|SPA América Central|
|Flag of the United Provinces of Central America (1823).|
During the colony, Central America was known as the Captaincy General of Guatemala or the Kingdom of Guatemala. After independence was declared (1821), the region successively adopted different names (United Provinces of Central America, United States of Central America, and Federal Republic of Central America) that referred to an initial union of the countries that would not last long. Further innitiatives of unification gave birth to new names—Confederation of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua), Federation of Central America (without Guatemala), Great Republic of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua), Central American Federation (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). It was not until well into the 20th century that the region began to be known as Central America, a name that, in addition to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, also comprises Panama and Belize (Nájar 2019: n. pag.).
Currently, there are no other forms to name the region in English other than Central America (the equivalent of the Spanish name Centroamérica), used as the official name both internationally and locally. In Spanish, however, the compound noun América Central is also accepted although Centraomérica is preferred because of its apparently more widespread use and because it corresponds more directly to certain terms used when referring to the region and its people—centroamericano (Central American), centroamericanismo (Central Americanism), and centroamericanista (Central Americanist). Other forms in Spanish, such as Centro América or Centro-América, should be avoided.
Central America is the name given to the isthmus connecting North America and South America. It is located mainly between 7 and 18 degrees north of the equator and consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Together the Central American countries cover an area of approximately 523,000 square kilometers where some 50,690,000 inhabitants live. The region is bordered by the United Mexican States to the north, the Republic of Colombia to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
Even before independence from Spain was declared in 1821, the Central American region was at a disadvantage if compared to other Spanish-speaking geopolitical hubs in the American continent. Until then, the region relied heavily on external agents for both publishing and obtaining printed materials of any kind. This did not favor the development of editorial ventures in general terms, let alone one that considered the translation of works other than diplomatic or political documents. The panorama changed very little with independence, and for much of the 19th century, translated materials were mainly imported (see Gapper 2008).
It was not until the 20th century that a significant increase in local translation initiatives took place, primarily in the literary field. As the 21st century approached, with the growth of the service sector and the arrival of transnational companies, the demand for interpretation and translation services experienced a considerable increase. In this context, different local translations into Spanish of the so-called world literature classics began to be published. However, despite that progress, translation does not yet enjoy adequate recognition or study.
In the academe, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama have seen the emergence of undergraduate and graduate study programs at the university level. Translation and Interpretation Studies (TIS), nevertheless, are still scarce in much of the region.
This article addresses the situation of translation in Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama) from three different perspectives: its history, the current professional situation, and the evolution of the discipline.
|Francisco Javier Vargas Gómez & Sherry Elaine Gapper|
|Vargas Gómez, Francisco Javier & Sherry Elaine Gapper. 2022. "Central America" @ ENTI (Encyclopedia of translation & interpreting). AIETI.|