April 13, 2023

The Humanities Council's executive committee has granted Nadia Cervantes Pérez a Magic Grant for her project “Translating Mesoamerica: Learning about Indigenous Cultures through Princeton’s Nahuatl Documents from Colonial Mexico & Central America”.

Her project will produce an interactive platform that will include a transcription and a translation of some of the most prominent manuscripts in Nahuatl from the Mesoamerican Collection at Princeton University’s Library, one of the most important corpus of manuscripts that document colonial life in Mexico and Central America in Indigenous languages. Since many of them remain undigitized, untranslated, and thus understudied, the project seeks to make the collection accessible and legible to a wider audience. 

Through an intuitive and user-friendly design, the users will also find relevant information on linguistic features of the text as well as contextual information about the colonial landscape that influenced their production. Another important aspect of this project is the collaboration of Indigenous native speakers of Nahuatl in the creation of content of the platform, as they will be the main translators of the manuscripts.  Finally, the platform will be the backbone of a new Freshman Seminar to be taught in the Spring of 2024 where students will learn about Indigenous culture, paleography and translation through a hands-on approach.