Panel 6

Tuesday, 26 April 2011 23:21

Translation to and from Portuguese

Call for Papers

Portuguese occupies a position as a language of colonization which is very different from that of English, Spanish and French. Portuguese became the only language of Brazil, now a superpower of over 180 million. But in Portugal's other colonies: Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, East Timor, and Macau, it remained a colonial governing language, usually just being learnt by the local elites, and seldom studied by the masses.

Each of the Portuguese colonies has its own history of translation to and from local vernaculars in missionary writings, legal documents, government decrees, military manuals, educational material, oral interpreting, and works of fiction.

Against this backdrop, a number of questions can be raised. For example, to what extent did the Portuguese colonizers work with and translate into local languages? Did local writers translate their own works into Portuguese, or did they themselves write in Portuguese, itself a form of translation in colonial and postcolonial societies (see Paul Bandia, Translation as Reparation. St Jerome 2008).

And what is the contemporary situation of translation in the former colonies of Portugal? In East Timor, for example, Portuguese is the official government and legal language, but is spoken well by a very small proportion of the population, and in Macau, where very few people know Portuguese, but government documents must be translated into Portuguese.

And as, through immigration, Portuguese becomes a widespread language in metropolises such as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, London, and Paris, what new patterns of translation can we find here?

This panel welcomes papers which deal with translation and interpretation to and from Portuguese in its colonial and postcolonial setting. The emphasis may be on the role of Portuguese translation policy in its colonies, translations between Portuguese and vernacular languages, language policy related to translation, and the effect of recent military, political and economic events on translation and translation policy.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is Associate Professor of English Literature and Translation Studies at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil His recent publications include Agents of Translation (John Benjamins 2010), edited together with Paul Bandia.

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