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Posts under tag: Translation

January 31, 2018

Professor Gladhart brings Latin American novels to an English-speaking audience

UO Spanish professor Amalia Gladhart has several book recommendations she wants to share to help deepen people’s understanding of world literature — if only they weren’t written in Spanish.

But some of Gladhart’s favorite texts are written in that romance language. So about a decade ago she started translating published writing from Spanish to English because she wants to make those books and other written work more accessible to a broader audience.

Her newest project is to translate Argentine writer Angélica Gorodischer’s “Jaguar’s Tomb,” a 218-page novel that explores the difficulty of representing loss and grief in literature. Gladhart was awarded a prestigious 2018 National Endowment for the Arts literature translation fellowship to complete the work.

“I think it’s important to translate books like ‘Jaguar’s Tomb’ because I want to broaden and complicate people’s ideas about Latin American literature,” Gladhart said. “In some ways, this novel will meet reader’s expectations of Argentine literature. But in other ways, it will interrupt and challenge their expectations.”

The National Endowment for the Arts funds translation projects like Gladhart’s because the organization shares her desire to make more fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry available to an English-speaking audience.

“Jaguar’s Tomb” will be the second novel of Gorodischer’s that Gladhart has translated. She first met the author while she was teaching at a study abroad program in Argentina and searching for a new translation project. The site director facilitated an introduction with Gorodischer and Gladhart was immediately captivated by the author and her writing, which she lauds as being thought-provoking, funny and engaging.

“Angélica Gorodischer is such an interesting author to translate because she pushes the edge of many genres,” Gladhart said.

She describes Gorodischer as a prolific writer who has published a diverse body of work, including short stories, science fiction, novels, feminist commentary and a regular newspaper column that covers the gamut from politics to culture. The author is pushing 90 years of age and is still actively writing and offering support to emerging female authors.

Gladhart was drawn to “Jaguar’s Tomb” because she’s interested in probing the central problem of the book: the expression of absence. Gorodischer uses a trio of different narrators to explore the difficulty of representing absence, including absences related to the abductions and disappearances that occurred during the military dictatorship in Argentina’s “dirty war” of 1976-83.

To read the novel as a citizen of Argentina in 2005 would be a very different experience from reading the translation in the United States in 2018, Gladhart points out. This contextual difference is one of many considerations that she will take into account as she translates the book and aims to uphold the intricacies of the story and the questions it raises.

The English words that she selects for the translation are obviously another factor Gladhart will need to consider — one that is not as simple as just exchanging Spanish words for their English counterparts.

“Every single word is different in translation,” Gladhart said. “Each Spanish word has a constellation of words it might connect to. And while an English word might share its definition in the dictionary, it has an entirely different constellation of words attached to it.”

Gladhart finds that dichotomy adds an enjoyable complexity to translation work. She sees an appealing challenge in trying to remake the story using different tools and word connotations. She’s discovered that she’s drawn to work that involves a generous amount of word play and puzzles to solve.

Historical details and literary devices and contextual clues also must be taken into account. She explains that she spends hours researching references that might contain a deeper meaning: Is there a reason the author incorporated a specific type of food or plant or location? If so, Gladhart tries to honor that symbolism in her translation.

“I aim to present my fullest expression of my understanding of the text through my translation,” she said. “There are so many different ways that one can read and understand something. Translating stories is really a mix of the scholarly and creative.”

The fellowship will give Gladhart more time to fully immerse herself in the work and word play of translating “Jaguar’s Tomb.” Once the project is complete in 2019, it probably won’t be long before she finds another text to tackle so she can share even more writing with a larger audience.

“There are so many exciting and odd and interesting stories in the world that we wouldn’t get to read without translations,” she said.

By Emily Halnon, University Communications


January 14, 2017

Wacks on Translation in Sephardic Diaspora

Francisco López de Gómara’s note to his potential translators

Professor of Spanish David Wacks has published “Translation in Diaspora: Sephardic Spanish-Hebrew Translations in the Sixteenth Century” in A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, vol. 2. (ed. César Domínguez, Anxo Abuín González, and Ellen Sapega, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2016, 351–363).

Spain’s Jews in 1492 were faced with the ultimatum of converting to Christianity or leaving the kingdom. Many chose to leave, but despite beginning new lives in Italy, North Africa, or the Ottoman Empire, continued to speak Spanish and consider themselves culturally Spanish Jews. Some of these ‘Sephardic’ (Sepharad is the Hebrew word for Spain) Jews translated popular Spanish novels and histories into Hebrew for diffusion among the non-Spanish Jewish communities where they lived. Their translations go further than just translating words from one language into another: they alter the values of the texts to better resonate with non-Spanish, non-Christian readers, sometimes in ways that seem heavy-handed to modern readers. What this means is that translation, for these writers, was not simply a way to gain access to new things to read; rather, it was a way to bring new materials in line with the culture of the reading community.

You can read a related blog post here, the Open Access version of the full essay is available on here.

