If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for the Palestinian Special issue! I would love to see more and more of it. Read Read, Let’s move onto your final two choices, both by the translator and academic John Felstiner, whom you write about in Why Translation Matters. Read The Translation Journal is in an online journal for translators and interpreters and friends of the industry. I was very enamoured of [Francisco de] Quevedo and [Luis de] Góngora. Her own book, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, a work of literary nonfiction, is out in January. I think the translation should reflect that. I’m not sure if they mean society, or high art, or what exactly they have in mind. The Older Brother by Mahir Guven, translated from French by … We may earn commission from the links on this page. Notable works: The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game, The Labyrinth of the Spirits. That can be revelatory as regards the original novel. Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić, translated by S.D. One was WG Sebald and the other was José Saramago. Alexander Hartung has been published non-stop, at least one book a year, since his debut in 2014, but so far only two of them have been translated into English, both from the detective Jan Tommen series set in Berlin. Often referred to as one of the most important Hispanic writers of the 20th century, he experimented with both the form and content of his stories. García Márquez says in his memoir that he learned to write by reading Faulkner, and describes him as a great teacher. I asked him once, and told him, “I’m going to ask you this question only once.” He fudged the answer and I dropped it. In other words, there is a tradition that is passed on from one generation of writers to the next, and the medium of this all is translation. Our editors handpick the products that we feature. It was the shock of my life. I guess that is also bound to be a reflection of Colombia or Mexico. Having translated Spanish myself, I find the hardest part is always cutting down a sentence that’s a page long into something more manageable in English. I read this translation when I was a kid, 16 or 17 years old. Translating Neruda In 2013, Dalkey Archive Press, in partnership with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, began publishing the Library of Korean Literature, intended to present “modern classics of Korean literature in translation, featuring the best Korean authors … Winner of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, Satantango was first published in 1984 and took master translator Georges Szirtes over two decades to translate. This has just won the best translated book … It was an overwhelming experience to read the poetry in Felstiner’s translation, and to read about Celan himself and the process of translating work that documents one of the worst times in our history. Would I try to imitate Spenser in The Faerie Queene? The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi, translated by Michael Berry – Wang Anyi is one of China’s best writers, and doesn’t get enough credit. But my editor never told me. He earned the Cervantes Prize and the National Book Critics' Circle Award. Is Felstiner’s book a critical study, a biography, an extended translation? Felstiner is also a literary critic. Paul Celan It’s interesting what you said earlier about how the original always has more value than the translation, because García Márquez himself said that he preferred Rabassa’s English version to his own original. Ammaniti may not be in the same league as the writers above, but he is one of the most translated and popular contemporary Italian writer and an easy, entertaining read. I moved over into 20th century Latin American literature not long before I read this translation by Rabassa. … It’s compelling to think about why a translator makes a particular choice in phrasing, and compare it with another translator’s choice. Translated works' and authors' database at the UNESCO website '50 of The World's Most Translated Books', infographic prepared by The Translation Company Group (full list of sources included) The Most Translated Authors in the World; Which is the world’s most translated … It was written in concentration camps – he was a victim of the Nazis. It was my first inkling that translation could be an art form of great value. Camilo José Cela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Spanish author. As a graduate student and an academic for many years, I read Don Quixote in Spanish over and over again – at least 10 times. I was stunned by The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. Space Invaders by Nona Fernández, translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. But the work translators do is too important for it to be put in second place. The articles are written by translators, interpreters and industry experts and has been published online … The Happy City went on to won Spain’s Jaén Prize for best novel and the Tormenta Prize for best new author, and was published in an English translation in 2013. A few years ago, I discovered two authors whom I confess I had known nothing about before, and I discovered them in translation. Often referred to as one of the most important … Announced here—with a write-up tomorrow from BTBA founder Chad Post at Three Percent —the lists include a diverse range of authors… 2 Since not everyone can read every language in the world, the only way to find out what people are writing and thinking is to read translations. The Italian writer's works have been translated into many languages. She's also written short stories, movies, and children's plays, often