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Post Jerome Mintz, Casas Viejas, and an Infographic
Created by John Eipper on 03/17/19 4:57 AM

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Jerome Mintz, Casas Viejas, and an Infographic (Enrique Torner, USA, 03/17/19 4:57 am)

About a week ago, I received an email from a high school history teacher in Benalup, Cádiz, who, in collaboration with different local entities, had published the Spanish translation of a book I had translated years ago (Carnival Song and Society. Gossip, Sexuality and Creativity in Andalusia, translated as Las coplas de carnaval y la sociedad gaditana) for Jerome Mintz, an anthropology professor from Indiana University for whom I had translated The Anarchists of Casas Viejas when I was a graduate student there.

There's a long history behind this that I will spare you from at this moment, but, in a few words, Jerome Mintz died of leukemia and lung cancer in 1997, before being able to publish the Spanish translation of his book on Cadiz carnival songs. Before he passed away, I had promised him I would try to find a publishing company in Spain that would put it into print. Years later, this history teacher (Salustiano Gutiérrez) emailed me and asked me if I could put him in contact with Jerome's family (he had seen I had translated his first book) because Benalup (Casas Viejas before) was planning a tribute to him. I did, and that email started an online relationship that would lead to Salustiano publishing my translation of Mintz's second book. Well, in his last email, Salustiano asked me if I could send him a picture of myself with the books I translated for Mintz years ago so he could use it in a local exhibit about him and his legacy on the town. He also asked me a few history questions regarding the subject, which I answered. It turns out that Salustiano is organizing another tribute to him that includes an online exhibit. I sent him the pictures he requested and answered his questions.

Just last night he emailed me what he calls in Spanish an "infografía" (new term for me!) he had made using my pics and my text. It just blew me away! I'm attaching it for you to see. Even before you see it, and even if you don't know Spanish, you are probably guessing already what it is: a photograph with information! That's what knowing some Greek does for you! Anyway, Salustiano created this "infografia" somehow putting together two pictures and information I had emailed him in one single image. The QR code on it includes the whole text I sent him, and you can access it with a QR Reader that you can buy for free and install in your phone. When I searched for the English translation of "infografia," I came up with computer graphics, but this is not exactly accurate, because computer graphics refers to the study and application of what you need to know in order to create. "Computer graph" would be closer, because it refers to an individual image, but it's still not the exact equivalent. Any suggestions?

This is a small example of the type of challenges translators encounter on a regular basis. The main problem here has to do with what we call semantic fields, or the breadth of meaning covered by a single word. The English word "glass," for example, can be translated into Spanish as "cristal" or "vidrio" ("glass," as in the material it points to), or as "vaso" or "copa" (the container we drink from, which could be made of glass, plastic, or any other material). However, "vaso" and "copa" are not the same: Spanish speakers distinguish drinking glasses by their shape, and, if a glass has the shape of a goblet, we call it "copa," regardless the material it might be made of. A coffee cup or mug, however, would not be una "copa," as you would expect, but una "taza."

Is language crazy or what? This is why Spanish speakers tend to confuse cup with glass. I bet WAISers, with their wide experience learning languages, get a chuckle remembering instances of linguistic "faux-pas" they have experienced. Would you like to indulge us with your most memorable ones? That might be fun!

By the way, I wonder if any of the many historians in WAIS may have know Jerome Mintz, especially our experts on the Spanish Civil War. After all (and I apologize for not having explained this before: I made the wrong assumption that all WAISers knew about what happened in Casas Viejas on January 13, 1933), the now famous killings of Casas Viejas played a main role in the period of history leading to the Spanish Civil War. In case you don't know what happened that infamous day, here is a link to an explanation:


JE comments:  I found "infographic" as the English translation.  We've all seen them, but few outside the publishing biz probably know what they are called.  They did a great job with yours, Enrique!  Congratulations on the publication, and especially for fulfilling your promise to Prof. Mintz.

One of my favorite examples of semantic overlap comes from Polish.  In Polish, "gazeta" can be a newspaper, a journal, or a magazine.  So Poles speaking English often talk about "newspapers" such as Time, GQ, Field and Stream, Vanity Fair...

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  • Carnival Culture in Andalusia (John Heelan, UK 03/20/19 3:14 AM)
    Enrique Torner (17 March) mentioned Jerome Mintz's book on carnival culture in Cádiz.  As part of my researching the culture of Andalusia, I became fascinated with Carnaval as a temporary release from the strictures of the Catholic Church.  I enjoyed village carnavales along the Costa del Sol, visited Cádiz, Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada during Carnaval and Semana Santa.

    It was interesting to compare and contrast Carnaval with Fasching in Germany, especially RosMontag in Bavaria--where I had half of my tie removed by a young lady. Don't ask the reason but it was explained to me that it was a symbolic castration. Thankfully this time it was limited to just snipping the end from my tie.

    I found very useful David D Gilmore's book Carnival & Culture:  Sex, Symbol and Status in Spain (Yale 1998), as well as some writings of how previously pagan rites have been subsumed in Andalusian culture (not just Semana Santa processions but also the "Burial of the Sardine" and the sometimes more libidinous "Noche de San Juan").

    JE comments:  Moral of this story:  do not wear a tie at carnival!  John, I'll be thinking of you this morning and over the next several days, as we embark on Lorca studies in my Spanish Lit and Culture class.  A quick question:  what is the most interesting "fun fact" you learned about FGL over the course of your research?  (I mean something you don't readily gloss from a biography or--gasp--Wikipedia.)

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