3. The role of the interpreter in the governance of sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish colonies in the "New World": Lessons from the past for the present

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The fourteen laws found in Title 29 of Book Two of the <i>Leyes de las Indias </i>which governed the selection, procurement, role and compensation of the interpreters used in the governance of the New World by the Spanish Crown provides rich fodder for present days dilemmas. Each of these laws addresses an issue that continues to be a point of debate in the legal interpreting community. Detailed development of each law adds insight into specific problems and offers guidelines for dealing with the challenge presented. These laws constitute one of the most interesting, yet surprisingly unknown, sources of historical thought on the role of interpreters in society. In this paper, each law and its detailed development will be presented in both Spanish and English, and their application to contemporary society explored.


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