weaving in themes of—you guessed it—magic. Don Quixote The poetry is incredibly intense and almost surreal in its use of imagery. I read it in Giovanni Pontiero’s translation and I was so overwhelmed by the book – both by Saramago’s vision of the world and by the beauty and skill of the translation – that I started to devour Saramago novels, one after the other. Well it’s true. That’s good – I got into an argument recently about whether the translator and the author are of equal importance and they didn’t think they were, so I’m glad to have you backing me up! I don’t know if I could do the same. Part of the confusion when it comes to reading the Bible is that the Bible wasn’t originally written in English. The way we learn about the world is through translation. The overwhelming favourite was Quixote. Translators tend to be given short shrift. Would you say then that Rabassa and García Márquez have equal importance in the way in which they have influenced other writers? I’ve spoken before about the influence of William Faulkner on a lot of Latin American writers, and particularly on García Márquez. It is illuminating as far as the actual practice of translation is concerned. Notable works: In the Time of Butterflies, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Your third selection is a bit of a cheat. That translation is one of the reasons why I specialised in Spanish and became involved in all of this. That hardly existed at all when I was in school. And it was through all of the translations that I had that experience. When a writer writes, no matter when she or he lived, most of the time that author is writing in contemporary, living language. Sophie Roell, editor of Five Books, takes us through her personal choice of the best nonfiction books of 2020. Paul Celan’s poetry is just bloodcurdling. Though it’s through translations like your own and those of Gregory Rabassa, whom we’ll talk about later, that people do get an understanding of Latin American literature and perhaps, through that, Latin American culture. On the other hand, as much as I love translation I think if you read the original language, there’s no point in reading the book in any other language. On the assumption that most people who have been influenced by García Márquez in the English speaking world have been influenced through Rabassa’s translation, it had a huge effect on novel writing in English. Google's free service instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages. It is often said therefore that the Charles Scott-Moncrieff … There are two things, not in order of importance. Oprah Magazine participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. That’s a very nasty question! He was the original translator of García Márquez’s works, and then you took over as the translator of Love in the Time of Cholera. So how could I make it old-fashioned? Works translated into English. Convenience Store Woman book. Cervantes is a brilliant writer, and if you read Spanish you shouldn’t deny yourself the pleasure of direct contact with him. She's won Spain's Qué Leer Prize and has won multiple awards in journalism. For that reason it is a very important book to me. But I’m not sure you could specify which part of Mexican society or Colombian society is revealed. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir debuted the Þóra Gudmundsdóttir series with the novel “Last Rituals” in 2005.It was translated … Notable works: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The point of it is not necessarily how well Putnam translated Don Quixote. I think translation is the cement that holds literary civilisation together. Curtis and Celia Hawkesworth. I don’t know anyone who writes books like him. As a translator, of course I think that’s very important. One Hundred Years of Solitude In both of these books he deals with very complex poets. Writers like Toni Morrison, for example, or Salman Rushdie. Is this something you would like to see more of? In this book I found out about Celan’s life, his poetry and the translation process of several of his poems. I’m never quite sure what people mean when they talk about culture. This site has an archive of more than one thousand interviews, or five thousand book recommendations. It’s a book not only about translating, but about Neruda’s poetry and by extension about Neruda himself. If you take away the subject pronoun, you have no verb. Born in Mexico City, Fuentes, a novelist and diplomat, earned international acclaim for stories that touched themes of social protest, fantasy, and psychology, most often examining life in Mexico through the decades. 10 August Books You Should Read Right Now, 10 Reasons to Follow Jennifer Garner on Instagram, 10 James Baldwin Works to Read in Your Lifetime, 10 Books Angie Thomas Thinks Everyone Should Read. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. I think it’s very helpful for the reading of the original. Five Books interviews are expensive to produce. It’s not called the greatest novel ever written for nothing. Notable works: The Cannibal's Daughter, The Crazed Woman Inside Me, The Story of the Translucent King. But sometimes you’re constrained by the nature of the language you translate into. Read. A dominant voice in the magical realism genre, the Chilean Isabel Allende uses her bestselling works to act as a standout feminist voice in Hispanic literature. Many of the Netherlands’ best-known authors – including journalist and historian Geert Mak, Cees Noteboom, Margriet de Moor, and “wunderkind” Arnon Grunberg – have had their works translated … I’m a great fan of his, even though I’ve never met him. We pinned you down to Giovanni Pontiero’s