Whose Voices?

Ep 7 - Angela Cuc: Indigenous languages as a way of claiming ancestral knowledge

Post also available in: Español

This audio interview is in Spanish. Transcript is available in English.

In this new episode we talk with Angela Cuc, Maya Kaqchikel social communicator, who shares with us her experience at the “Jun Na'oj” Network of Indigenous Communicators, a network producing a radio program under the same name, with the support of the Guatemalan Federation of Radio Schools in Guatemala. From this collaborative space, Angela and her compañeras and compañeros , produce radio programs in Kaqchikel and translate different materials into other Mayan languages. Many of these materials end up being shared online, enlarging the body of content in indigenous languages ​​that exist on the internet.

“Because of this, for our grandfathers and our grandmothers learning Mayan language was seen as something that kept us “backward”, so they would prefer to teach us Spanish, English and any non-indigenous language instead.”

Angela also talks about the challenges of Kaqchikel-speaking people to produce and upload content online. She explains the importance of avoiding biased translations, and encourages us to always be aware of the worldviews of the communities that produce the content we translate. Finally, Angela shares her views on the discrimination that indigenous people are still facing in Guatemala today, and how this has been instrumental in the disappearance of native languages.

“Unfortunately, there have been some productions where — when it's not possible to translate something from Kaqchikel to Spanish — there is a vague interpretation of what people understand, but there is no attempt to take our views and feelings into account.”