Terminology and Translation

United Migrant Farm Worker Poster/tiles/non-collection/i/intro_15_migrant_labor_poster_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress One example of Hispanic organization in the latter 20th century was the protest movement that united migrant farm workers who sought better pay and benefits.
We use the term “Hispanic”—the U.S. government standard (and that of most state and local governments)—to identify persons who trace their origins to Spanish-speaking countries or regions, including Spain. During its 35-year history, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for instance, has included individuals with origins in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Portugal. In academic usage and even among some quarters in the general public, “Hispanic” can be a controversial label. Some prefer the term “Latino” to denote any individual, regardless of racial origin, who originates from a Spanish-speaking region in Latin America or the Caribbean. Others prefer to identify themselves as being from a particular country, using the terms “Mexican American” or “Chicano” to denote their roots in Mexico. However, even advocates for other more region- or country-specific terms acknowledge that, according to surveys of public opinion, most Americans prefer the designation “Hispanic.”13 Throughout this book, we strive to use terms that include a geographic area of origin. We also use the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” interchangeably.

Many of the primary and secondary sources we consulted for this volume were written in Spanish. The Office of the Historian transcribed sections of original sources in Spanish for use in quotations in the biographical profiles and contextual essays; the original Spanish quotations appear in the endnotes. All paraphrased articles are cited, but not directly quoted, in the endnotes. The Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress reviewed all quotations to ensure that the transcriptions and translations were grammatically correct. The Hispanic Division also added accents where applicable and modified the transcriptions to make them understandable to readers of modern Spanish. Original translations were prepared by Translations International, Inc.

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13For general discussions of these various ethnic labels, see F. Chris Garcia and Gabriel R. Sanchez, Hispanics and the U.S. Political System: Moving into the Mainstream (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2007): 6–14; Kim Geron, Latino Political Power (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005): 3–4; and Suzanne Oboler, Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of (Re)Presentation in the United States (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995): i–xxi, 1–16.