chapter  C
C. Encountering the Languages of the Americas
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In the new world of the Americas, however, translating conditions were quite different, generating different kinds of translators, texts, and concepts of the translator’s role. While Europeans marveled at wondrous tales of strange lands and heathen people, there were some important distinctions between such entities as “New England” and “New Spain”. The Spanish presence, largely in Mexico and points south, was closely managed by the royal court at Madrid, and its managerial class was as aristocratic as in other colonial enterprises but distinctly Old World Catholic. But the largely Protestant undertakings in points north entailed a sometimes fervent hope that the centre of Christianity might be moving in the seventeenth century from the decadent Old World to the New. As Anne C. Myles says, echoing the standard view today, the colonialists’ goal of Indian conversions was not their ultimate aim, insofar as “it also existed as part of a larger religio-historical vision, the translatio imperii et studii . . . For Protestants, while the idea of the Roman imperium no longer applied directly, the vision persisted in the idea of the shifting dynamic center of the Christian world. From an English Puritan perspective, this center had moved to England’s churches; if civilization could be brought to America, this locus would be extended or even – the most thrilling possibility for New Englanders – relocated altogether” (Myles 2000:93). This rather millennial notion, as many scholars have shown, threads into the foundations of Protestant American translative practice.