Dare to Read

April 12, 2012

My adventures on translation : Bécquer Eternal / Bécquer Eterno

 

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

I haven’t blogged lately because I have been way too busy with the translation of my paranormal story Bécquer Eternal into Spanish.

The reason?

This year marks the 176 anniversary of Bécquer’s birthday and his home town of Sevilla (Spain) is having an Exhibit in his honor.

Many artists (poets, musicians, painters, sculptures, silversmiths, etc.) will remember him with their work. And I’m happy to say a copy of my book in Spanish will be included in the exhibit.

As the Exhibit will take place between May 25 and June 24, I must finish my translation, like yesterday, so I can get a printed copy in time.

I have worked as a translator for over ten years and Spanish is my native language. So I was surprised to realize how difficult it was to translate my own work.

The difficulty was not only on translating the meaning accurately, but on trying to keep the rhythm and lyricism of the original, as well as other factors like cultural references, slang, etc…

Yes, I knew this to be the case when you’re working with a literary text. But I knew it in a cerebral way. I knew it in my mind, not in my guts.

I will show you examples in future blogs.

Right now, Ill explain what I mean with an image, two images to be precise, that happen to be the covers of the English and Spanish version of my book.

Although they’re quite different, both transmit the spirit of my story.

The Spanish cover includes a portrait of Bécquer on the left. This portrait is as iconic in Spain as a picture of a blonde Marylyn would be in the States. But the cultural reference would be lost in an American audience.

And so it’s with the literary images. Cultural references are lost and must be substituted with others, making the translation both a frustrating and an exhilarating experience.

I’ll tell you more about it next week. Now, it’s back to work for me.

Until then, Happy Spring!

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2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for sharing this experience, Carmen. It was an eye-opening post. Both covers are gorgeous, though totally different.

    Comment by Sandra Carey Cody — April 13, 2012 @ 9:44 pm | Reply


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