The Crash Course Spanish translation is ready! [Post in English]

Saturday, August 8, 2009, 3:53 PM

To read this blog entry in Spanish, click here.

We have an exciting announcement to make.  
I am very proud to unveil the Crash Course in Spanish, our first complete translation.  This has been made possible through the incredible efforts of Manuel Talens, who translated the entire Crash Course and Atenea Acevedo, who then recorded the audio portion, as well as converted the text of each slide into Spanish.  As a result, we do not have an English version with a Spanish voice-over, we have an entirely Spanish-language version.  Manuel and Atenea undertook an incredible amount of work in service of spreading the message, and their labor should not be underestimated.
We all owe these two selfless individuals a huge debt of gratitude for their efforts and their professionalism.  The finished Spanish Crash Course came out wonderfully, and we are proud to be able to include it on our site.


On our team’s end, we put Manuel and Atenea’s audio and slide translations into Final Cut, and then reproduced each chapter one by one.  We then went through the necessary steps to load them to YouTube as well as to this site.  This overhaul was a significant effort on our part as well, and cost us around $5,000 to complete.  We have no expectation of any additional financial gain from this effort, only the satisfaction of knowing that the message of the Crash Course can reach a larger and more diverse audience.  For those who have donated money, this is one example of the ways in which we use such funds to further spread the Crash Course. This is a story that needs to be heard around the globe, and thanks to Manuel and Atenea and to our generous donors, it can now reach beyond the confines of the English-speaking world.
Here is the link to the chapters on our site
I am also happy to be able to post Manuel and Atenea’s own accounts of the process of translation and voiceover, and the motives and passions that inspired them pursue this large project.
I honor Manuel and Atenea for their heroic efforts and for this incredible gift.

Chris Martenson

Tlaxcala’s Translation of The Crash Course into Spanish

From Manuel

I have long been interested in the fraudulent economic mechanisms that are intertwined with capitalism.  These concerns led to my discovery of the pressing energy crisis that will take place when oil begins to run out.  The energy crisis will be much more serious and deadly than the current financial crisis, though most politicians, professional economists, and "experts" on television and in the mainstream media are only concerned with the economy. I must thank my friend Pedro Prieto, editor of the website Energy Crisis, for the long conversations he has held with me that taught me almost everything I know about peak oil, as well as for his personal invitation to the 7th International Conference of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas), held in Barcelona in October 2008, that I attended with great pleasure.
It was at the ASPO event where Pedro and I first began, inadvertently, to envision the future translation of the Crash Course now offered in the Spanish language. All the papers presented at the conference were of great interest, but two circumstances in particular merged to start the process that led to my interest in translating the Crash Course. The first was a talk given by Charles A. S. Hall, professor at the College for Environmental Science and Forestry, at the State University of New York at Syracuse.  Hall, a real entertainer on the podium, began by saying that conventional economists (he called them neoclassical) do not have the slightest idea how the economy works in everyday life... and just see where we are now.  He then quoted Wassily Leontief, Nobel laureate in Economics in 1973, who stated that conventional models of the economy are “unable to advance in any perceptible way a systematic understanding of the operation of a real economic system.”
The next time I began to consider the Crash Course, I was already back home, where I started to review the vast amounts of literature that I received at the ASPO conference. I watched the Crash Course on the screen, and from the outset, I was fascinated by the clarity of Dr. Martenson’s ideas, his virtues as a teacher, his clarity and urgency regarding peak oil and, above all, by the way that Dr. Martenson plainly demonstrates that there is no need to be an expert in economics to fully understand what highfalutin economists ignore: that two and two equal four, and that a litany of esoteric formulas and bombastic language are not necessary. This brought me back to Charles Hall’s humorous speech and encouraged me to complete the Crash Course.  Not only did the course not disappoint me, but it moved me to write to Chris Martenson to offer my translation on behalf of a group of activist translators, all of whom are volunteers, to which I belong.  The group is called Tlaxcala, and it is a network of translators committed to linguistic diversity. Chris, of course, agreed.
The task was complicated, and not at all like translating a typical two-page article, completed in a short time.  The Crash Course has a massive transcript of more than 40,000 words, with even more words in the slides.  Add to this the difficulty that it would be necessary to somehow duplicate Dr. Martenson’s voiceover, as we felt that that the full message of the Crash Course could not be conveyed to Spanish speakers via subtitles over the course of twenty chapters, some of them quite long.
But Tlaxcala is a heterogeneous group with multinational resources.  One of our translators, Atenea Acevedo from Mexico, is an active professional conference interpreter with a beautiful voice, and she was thrilled and accepted the challenge I proposed.  The result of our transatlantic partnership, as they say, is history.  By the end of May we had completed the first half of the Crash Course, and by the end of June, the second.   
We decided to keep the course title in the original English preceded by the definite article "the"—which leads to the strange hybrid “El Crash Course.” This was a difficult decision to make, especially because many who read it will not know initially what it means, but this was one of those tricky situations that often embitter the lives of translators. We couldn’t accurately reflect the intention of the phrase in Spanish without significant hindrance towards the double semantic meaning of “course” (which can imply both a path and a curriculum of academic study).  Atenea and I thought that the most readily available translation could imply that taking Dr. Martenson’s course would be a "Course (or path) to Disaster,” and who would desire to get into something like that?  Another translation: "Course (or path) of the Disaster" might inadvertently lead some to believe that the course is crap. A translation to “A Course on Disaster” did not seem ideal either. We hope that readers (and viewers) will forgive us, therefore, the Anglicism.
Finally, I wanted to mention that an additional benefit of Dr. Martenson’s Crash Course is that it speaks a truth others are silent on regarding the double crisis of energy and the economy.  It starts with an acceptance of capitalism as a viable system, but asserts that it is distorted by abuse.  The words that you will hear Atenea reading out for you come from a man who believes that if we do things honestly, the capitalist system can survive.  Suffice to say that neither she nor I share that belief, but this has no importance.  At this stage what is really necessary is that the public knows what is really happening in the world, and even more, it needs to know the story of a dangerous economy, told by an honest citizen who loves his country, about an ill-fated Empire, and the means to improve it.
Manuel Talens
Madrid, May 2009

