Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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This paper provides a historiographical approach to the figure of Doña Marina or La Malinche, the interpreter of Hernán Cortés during the conquest of Mexico, in order to reassess the fictionalization of the character that we often find in Translation Studies. It is argued that this discipline has used her name in an impressionistic way and, therefore, it seems necessary to complement the translation scholar’s approach with that of the historian. The paper will explore the ways in which Doña Marina has been presented by translation scholars. The next section will provide the perspective of historians, focusing on three aspects relevant for Translation Studies: (1) the facts known about her origin, which explain her ability to communicate in two local languages, (2) her role as interpreter during the conquest of Mexico, (3) her alleged participation in the Cholulan massacre as an informant of Cortés. It will conclude with a discussion that aims to highlight the contrast between the use of impressionistic views of historic figures and the more balanced narratives based on factual rather than mythical elements.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conquest; Doña Marina/La Malinche; historiographical approach; interpreter; traitor
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