September 30 is International Translation Day, and the theme for this year is “Translation and Diversity.”
Every book I read offers a different perspective, on life and the human condition. Every book I translate or am involved in as an editor is a chance to share another viewpoint, another outlook, another voice, another culture. It’s such an awe-some privilege.
Here is a sampling of recent work, a spectrum of diversity.
Twelve tales from Mexico’s oral traditions have been published in their original indigenous language, in Spanish (by the authors), German (Susann Barahona) and English (Lisa Carter) translations.
From “Memory of a Heartless Volcano,” by Roberto Lorenzo Rueda from Chiapas:
The night the volcano erupted…my Grandpa Juan and Grandma Conchi set off for Pichucalco, just seconds before pumice stones smashed holes in their cardboard roof. As they walked down the path to Nicapa, ash rained down, and they left footprints every step of the way. Almost as if a piece of them was being left behind in the lands they had worked.
A work of literary fiction by one of Spain’s leading literary stylists, Luis Sanz Irles, this is a novel of ideas and action, in which language itself plays a starring role. (Novel translated by Lisa Carter)
No, the struggle would not be victorious; the day would never come when people would whisper as he passed in the street, pointing at him fearfully, saying with admiration: “Look! There goes Pastor, a commander in the people’s army, a hero of the revolution.” He couldn’t fool himself any longer. […] Was that it? Yup, that was it, he told himself, and lit another cigarette, pretending not to notice the tears gathering on his bottom lids, threatening to tumble down his cheeks.
A collection of 37 short stories translated by 37 different translators!
From “Couch,” translated from the French by Lisa Carter:
Whenever I see the ocean on holidays, I feel as if I’ve betrayed the best part of myself: I can’t understand why I live so far from the ocean.
Part mystery, part thriller, this is a fast-paced whodunit thriller, fraught with suspense and criminal acts at every turn. This #1 best seller in Spanish was translated by the talented Cathy Bahr, through the professional services of Intralingo Inc.
The Arctic Ocean stretched out before him into the distance, fading into a hazy white horizon. It was a daunting panorama under a cloud ceiling, swept by strong gusts of wind that raked up eddies of snow, foretelling the imminent arrival of a Russian Arctic winter storm.
Translation and diversity? Indeed!
Do share a line or two from your recent work in a comment!