Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Role of Interpreters, or Linguas, in the Portuguese Empire during the 16th Century

This article analyses the different categories of interpreters (lingoas), the forms of their recruitment and the strategies of their use in the Portuguese Empire in Asia in the first half of the sixteenth century. The interpreters were as good as adventurers, convicts and natives, captives, renegades and converted slaves recruited during expeditions and military operations. Besides the social-economical status of these interpreters the article highlights the case of the territory of Macao where the necessity to answer to imperial bureaucracy determines the creation of a corps of interpreters (jurubaças) and perfectly organised family dynasties of "lingoas".

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