translation of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, but you originally chose all of the English translations of José Saramago. When I was young I thought Don Quixote was the greatest tragedy I had ever read. You would just wind up with gobbledygook. Instead, the original translations of the Bible were written in mostly Hebrew and Aramaic for the Old Testament, and Koine Greek for the New Testament.So why is this confusing?Well, the English versions of the Bible that we are reading are mere translations of the original text.It’s best to think of the different translations of the Bible a… by Cervantes (translated by Samuel Putnam) That of course takes nothing away from 17th century Spanish poetry, but for me it was a good place to go. Notable works: The Time of the Hero, The Green House, Conversation in the Cathedral. So I don’t know how it happened. I think Rabassa may have been ill – he had some heart problems. Which takes nothing away from Gregory’s translation, of course. It’s a ridiculous question, and the obvious answer is that it makes no sense. Should a translator always aim to translate a work into a contemporary style? Right. Two debut novels are in the running for the fiction prize. Whether it's a new romance, mystery, a YA book, or the hottest summer read, we're into just about anything, including delving into these beautifully woven worlds shaped by beloved Spanish-language authors. Of course, talking about contemporary language doesn’t mean using slang or street language. With every translation you have a new version of the book. Then I make a conscious effort to write antique-sounding language. Do you see translators gaining more of a reputation these days than when you started out? Author and translator Don Lee Choi calls Kim Sagwa “South Korea’s young, brilliant, fearless writer” and it’s hard to argue after reading Sagwa’s shocking and powerful debut, Mina. In a way those two things move in opposite directions – one towards the original and the other towards the end result of the translation. We publish at least two new interviews per week. But as I get older I find it funnier and funnier. Do you forget that it’s a translation and simply become involved in the fiction or the poem that you’re reading? The award-winning literary translator discusses books on and of translation that inspired her, and considers the trade-off that every translator faces, between fidelity and meaning. It’s interesting that you describe it as a book that moves you. She has a National Prize for Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom given to her by President Barack Obama. This award-winning … You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Latina Entrepreneur Shares Bilingual Stories, 7 Latinx-Owned Curly Hair Brands to Support, Inside Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling's Relationship, Why Afro Latinas Are Embracing Spiritual Wellness, Hilarious Hispanic Comedians Will Make You Laugh, Isabel Allende Shares Her Novels' Inspirations, I Registered To Vote For the First Time—Here's Why, 22 Gifts For the Ultimate Selena Quintanilla Fan, Maria Hinojosa Is an Uncompromising Latina, AOC’s Spanish Isn't Perfect. Hailed as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Colombian novelist, journalist, and short story writer Gabriel García Márquez was known as the perfecter of magical realism, a genre of fiction that folds matters of fantasy into realistic situations. Read 14 304 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. If I were to not use my current idiom, what language would I use? This crime novelist and children’s fiction author is a Reykjavík native and a number 1 best-selling Icelandic crime fiction author. It’s a very powerful book, and Celan is… actually I have no adjectives to describe the kind of poetry he writes – it’s just so powerful. If the original is craggy and difficult, your job isn’t to smooth it out, your job is to create craggy and difficult English. We reviewed the first of them, Until the Debt is Paid, as part New Talent November in 2014 and were very impressed with the fine characterisation, seamless plotting and the depiction of Berlin in all its multicultural… Everyone should read the original language where they can. A poet and novelist, many of Alvarez's works explore the complexity of living both as a Dominican and an American. The words are exactly the same, but the position changes their meaning. For that reason alone it’s … It feels like we’re moving past the stage where the translator is meant to be the invisible hand, the person behind the curtain who does all the work and isn’t really appreciated for it. He wrote a host of novels, essays, plays, short story collections and travel books. You learn about him as a writer and about what moves him to write novels and short stories. Many credit him with perfecting a narrative style known as tremendismo, a tendency to emphasize violence and grotesque imagery. Read Saramago has a notoriously idiosyncratic style – quite difficult to translate I imagine. Prof. Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher and best-selling author of 'Sapiens' and 'Homo Deus'. I left full-time teaching many years ago and started full-time translating, though I still teach courses from time to time. In other words, you can leave every subject pronoun out of the sentence and move things around in Spanish or Portuguese in a way that you simply cannot do in English. Edith Grossman is an award-winning Spanish-to-English literary translator. “Why doesn’t it matter?” is more to the point. So it’s possible, though I wouldn’t want to do it every day of my life. What is it about the translation that you love so much? How effectively does Pontiero manage to convey it? In 1982 he earned the Nobel Prize for Literature for his most well-known work, the epic One Hundred Years of Solitude. Camilo José Cela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Spanish author. 