October 23, 2014

Gladhart Edits Special Issue of Symposium on Translation

Professor of Spanish Amalia Gladhart recently guest edited a special issue of the journal Symposium titled ‘Translator + Translated: New Work from Latin America’ (Symposium 68; 2014) that brings together four renowned translators of Latin American literature, including Romance Languages’ own Senior Lecturer Amanda Powell as well as Gregary Racz, Cindy Schuster, and Jean Graham-Jones. The contributors’ essays highlight both extended passages from their translations and the translators’ own reflections on the translation process. Gladhart’s goal in editing the issue was just that combination–translator [plus] translated, a chance to read what had been translated (in the case of Schuster’s and Racz’s contributions, an entire short story and poem, respectively) in concert with a consideration of how that translation was reached. The translator’s theoretical reflections are grounded in the specifics of the text under discussion, and the translations are in turn illuminated by the translator’s explanations–or maybe it’s the other way around. Narrative fiction (short story and novel), theater, and poetry are all represented. Gladhart’s introduction, a brief meditation on translation and context, sets the stage.


February 13, 2014

Matvei Yanelevich- Theorizing Translation

“The Desk Drawer and the Window: The Private Writing of Daniil Kharms as a
Basis for Theorizing Translation”

Monday March 3rd, 2014
Erb Memorial Union- Gumwood Room*
*this is a location change, updated on 2/28/14

To write for the desk drawer is the Russian expression for a kind of manuscript production not meant for publication because of its content (political, private, pornographic), its lack of quality (un-professional, amateur, pseudo-literary), or the writer’s attitude of apathy or active concealment. The desk-drawer manuscripts of Russian surrealist/absurdist writer Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) exhibit this fugitive position in respect to print: not conceived of as preliminary to publication, they are hidden, private, or meant only for a dedicatee’s individual reading. Kharms’s fragmentary style, developed under the conditions of private writing, resulted in poems, stories, plays, and incantations that foreground the surface and gesture of writing. The focus of this talk will be the special problems for the translator and current translation theory arising from this peculiar situation where the source text- unfinished, unstable, evading standard typographic setting–is not just a text, but a graphic performance.


September 11, 2013

Gladhart discusses translation at public forum in Rosario, Argentina

Prof Amalia Gladhart with Angélica Gorodischer

Read coverage of the event in Rosario daily, La capital
[click here for English translation]Rosario, Argentina, August 24, 2013: The Colegio de Traductores de la Provincia de Santa Fe hosted a public dialogue with novelist Angélica Gorodischer and Professor of Spanish and Head of Romance Languages Amalia Gladhart, moderated by translator Delfina Morganti. Gladhart’s translation of Trafalgar, a novel in stories by Gorodsicher first published in 1979, was published in 2013 by Small Beer Press.  The second of Gorodsicher’s books to appear in English translation–Kalpa Imperial, translated by Ursula K. LeGuin, is also available from Small Beer Press–Trafalgar combines a down-to-earth sensibility with tales of interplanetary travel, as protagonist Trafalgar Medrano regales his friends with tales of his far-ranging sales trips. In their discussion, Gorodsicher and Gladhart discussed writing and translation practices, the challenges of publishing work in translation, and translation as a collaborative practice.

Gladhart and Gorodischer dialogue at the Colegio de Traductores de la Provincia de Santa Fe


May 9, 2013

Gregary Racz to speak on UO Campus about Translation- May 9th & May 10th

Professor Gregary J. Racz is a scholar and translator of peninsular and Latin American literature and poetry. He specializes in the analogical rendering of meter and rhyme, a practice that challenges dominant translation methodologies. Among his translations are Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s “Life Is a Dream” and Lope de Vega’s “Fuenteovejuna.”  He is an associate professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at Long Island University Brooklyn and teaches Spanish translation in the Rutgers Translation Certification Program. Racz is President of the American Literary Translators Association and a book review editor for Translation Review.

Both of his upcoming events are free and open to the public.



May 1, 2013

Joáo Melo to lead two events on UO Campus, Friday, May 31st, 10am & Noon

João Melo will participate in a multilingual roundtable discussion around the topic “Cultural Dissemination Through Translation” Friday, May 31 from 10-11 am EMU Metolius room.

At 12pm, João Melo will give a public lecture entitled “Angolan Culture and Literature: From the Local to the Universal” also in the EMU Metolius room.  This talk will be in Portuguese with simultaneous translation to English.  A reception will follow.  All students and faculty are welcome.

João Melo has published twelve works of poetry, most recently Cântico da terra e dos homens (2010), five works of fiction, including O homen que não tira o palito da boca (2009) and the book of essays Jornalismo e política (1991) as well as contributions to the Angolan journals ABC, Jornal de Angola and Lavra e Oficina, the Gazette of the Angolan Writers Union. He received an honorable mention for the Sonangol Prize in Literature in 1996. He has worked as a journalist for the National Radio of Angola, has directed several  media outlets such as the Angola Press Agency-ANGOP, the Jornal de Angola and O Correio da Semana, and currently heads the communications firm Movimento. He is a founding member of the Angolan Writers Union and is a representative in the Angolan National Assembly.

