Gabriel Garcia Marquez Loved the English Translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez Loved the English Translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude

Here’s something you might not expect on a list of translation facts: an author who didn’t have a problem with their translation! Colombian literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez admired Gregory Rabassa’s English translation of his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. So much so, in fact, that he considered it a work of art in itself.

“A good translation is always a re-creation in another language. That’s why I have such great admiration for Gregory Rabassa,” he told The Paris Review in 1981. “My books have been translated into 21 languages and Rabassa is the only translator who has never asked for something to be clarified so he can put a footnote in. I think that my work has been completely re-created in English.”

Rabassa is responsible for the impeccable opening line of the English version: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

In his memoir, If This Be Treason, Rabassa recounts how he chose “firing squad” instead of “firing party,” and how he faced criticism for translating conocer into “discover” instead of “experience” or “be familiar with.”

He is even responsible for the immortal title, which he could just as easily have translated to a weaker rendition, like A Hundred Years of Solitude, or One Hundred Years of Loneliness.

“I went for ‘solitude’ because it’s a touch more conclusive,” the translator said, “and also can carry the germ of ‘loneliness’ if pushed along those lines, as Billie Holiday so eloquently demonstrated.”

Fuente: daytranslations.com

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