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A Loving Translation for Abuelita: Matters of the Heart and the Academy

Author(s): Karla C. Pérez


In this piece, written for a graduate class at UCLA, the author utilizes her own method of translation, one cultivated through many years as a child and, now, adult family translator. She illuminates the powerful role of empathy in translation by exposing her own human experience with mourning. This attempt to unveil the process of translation is also a continued quest for transparency in research that allows the author to be vulnerable and human alongside the once termed “subjects.” Divided in three parts, she first introduces a text read for class: “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures,” by the New London Group. She offers her own understanding of this text. After this, she evokes matters of the heart by translating the academic text to her dear abuelita  who recently came to pass. This is a fictitious conversation between the author and her grandmother, translated through the memories of a mourning granddaughter. Ultimately, what this loving translation reveals is that behind translation work and academic work are vulnerable beings who to be considered viable professionals must hide behind a veil of objectivity. The question the author poses through her own experience as a vulnerable graduate student and researcher is: How can the great power of vulnerability transform and enrich our work as translators, academics and researchers in Education?  In Education we often speak of students as a vulnerable population without connecting our own vulnerability to that of those we study. What would be gained if as researchers, academic writers, and translators we understood our own vulnerability as fundamental to empathizing with our audience and those we serve? Would our policies, recommendations and methods also reflect a connected vulnerability fundamentally grounded in our common human experience?


APA Citation:

Pérez, K. C. (2010). A loving translation for Abuelita: Matters of the heart and the academy.Unpublished manuscript.

038LovingTranslationP017.pdf — PDF document, 415Kb

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