to other possible futures, cracking through the fissures of colonial modernity. As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has commented about the subversive strain in Mahasweta Devi’s stories (which Spivak has translated), “They must operate with the resources of a history shaped by colonization against the legacy of colonization” (Spivak 1995, 31). This “deconstructive embrace,” as Spivak terms Devi’s use of language, “is not only her message, but also her medium.” 

Translation as a struggle for control occurs in the legal realm, the literary realm, the scientific realm, and the academic realm. In some of the cases above, epistemicide is the implicit or explicit goal; in other cases, epistemicide is an effect of cultural domination. 

A partial taxonomy of epistemicide makes this point a bit more concrete. 

  1. Hidden asymmetries in bilingual dictionaries. To develop the first bilingual dictionaries, missionaries tried to find equivalences between two languages. Though perhaps they were not so much finding equivalences as confecting them. The missionary fathers were, in effect, bringing incommensurate languages into relationships for the first time. The apparent equivalences, however, masked a deeper asymmetry that was a basic premise of the entire evangelical project. For the missionaries, whatever their differences, the benighted Indigenous people, with the incomplete vessels of their respective languages, lived in ignorance of the divine word, scripture, church doctrine and the mysteries of the Catholic faith. Grinding the languages into equivalence was to cement a hidden hierarchy between them. 
  2. Translation as piracy. Creativity in the Global South is assimilated or filtered through the lens of Western disciplinary (or interdisciplinary) categories in a kind of imperial piracy. Yet Latin American intellectuals, performance artists, theorists, and theater-studies scholars are hardly passive in how they respond to this process, often changing or widening the terms of what counts as “theory” as they individually contest, affirm, or add nuance to the terms of what can be considered theory. 
  3. Translation as criminalization. Criminalizing translators, as in the case of Tarek Mehanna, criminalizing the act of translating itself, and criminalizing the knowledge or information in those translations represent contemporary forms of epistemicide. Criminalizing translation as an activity is particularly insidious because it spreads fear and suspicion in racialized communities. It makes people hesitate before translating, or agreeing to translate, especially texts or discourses related to pressing domestic and overseas questions of war, labor, religion, terror, state terror, immigration, race, criminal justice, and so on. It thus hampers the forming of communities and inhibits community members from speaking about what is happening to them.

Translation is often conceived of as emancipatory. Translation extends knowledge to new realms, granting it an afterlife, in Walter Benjamin’s famous phrase. The three kinds of translation I catalogue here provide something more like the opposite – when motivated as part of a larger structure or institutional framework, translation can be an instrument of predation in unanticipated ways.

Select Bibliography

Baer, Brian, 2018, “Beyond Either/Or: Confronting the Fact of Translation in Global Sexuality Studies”, in Brian James Baer and Klaus Kaindl (dir.), Queering Translation, Translating the Queer: Theory, Practice, Activism, New York, Routledge.

Bertonio, Ludovico. (1612) 2011. Vocabulario de la lengua aymara. La Paz, Bolivia: Radio San Gabriel / Instituto de Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas-Amazónicas.

Gonçález Holguín, Diego. (1608) 2007. Vocabulario de la lengua general de todo el Peru llamada lengua Qquichua, o del Inca. Lima: Francisco de Canto. Digitized edition, Runasimipi Qespisqa Software.

Lefevere, André. 2000. “Mother Courage’s Cucumbers: Text, System and Refraction in a Theory of Literature.” In The Translation Studies Reader, edited by Lawrence Venuti, 233–50. London: Routledge. 

Mehanna, Tarek. 2012. “Tarek Mehanna’s Sentencing Statement.” History Is a Weapon (blog). Accessed January 2018.

Nebrija, Antonio de. (1492) 1981. Gramática de la lengua castellana. Madrid: Editora Nacional.

Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia. 2012. “Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization.” South Atlantic Quarterly 111, no. 1 (Winter): 95–109.

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. 2014. Epistemologies of the South: Just Against Epistemicide. Boulder and London, Paradigm Publishers. 

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1995. “Translator’s Note.” In Imaginary Maps: Three Stories by Mahasweta Devi. New York: Routledge.

Taylor, Diana. 2003. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Veronelli, Gabriela. 2015. “Sobre la colonialidad del lenguaje y el decir.” Universitas Humanística 81:34–58.

Joshua Martin Price is an anthropologist and Professor of socio-legal studies and criminology at Toronto Metropolitan University. He has collaborated on the translation of two books of Latin American philosophy, Heidegger´s Shadow by José Pablo Feinmann (with María Constanza Guzmán) and Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América by Rodolfo Kusch (with María Lugones). He writes on translation, race, and state violence. His most recent book is entitled Translation and Epistemicide: Racialization of Language in the Americas.

Originally published on Hopscotch Translation
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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