Translating oral micro-histories ethically: The case of Elena Poniatowska


  • África Vidal Claramonte University of Salamanca, Spain


oral history, translation from below, Poniatowska


La Noche de Tlatelolco: Testimonios de Historia Oral is a text full of voices which had been silenced. In addition, it is a hybrid text because it combines photojournalism, the literal words of many interviewees, witness accounts of survivors and political prisoners, and extracts from documentary sources like political speeches and hospital reports. It is an example of histories narrated orally by those who did not previously have a voice. They are oral translations of the real, intralinguistic and interlinguistic rewritings exemplifying what Bastin (2006: 121) calls “oraliture”, a type of textual construction of great importance when changing the way of looking at the history of translation. Since the studies published by Paul Bandia, Jeremy Munday or Georges Bastin, translation theory has been pressing for analysis of translations which take into account the concepts of critical historiography. The aim should be to achieve translations which overcome the traditional Eurocentrism and universalism that have allowed Westerners to remain in the comfort zone, a zone which offered only the vision of the conquerors and not that of the conquered. The translator cannot ignore all these changes and must begin to construct new venues in historical text research and its translation which put an end once and for all to that Eurocentric vision presented to us as the only true one.