The diachronic analysis of translation corpora has been, and to a certain point still is, a neglected discipline within translation studies. Whereas rivers of ink have been expended on translation theory, there is a considerable lacuna in historical studies. While one can find relevant isolated monographs on the subject (Santoyo, van Hoof, Delisle, etc.), there is a lack of organic and systematic expositions concerning the translation process as well as its social role.
In the case of Latin-America the situation reveals an even larger deficit. Our numerous cultural exchanges with academic institutions overseas have shown the pressing interest for further research on this topic. This is due to the fact that they are well aware of the importance of this topic when it comes to sketching the outline and general framework of their own cultural output. The data obtained through these research endeavors will provide the necessary tools allowing a better insight not only to the national histories of each country, but also to their relation with the metropolis and the world of culture as a whole. The case of the Spanish version of the Popol Vuh, a sacred oral Mayan text, translated by a Dominican friar from Chichicastenango, is a good example, among others, of the cultural treasures that could be put to value and contrasted with the “official” translated cultural heritage.
In the first place, we will focus on the linguistic activity leading to the composition of reference works such as dictionaries, grammars, etc. as well as catechisms and administration documents, written either by missionaries or scholars from the colonies. In the second place. After that we are going to study the editorial world of each country from the moment on when the different republics gained independence.
The subject matter is in line with the strict studies of translation history and translation theory. It is also partially connected with sociotranslation and comparative literature. In the case of scientific documents it is linked to the history of science. The works realized by the director of the research project in the mentioned field and the contacts he has established with numerous academic institutions represent a solid base for the challenging task that lies ahead. Previous contacts do already exist with the following universities: Ricardo Palma (Peru), Universidad Nacional (Costa Rica), Jalapa (Mexico), Católica (Chile), Rafael Daldívar (Guatemala), Antioquia (Colombia). They, among others, have expressed their interest in collaborating in this project. For them the main obstacle is not a lack of motivation, but the absence of methodological principles as well as documentary sources, which in many cases are more accessible in Spain than in their home countries.