Sunday, June 6, 2010


I've posted twice before about campesino

Human Rights Watch recently put out a report on the "new" paramilitaries in Colombia, and included a page with short videos about it. This is a great strategy as most of us probably won't want to wade through the report. They have great subtitles throughout, especially in the short videos labeled "three stories". The translator clearly prioritized being compelling and easily readable rather than overly literal - important for this sort of work. One of the things that jumped out at me was that they used farmworker for campesino. The thing is, that in the US this implies that you don't work your own land, but someone else's - which is often but not always true of campesinos. The nice thing about campesino is that it includes both the English terms 'small farmer' or 'family farmer' and 'farmworker'. Ah, the challenges of there being no exact equivalent!

(pic by Rini)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

that and not all campesinos are even farmers. I wince everytime I translate the word, thinking about the loggers, boatmen, artisanal miners, plantation workers, camioneros - many different kinds of people who live in the campo, identify as campesinos but don't necesarily grow anything. 'Rural dwellers who live off the land' doesn't quite work. I'll stick with your three options.