3 It’s very difficult sometimes, because you want to maintain the style. Languages are, obviously, very different. You are the most recent in a very long line of translators to tackle Don Quixote. You can place parts of speech all over a sentence and the very structure of the words indicates what that sentence means. I’m apparently one of the few translators in the United States who works at it full time. Whom do I imitate in order to write in 16th century English? Which brings us to your choices. You simply have a noun, love. Celebrating its 12th year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards named its 2019 longlists for both fiction and poetry. This is a list of best-selling fiction authors to date, in any language. Read 9 636 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. That’s a great way of looking at it. The issue, edited by Rasha Abdulhadi and Basma Ghalayini will be published at the end of March 2021. First of all, it’s inevitable that there are so many translations because no two translators translate in the same way. There is one other question I wanted to ask you about Rabassa. I thought I’d throw that title back at you and ask straight out: Why does translation matter? I think he does it very well. A renowned journalist and long-time correspondent for Spain's El Pais newspaper, Montero's award-winning contemporary fiction is delves into the complexities of femininity and the rollercoasters of emotions and responsibilities that come with it. Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Doppelgänger written by Croatian author Daša Drndić only features two stories: “Arthur and Isabella,” … I think my sensitive skin toughened up as I grew older. We began with the best debut novels, the best short story collections, the best poetry collections, the best memoirs, the best essay collections, and the best (other) nonfiction of the decade. Unsurprisingly, children's books and fairy tales dominate the list of the most translated books throughout history. The winner of the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award, The Guide, definitely comes among the best novels by Indian Authors.The story is about a tour guide, Raju, who is the protagonist of the … Between Saramago and Sebald a world was opened to me that I had known nothing about. In my Quixote the only time I do anything like that is when Don Quixote goes off on a rant and starts imitating the language of the novels of chivalry. The Barcelona native initially only kept his mysterious, fantastical stories for the young adult genre. I haven’t looked at it since I was a teenager. But it was the immediacy of the translation and the brilliance of the novel which convinced me that I had made the right choice. Do you think there’s value in having so many translations for something as significant as Cervantes? The role is valued more now. Which goes back to what you were saying about the importance of translation – most people wouldn’t discover this great literature if translation didn’t exist. He was, of course, reading Faulkner in Spanish translation. One is: Does reading the translation move you to find out more about the original author and their work? It’s extremely practical in terms of what the challenges were in the original, and how he went about solving those challenges in his translations. I think a lot of more casual readers get put off by its length and the huge tradition behind it. His stories are heavily influenced by his Peruvian heritage and involvement in politics. Certainly in the US, there are more and more academic programmes in translation, so it’s possible to specialise in translation in graduate school. by John Felstiner There are certain words which get thrown around, like “seamless”. Just imagine how I felt when I started to translate it! I once translated a story of perhaps three or four pages that consisted of one single sentence. by José Saramago (translated by Giovanni Pontiero) To that extent, the translator is as important as the author. 5 I was so excited by the book, and so moved by it – it had me in tears. Discover his ideas, writing and lectures. Notable works: The Family of Pascual Duarte, The Hive, San Camilo. You write in the introduction to your own translation of Quixote how you took pains to make it a modern version. Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn selects her favourite novels from among those published in 2020: the year of the lockdown, a time when many of us found escapism and solace between the covers of a book. I am ready to get so much hate for making a definitive list, because of course everyone has their own opinions about mystery authors … Author of more than 25 best-selling novels, Harold Robbins’ novels have been translated into 32 different languages.With only around 25 novels, he rose to be a best-selling author … This novel, which was revolutionary in its structure and its use of imagination, is now absolutely compelling in English as well as in Spanish. So you take a vow of poverty, and proceed. It’s the way that we learn about other literatures, other peoples – I’m avoiding the word “cultures” because it’s not a favourite word of mine. Translators and scholars have translated the main works attributed to Homer, the Iliad and Odyssey, from the Homeric Greek into English since the 16th and 17th centuries. So you read Putnam’s translation before the original Spanish? He really deconstructs his translation, which seems to me a very innovative approach. Translations are ordered … Or Shakespeare? Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. Read. Grossman is also the author of Why Translation Matters. The other is: Does the translation make you completely happy as a reader? That mix is one of the brilliant things that Felstiner can do. So yes it was a bit of a cheat, but all of his novels, one after the other, touched me and moved me in the most profound way. And I have been grateful to Pontiero for bringing Saramago into my life. Apart from some Quakers we haven’t used that in English for 300 years. This is an issue I face when I deal with older pieces of writing – 16th century poetry, for example, or Don Quixote. There are writers on the longlist in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translation and young people's literature. Read. You have to impose certain syntactical rules for it to be a sentence in English, so it doesn’t match up with the original. I read something recently about translations of Tolstoy which said that Russian readers have only one Tolstoy, while English speakers have a plethora. What do you think is the most important aspect of a good translation? I have read One Hundred Years of Solitude in both Spanish and English, and I was so struck by what Rabassa was able to accomplish that it was the final argument to confirm some changes I made in my own life. Certainly in the English speaking world. If you say “John loves Mary”, it’s different to “Mary loves John”. Read I had initially wanted to study baroque poetry in Spanish. A fake 16th century English? So Cervantes had an influence on Faulkner through translation, Faulkner had an influence on García Márquez through translation, and García Márquez had an influence on Toni Morrison through translation. But Pontiero translates it beautifully. If you translate from English to Spanish, Spanish has certain requirements which you cannot break, otherwise the sentence makes no sense. Perhaps one of the most widely-read Spanish language authors of today, Zafon's world famous books have been translated in over 50 languages. But I never read any other translation except for Putnam’s. Books every Chinese Language Learner Should Read, High School Teachers Recommend Books by Subject. I would love to be able to, but I’ve never tried. Would you say Samuel Putnam’s translation of Don Quixote made you completely happy as a reader? Many credit the Argentine short-story writer, essayist, and poet's works with marking the beginning of the popular magical realism genre that swept Latin literature in the 20th century. The Nobel Prize in Literature winner is known to expertly cross genres with his work, writing prolific literary criticism, murder mysteries, historic novels, and political thrillers. It’s all of those things. There isn’t much money to be made in translating. His fictional worlds and mythical creatures had an immense impact on the writers that came after him. Do you think it’s possible for people to make a career out of full-time literary translation? I think for me and Gregory, when it comes to our translations of Gabriel García Márquez for example, what you learn about is Gabriel García Márquez. The first chapter especially is an entire course on translation. She continued the tradition of great translations of Saramago’s novels right up to the last, Cain. We here at OprahMag.com are always looking to expand our bookshelves. In English, we don’t always have endings on verbs to indicate the subject – I love, you love, we love, they love – so without a subject pronoun that doesn’t indicate who’s doing the loving. What makes them so popular? The best books on Translation recommended by Edith Grossman The award-winning literary translator discusses books on and of translation that inspired her, and considers the trade-off that every … If you’re interested in translation – or even if you’re not – Felstiner has done wonderful work in these two books on Pablo Neruda and Paul Celan. by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The point I’m trying to make about that syntactical difference is that word order is crucial in the meaning of an English sentence. She is best known for her novel, My Brilliant Friend. Would you say, when doing a translation, that it often ends up as a bit of a grammatical struggle? Faulkner himself claimed that he read Don Quixote once a year – something which Carlos Fuentes also claims to do – and most likely in English. If you read Russian there’s no point in not reading War and Peace in Russian, no matter how wonderful the English translation may be. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle book. Notable works: The Death of Artemio Cruz, The Old Gringo, Aura, Terra Nostra. I particularly liked the Basilicata … He wrote a host of novels, essays, plays, short story collections and travel books. Murakami is easily one of the most successful Japanese authors of all time. Giovanni Pontiero was Saramago’s translator until his death, and then Margaret Jull Costa took over. Notable works: Ficciones, El Aleph, The Library Babel. I’ve taught translation myself over the years. If you've enjoyed this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. Your commitment to writing is what really matters most as a translator. It’s just brilliant. I have never learnt the answer to that question. The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis I think the second novel was Madame Bovary, but it was trailing far behind. 4 His best-selling books have been translated into fifty languages, made into movies and adapted for the stage. by John Felstiner Here’s Why That Matte. 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