Edith Grossman translated many of Gabriel García Márquez’s works into English. She talked to the Washington Post about the late author’s works and her particular style of translation.
One comment that stood out to me was Grossman’s opinion that translating a piece of literature is like writing a new piece completely rather than simply changing or rewriting the original. She claims that different languages are different systems, and as such, translated works are always different than the original.
Some people might balk at rewriting one of the greatest works of a generation, and others will argue that translation is an inherently impossible task. From one culture to another, there are differences, and even things that do not exist outside one specific culture.
It seems to me that the skill and the authorship of the translator come into play when she finds a way to bring a word, metaphor, or idea to a new culture for the first time, while at the same time respecting the writer’s voice. I am by no means an expert on literary translation (I specialize in medical interpreting), but I certainly enjoyed getting an insight into how this translator takes on her work.
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