Translating sovereignty Corpus retranslation and endangered North American indigenous languages


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, I argue for reconsideration of the role of Native North American community translators as crucial, forward enablers in the decolonizing of their sovereign language traditions. Through translation activities described as '‘corpus retranslation’', mother-tongue translators can meaningfully effect the reconstruction of endangered-language corpora by retranslating dominant-language works '‘back into’' the endangered indigenous mother tongues in contexts where there are no (or few) extant written orthographies. While corpus retranslation is not without risks, it presents great potential as a pedagogical tool in emerging mother-tongue language classrooms in Native North America, where a new generation of indigenous translators is reconstituting sovereign traditions with the aid of newly crafted orthographies based on earlier salvage ethnography projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Black elk speaks
  • Corpus retranslation
  • Indigenous orthographies
  • Language sovereignty
  • Native north american languages
  • Translation and language revitalization


Dive into the research topics of 'Translating sovereignty Corpus retranslation and endangered North American indigenous languages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this