From Atenea

Very early in the development of my career as a translator and interpreter, I began to see that this line of work provided an extraordinary way to structure my activism in the fields of human rights, gender equity and social change. Although we live at a moment where we receive, on a daily basis, a historically unprecedented amount of information, the different voices are easily lost when the mainstream media dictates the tone of our beliefs.
In addition to providing my livelihood, translation and interpretation are passions, and I use them as a way to give voice to speakers who are not being heard and are swimming against the tide, i.e., to create intelligible discourse, to articulate ideas and to allow them to spread to a wider arena.  I join forces with others to help promote diversity in thought and action. Moreover, I am convinced that being able to speak and read in the language in which an individual dreams is a human right, and that language—laden with emotional and intellectual resonance—is part of our identity.  It is my privilege to contribute to the exercise of that right.

In April 2007 I met Manuel Talens in the context of a congress of translators and interpretation activists held in Grenada, Spain.  I was aware of the work of Tlaxcala and I was interested in joining the group, and when, as luck would have it, Manuel sat beside me at a meal in between sessions, we began to discover a connection based on a shared belief in linguistic diversity as a tool capable of building and defending alternative realities. Part of this explorative spirit is revealed in two neologisms that tend to distinguish the Spanish translations of Tlaxcala: “Usamérica,” “usamericana” and “usamericano” to refer to what most call Estados Unidos (America) and estadounidenses (Americans). The political controversy surrounding the name of this country and its inhabitants is aged and we do not intend to revive it here, but to invite the public to open their minds to a more liberating terminology.
The Crash Course in Spanish is an adventure that combines the impeccable translation of Manuel with my own foray into the world of voiceover. Our intention is to make the ideas of Chris Martenson more accessible to people of Hispanic origin in the United States, but also to the rest of Spanish speakers in the world who want to and who are entitled to understand what is happening with the economy and finance. We have tried to tap most into the Latin American mainland to choose the terminology of the course (and, of course, its orality), although there is no shortage of regional differences among the millions of people who communicate in this language. The end product would not be consolidated without the talented team of Chris Martenson, to whom we are indebted for their dissemination efforts.
Atenea Acevedo
Mexico City, May 2009

Endorsed Financial Adviser Endorsed Financial Adviser

Looking for a financial adviser who sees the world through a similar lens as we do? Free consultation available.

Learn More »
Read Our New Book "Prosper!"Read Our New Book

Prosper! is a "how to" guide for living well no matter what the future brings.

Learn More »


Related content


Davos's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: The Crash Course Spanish translation is ready! [Post in ...

Really fantastic news!

mobius's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 160
Re: The Crash Course Spanish translation is ready! [Post in ...

¡ Viva Tlaxcala ! Muchas felicidades por sus esfuerzos. 


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments