Translating Documents is a Human Right
Start writing a post

There once was a land where a king insisted all papers must be approved by him first. Alas, the king shook his head this was a "protection against dangerous foreign influences" for he was fearful the people would someday see his leadership over them was not leadership- but despotism. This land was cloaked by the dark veil of totalitarianism, the words of freedom could not be expressed in the language of the people.

One of the leading intellectuals in this land stumbled upon a document- a French document proclaiming human rights and equality for all humans all around the world. The intellectual paused for a bit, his library was extensive and he had a wonderful command of the French language. Without skipping a beat he retreated into his sanctuary and started translating the text word for word into Spanish in hopes that the people of his land would see that they all were endowed with human rights from their Creator and these rights were to all people regardless of their race or station. Shortly afterwards troops captured him and charged him with a crime- that of translation.

Translators- like journalists have the weighty task of bringing a world alive for people. As journalists go about and report the events of the day, translators bring it into the language of the country they want to spread this information to.

The charming exercise of pulling out a pen and your finest notebook and carefully capturing an image. This isn't a sketch or a painting but it is an image of words. An image not of your own creation, but stemming from a foreign language- the fine craft of molding something from one tongue into another in order to increase knowledge is a worthy one and it should be considered a protected human right.

Ahh, tragically this right has been crushed by tyrants throughout the years. In the Middle Ages and up until the Reformation men such as William Tyndale were executed for translating the Bible into the language of the people. Not to encroach on the field of theology, but the Bible is meant to be read by the people and for the people to individually communicate with God. Christ gave the people liberty to read and discern scripture on their own without an intermediary. Now in my personal opinion, I do not believe there is place for clergy or a hierarchical structure- but churches should be directly governed by the people but that is a topic for another day. This can be largely cultural as I am very a very low church Protestant background, and I have talked to many kind monks and nuns while studying at a Catholic-affiliated university, and thank them for showing their own cultural perspectives. People have a right to read and analyze for themselves texts of the religion they claim to follow. No harm comes when people critically analyze texts and find out for themselves if something is true or false. If this is not done, people are living in obedience and submission to whomever has the power to translate. Alas! I shall stop there lest I bring this article into a more theological domain. If somebody can read the Bible in their native language, then they have the power to exercise their minds and decide for themselves whether they believe Catholicism, Protestantism or Orthodoxy is the proper interpretation of the Bible. This takes power out of the hands of a few and brings it to the people by the people and for the Bible. For those on top, it would result in pleasant dialog by their church-goers inquiring to them in dialogue as equals about theological principles.

Back to a political example- the story in the beginning was that of Antonio Nariño. Nariño, who makes a cameo in my previous article about Latino revolutionaries, was an intellectual who devoured as many books as he could. Nariño was a lover of knowledge who frequently hosted gatherings with his friends to discuss religion, politics and philosophy in his "sanctuary of books." He had a collection of books spanning topics including history, science, theology (he even had a Quran and Protestant Bible to compare with his Catholic Bible. Both of those were banned), and politics. Nariño suffered "weakness and lack of strength" and heart issues which confined him to endless reading hours as a kid. When he was in his late 20s, he was fluent in several languages and translated the French Revolution Declaration des Droits from French into Spanish. Defending himself before the court- Nariño quoted Aquinas from memory and stood strong in his beliefs of natural law. Nevertheless, he was arrested. Unlike Tindale- Nariño lived, but with terrible complications that should not be inflicted on any human. Many years later in ruined health (tuberculosis, heart disease, leg weakness, poor eye sight) Simon Bolivar made Nariño Vice President of a liberated Colombia. Like Nariño said, people deserve to have access to a wealth of information so they may critically think and examine for themselves. What better tool than when translation is in the language of the people reading it?

The power of knowledge is like that of a mighty waterfall. It has the ability to be heard, and also like the rain above- knowledge has the power to heal our world of ignorance. Knowledge empowers people to make change and shows what has gone wrong in the past and how to avoid it. Knowledge teaches people to love those they can't understand, from places they know little about. Knowledge teaches people to imagine the world and imagine people who are from very different backgrounds than themselves. This knowledge will enable them to meet people from those backgrounds as I mentioned in a previous article.

When a document is translated, it opens up a new door of knowledge- people may read and analyze a document for themselves to discern whether or not this document is true. The translator does not always endorse the contents, but acts as a reporter conveying to the people news from distant lands. In authoritarian regimes today reporters and translators are often arrested and tortured just for the "crime" of telling the people what is going on. Such atrocities must stop! We all have a duty to speak out for the rights of translators, and to consider sharing knowledge in another language a human right.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

68344

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1556385

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

969749
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

895580
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

582439
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

370622
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

490246

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments