• Judeo-Spanish and Spanglish: Common Considerations for the English Translator of Two Peripheral Lects

    Remy Attig (see profile)
    LLC Latina and Latino, LLC Sephardic, TC Postcolonial Studies, TC Translation Studies
    Hispanic Americans, Literature and transnationalism, Sephardim--Study and teaching
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Translation and Minority II
    Conf. Org.:
    University of Ottawa
    Conf. Loc.:
    Conf. Date:
    October 2017
    Spanglish, Judeo-Spanish, Literary translation, sociology of translation, Postcolonial literature, Latinx, Transnational literature, Translation studies, Sephardic studies
    Permanent URL:
    In the natural order of language development orality precedes literary production, but elements of the oral tradition do often appear in literature. In this presentation I will look at orality in some Judeo-Spanish and Spanglish texts to see how the study of these two lects together may better inform the translator. Though both are lects of Spanish-speaking communities in the diaspora, Judeo-Spanish and Spanglish may, at first glance, seem to have little else in common. The former is a dying tongue spoken predominantly in Israel. Though the literary tradition in Judeo-Spanish dates back centuries, language preservationists are now in a race against the clock to collect its folktales and oral tradition in writing while the population slowly dwindles. Spanglish, on the other hand, is gaining ever more prestige and attention. While early written evidence of Spanish-English code-switching appeared in personal correspondence in the mid-19th century, the lect had been largely confined to the oral sphere until the late 1990s. The emergence of music and literature in Spanglish marked a turning point for the lect as it began to appear not only as a nod to Hispanic-American culture in an otherwise English or Spanish text, but as main lect of the entirety of the texts. Despite these differences, from the perspective of the English translator of these texts there is a great deal of similarities, particularly insofar as the role that orality plays in the literature of these communities. Rather than isolating each lect, the translator can benefit greatly when considering both when deciding how to translate the work from its position in the periphery of the Spanish literary sphere into English.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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