Translators Associatons Global: Tlaxcala

Activists for linguistic diversity

Translators Associations Global: TlaxcalaTlaxcala is an international network founded in December 2005 by a small group of cyberactivists who had met on the internet. They had found out there were common interests between them, besides common dreams and common problems, which originated the creation of this translators association.

This network of language professionals grew fast. Nowadays it “has many members” and “translates into 15 languages”.

Previous to the creation of this translation association, there was the need for the establishment of a manifesto. A strong text with powerful ideas was thus created.

According to the founders of Tlaxcala, “all languages of the world must, and do contribute to the brotherhood of mankind”. They defend that there is more to a tongue than mere “grammatical structure, a set of interconnected words, in agreement with a syntactic code”. It is mainly “a creation of meaning based upon our senses”. It is for that reason that we “observe, interpret and express our world from a specific personal, geographical and political context”.

Tlaxcala defends that “no language is neutral”, and every language carries the marks of the cultural background they belong to. Latin, according to the organisation, was the first imperial language, after Roman legions had destroyed many other idioms which, even so, ended up influencing the above-mentioned language. They say Spanish followed in the steps of its “mother”, when it destroyed many languages as it conquered and invaded America.

The creators of this association stress that “an empire and its language always go together and are predators by definition”.

The association gets its name from The Lienzo de Tlaxcala, a transcription of folk tales and pictures by Diego Muñoz de Camargo, written in the 16th Century. The author based the story on the frescoes painted by his ancestors, the Tlaxcaltecan nobility, who described the arrival of the Spanish and the fall of Tenochtitlan, the ancient capital of the Aztec Empire.

Nowadays, according to the association, “the imperial power is based in the United States of America”, whose official language is English”. This language, they say, “imposes its law”, originating that other countries or territories lose their communicational languages. The examples given are The Philippines and Puerto Rico. In Africa, stresses the translation association, “the false prestige accorded to English, French, Portuguese or majority vernacular languages is killing one local mother tongue every two weeks”.

Tlaxcala, an international network of translators for linguistic diversity, is “a post-modern homage to the unfortunate city-state of the same name which committed the tragic mistake of trusting an empire – the Spanish one – in order to fight against another less powerful one – the Náhua – only to discover too late that nobody should trust empires – none of them – because they use their subordinates only as a lever for their own purposes” The members of Tlaxcala “seek to redress the lost destiny of the ancient Tlaxcaltecans”.
The main principle that rules this association is “otherness”, “the goodness of approaching others’ points of view”. For that reason, they want to de-imperialise the English language “by publishing in all possible languages (including English) the voices of writers, thinkers, cartoonists and activists who nowadays write their original texts in languages that the domineering empire’s influence does not allow to be heard”.

In order to select the texts it translates, Tlaxcala makes sure they reflect the core values of Human Rights. “The translators of Tlaxcala are anti-militarists, anti-imperialists and stand against “neoliberal” corporate globalization. They yearn for peace and equality among all languages and cultures”. The members of this association don’t believe in the clash of civilisations or what they call “the current imperial crusade against terrorism”.

The founders of Tlaxcala state that they have chosen the 21st of February to publish their manifesto because this date was celebrated as “anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism day” during the 1950s and 1970s.

Keep in mind that there are an estimated 6,700 recognised languages in the world. Most of them are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people.

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