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Thinking Translation as Cultural Contact: The Conceptual Potential of “Transculturación”

Author(s): María Constanza Guzmán

Journal: Mutatis Mutandis : Revista Latinoamericana de Traducción
ISSN 2011-799X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 246;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: transculturation | cultural analysis | center-periphery relations | Latin America | foreign | vernacular

"Transculturation" has been a recurrent notion in Latin American cultural analysis, particularly from the second half of the XXth century. The term, coined by the Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz, has been taken up by critics such as Ángel Rama and, more recently, Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Mary Louise Pratt, and Walter Mignolo, to examine the dynamics of culture and the cultural dimension of center-periphery relations in Latin America. As it involves language and also goes beyond the boundaries conventionally attached to it, "transculturation" is a useful concept to explore the cultural negotiations and compromises in processes of linguistic and cultural contact in the Americas. This paper discusses the concept's value to address translation and its relation to the institutions and "machines" of culture, as well as its potential to understand the tensions between the foreign and the vernacular in the configuration of a Latin American theory of translation.
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