Treaty of peace, friendship, commerce, and navigation between the Argentine Confederation and the Republic of Paraguay

Author:Nylund, Elsa, Arts & Sciences GraduateUniversity of Virginia ORCID icon

Argentina and Paraguay had interesting relations before this treaty was written. In 1776, the Spanish king Carlos III created the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish empire which included both of these countries and made its capital Buenos Aires. In 1782, Spain created municipalities, Paraguay being one of them. Paraguay only had one city called Asuncion and did not have much say. After the 1810 May Revolution in Buenos Aires, the first independent government of Argentina, the Primera Junta, was formed. At this time, Paraguay was under Spanish rule, but the Primera Junta tried to take over the Viceroyale. When they failed to take over, the governor of Paraguay announced that they would continue their loyalty to Spain. On the other hand, Argentina became independent first (from Spain) on July 9th, 1816. Paraguayan Congress didn’t formally declare an Act of Independence until November 25, 1842. However, the Congress of Argentina didn’t recognize Paraguay’s independence until 1856 when the “Tratado de Paz, Amistad, Comercio Y Navegación entre la Confederación Argentina y la República del Paraguay” was written in Asuncion.

One of the most important characteristics of this text are its serious and authoritative tones. On the contrary, there is also a benevolent tone as the writers are attempting to look out for both countries. For example, the treaty contains a lot of straightforward rules and jurisdictions, but they involve both countries equally. There is nothing that makes it seem like Argentina thinks they are more superior even though they had just recognized Paraguay as independent when Paraguay actually gained independence 45 years before this treaty. Another important characteristic of this treaty is the register. The translation is a formal, government treaty in the 1850s, and being a treaty, it is very ceremonial. This treaty was important for Paraguay and Argentina because a lot of South American countries had gained independence from Spain, Portugal, or other countries and were establishing relations among themselves.

My approach to this translation is different from other translations this semester because it is a formal government document from the 1850s about two countries that I knew very little about. Understanding the history between Paraguay and Argentina was crucial. Because this document is a formal document and could be used for educational reasons, it is important to keep the structure of the translation the same as the original. This means the articles should stay the exact same. The consistency of the structure will help any English-speaking person that is studying this document because they can look at how the leaders of Argentina and Paraguay believed they should organize their important treaty and what was most significant to them. Additionally, when I was translating this piece, I made sure to look at the treaty as a whole because even though it is broken up into multiple articles, it still tells a story. As Jack Child mentions in “Introduction to Spanish Translation,” it is important to have a strategy before translating a piece. Researching the history and grasping the meaning of the treaty before translating was imperative.

The intended audience are people interested in either Argentine, Paraguayan, or South American history and can only speak or read English. Also, people interested in South American governments in the 1850s would want to acquire this translation. I’m translating it more for the English-speaking audience to understand what is happening during this time period in both Argentina and Paraguay. Therefore, I am not focusing on having direct translations, so the audience would not be someone who is interested in learning about the language in South American treaties in the 1850s. In Child’s “Introduction to Spanish Translation,” Mildred Larson states that translation is changing the source language to the target language without changing the deeper meaning, which is what I aimed to do throughout the piece, even if that meant changing the syntax or diction. For example, in Article XXXII, “the tenor of which is pre-inserted” was changed to “ the content of which has been stated above.” This translation does not change the deeper meaning, it simply makes it a lot easier to understand. Approximation, as Maragaret Sayers Peden discusses in “Translating the Boom: The Apple Theory of Translation,” is not the direct translation of words but is the translation of a phrase into the appropriate words in the target language. This would not be helpful throughout the whole treaty if the audience wants to learn about what exactly the two countries were discussing. Instead, explaining the concepts of the treaty is much more beneficial to the audience. One instance when I had to explain a concept versus solely translating it was in Article IX. The approximation of the text would be “Their assets...shall not be subject to seizure...except those that may have responsibility or such properties, belonging to national citizens,” whereas the explanation of the text would be “Their assets...shall not be subject to seizure...except those assets that may belong to national citizens.” A simple change to explain a text can go a long way in the understanding of the translation as a whole.

Also, the language used in the 1850s is very different from the language used today. I tried to keep some of the older language so that readers can easily tell it is not a treaty from the present day, but if there were phrases that did not make sense, I definitely changed them. For example, in Article XVIII, the original treaty was one long sentence and hard to comprehend. Therefore, I divided the article into 2 sentences, rearranged the order, added a verb, but still kept the diction and tone to make it easier to comprehend and maintain the style at the same time. Finally, before reading the translation, the intended audience would need to know about the history of the relations between the two countries and the reason for writing this treaty. However, since the intended audience is most likely someone studying history or governments, they will probably have some background information about Argentina and Paraguay.

Translation from Spanish to English, Argentina, Paraguay, 1854
Contributor:Addington, Catherine, AS-Spanish, Italian & PortugueseUniversity of Virginia
University of Virginia
Published Date:
June 4th, 2020