The Oviedo Project

Mette McKinney ’26

This summer I worked with professors Lisa Paravisini-Gebert and Michael Aronna and a fellow student – Abbie Houton – on Vassar’s Oviedo Project. This project aims to publish a translated version of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo’s General History of the Indies in its entirety. Sections of the work have been translated over time but the text has never been translated in its entirety. Thus, for the past few years, Vassar students and select faculty members have been working to do exactly that. During the school year, students work on translating the text from Spanish to English. In the summer, the work is handed to the professors and select students, this summer, me and Abbie. 

For the past 8 weeks, we worked on editing 40 chapters from Volume II of the General History and uploading them to the project’s website. Each chapter was edited twice using the original text to confirm the translation was accurate before it was edited again, ensuring that it flowed well into English. The final version was then added to that book’s manuscript and upon thorough edits to every chapter, it was sent to me to upload to the project’s website. 

My work focused on doing the second edit of several chapters and uploading completed books to the website. Through my work this summer I gained a greater appreciation for what goes into preparing texts for publication and the intricacies of translation. I had translated 3 chapters during the school year and seeing the slight differences within each student’s chapters helped me to appreciate the nuance of language and the different ways it can be understood by different people. Finishing this project will be a major milestone. As I am going into my sophomore year, I look forward to continuing to work on it for the next few years!

Volume II, Book XXI – one of three books I uploaded throughout this summer