Borders of language | Stillman Translations
Borders of language

As part of a culture, we all share a certain level of knowledge and understanding. This is because we occupy a relative position within our societies. According to Teixeira Coelho, “the idea of culture is always a long conversation (and where there is no conversation, there is no culture)”. This leads us to think about the way in which we can collaborate from our profession to turn that “long conversation” into a more democratic one. 

Language is connected with inclusion, and translation fulfills the social function of generating the conditions of possibility, so that people can access to this universal language that culture is. Translation has a social meaning, but there is a restricted version of what translation is, which is generated by the industry. Furthermore, there is also an expanded version that reflects what citizens demand, as a set of unrecognized cultural rights. 

Cultural appropriation should be freely accessible and enjoyable. This means approaching culture from the perspective of rights, focused on humanity, and taking into account: availability, accessibility, acceptability, adaptability and suitability. Cultural rights are interdependent, you cannot postpone one based on the other. 

In Argentina there are more than 5 million people with some type of disability or permanent limitation. 11.3% of the population is somehow prevented from accessing various cultural manifestations. In May 2008, the National Congress passed Law 26378 that approves the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and recognizes the right to participate in cultural life on equal terms as the rest of the citizens.

Culture is a central component of sustainable development. Its mainstreaming is such that it is present in all the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations Organization presents for the 2030 agenda. Since 2010, the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) proposes incorporating Culture as a fourth dimension of sustainable development, in addition to economic, social and environmental needs. 

As specialized linguists we should not believe that our task ends with the translation itself or the part of the linguistic process, we are assigned to work on for a certain deadline. We have the possibility to lift the barriers of language and contribute to making access to culture increasingly equal.