Paulo Freire in and on Translation
Abram K-J posted today his wonderful Spanish language “poem-prayer” inspired by his study of the works of Paulo Freire. Abram in comments below his post explains why he didn’t use Portuguese but used Spanish instead: La clase para que escribí un papel sobre Freire (la poema apareció al fin del papel) estaba una clase enseñaba en español. In other words, the professor and Abram and his classmates spoke and wrote in Spanish to study Freire in translation. And yet, he clarifies, in English, that when he read Freire’s most famous work it was in English translation.
Here’s a cover shot of the cover of one of the editions of this famous book:
This is one of the few covers of Pedagogy of the Oppressed that gives credit to the English language translator, Myra Bergman Ramos. What did Freire think about her and her translation?
Well, in Pedagogia da Esperança, co-written with Nita Freire (aka Ana Maria Araújo), he tells his thoughts about Ramos’s translating, and more.
Below we get some of that in the Freire’s Portuguese and in the English (translated by Robert R. Barr as Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed):
Additional detail of Freire’s work with Ramos is given by James D. Kirylo in his essay, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Publication Process of Paulo Freire’s Seminal Work“:
I do not know, but I would imagine, that when in the United States teaching, Freire spoke with audiences and taught classes of students at Harvard in English (even if through an interpreter of his spoken Brazilian Portuguese). Given his play with and his practice of the power of language of the oppressed, it seems he had a great admiration for how young people — learners as pedagogues and pedagogues as students — would struggle with texts. He stays with this question, and I think he would appreciate what Abram has prayed in his poetry en español, as a translation of Freire’s language and ideas.