For further information or questions, please contact Lanie Millar at

March 24, 2013

Pedro García-Caro interviewed by University of Puerto Rico radio on his translation of Wallace Shawn’s The Fever

Prof. García-Caro was interviewed last January for the cultural radio program 123 Probando by actress and director Rosa Luisa Márquez and artist Antonio Martorell. Here are the two links (first partsecond part) to listen online to the hour-long interview. The Fever / La fiebre is a critical bilingual flip book edition of Wallace Shawn’s 1991 monologue, co-translated into Spanish by García-Caro and Argentinean playwright Rafael Spregelburd. Here is an excerpt from García-Caro’s Introduction:

“The Fever seeks to subvert the complacent conscience of the globalized traveling Westerner/American sitting in the audience through a long-established process of empathy and identification, which is, however, devoid of either classical catharsis or a consensus-building, feel-good resolution. Instead, The Fever is an essay-monologue which seeks to contaminate the reader-spectator with that exotic ethical fever the traveler has picked up in a foreign country. As such, it is an infectious text, reader beware.”


May 8, 2011

Gladhart publishes translation of Yánez Cossío’s Beyond the Islands

Beyond the Islands, Prof. Gladhart’s translation of Ecuadorian writer Alicia Yánez Cossío’s third novel, Más allá de las islas (1980), was published in March, 2011 by University of New Orleans Press. The novel takes place in a somewhat fantastic version of the Galápagos; the islands become a site of cross-cultural exchange, as pirates, settlers from the mainland, foreign scientists, and tourists converge on the archipelago.

Each of the eight chapters centers on a particular character as that character attempts to evade an ambiguously personified –but always female– Death. Yánez Cossío uses the islands’ isolation and the overlapping discourses surrounding them (evolutionary biology, ecotourism, pirate stories) to address issues also present within mainland Ecuador. By turns hilarious and troubling, her sharp-eyed yet ultimately generous treatment of small town self-importance and personal ambition blends humor and social commentary. Although she skewers stereotypes of myopic scientists and naïve tourists, she also underscores the violence born of prejudice and intolerance. The setting in the Galapagos further reflects the tension between magic and biology that Yánez Cossío explores.

Sixteenth-century sailors called the islands “enchanted” because they seemed to appear and disappear. Today the Galapagos are known as the source of many of Darwin’s insights, as a desirable tourist destination, and as an endangered UNESCO World Heritage Site precariously situated within the national waters of a country plagued by poverty and inequality. For Ecuador, the islands, annexed in 1832 and first settled as a penal colony, have been a destination for impoverished colonists from the mainland, a military base, a source of revenue and of national pride, and a hotly disputed area in which the interests of local fishermen, settlers, tour operators, and conservationists come into conflict. All of these groups appear in Yánez Cossío’s novel.

To translate a novel is to rewrite it, and the challenges posed are both scholarly and aesthetic. The translated text is necessarily different than the original, in part because of the context in which it is read. Yánez Cossío’s novels are full of puns, neologisms, and tongue-in-cheek references to local politics and history. Yánez Cossío’s novels depict a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual society, and the characters’ speech varies by region and social class. For instance, Beyond the Islands includes one character who speaks very poor Spanish and another who adopts a more formal, elevated usage that she is unable to maintain for more than a sentence or two. My challenge as a translator was to find analogous distortions in English that would produce a similarly humorous critique.

February 11, 2011

Powell conducts translation workshop in Querétaro, México

Senior Instructor of Spanish Amanda Powell will be running an 11-day workshop titled “Mundo a Mundo” in Querétaro, Mexico, this July. Mundo a Mundo is a literary translation workshop that has resulted in the exchange of novels, stories, poems, drama and cultural expression – in both Spanish and English.

Since 1995, Mundo a Mundo has offered language, literature and culture aficionados an encouraging atmosphere for Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish literary translation. The workshop, which will start on July 11 and end July 22, cultivates analytical and creative skills necessary to transform literary works from one language to another. The topics include cultural differences, figurative language, traditions and genres. Participants bring their individual projects for assistance and feedback from the director and peers. “It’s kind of like a literary lab,” Powell says, “where things come into being based on the participants and their projects.”

Participants attend three-hour morning sessions, Monday through Friday, for two weeks; afternoons and evenings are free for individual project work and cultural activities, sightseeing and entertainment. Participants include creative writers, journalists, professional translators, cultural activists, passionate amateurs, and university, college and high-school teachers from all over the world. Their ages range from 20-80. While no prior translation experience is necessary, participants are required to be proficient in Spanish and English, as well as have an enthusiasm for literature, language and culture. Several UO faculty members, including Amalia Gladhart and Bryan Moore, have attended Mundo a Mundo over the years.

Querétaro serves as the perfect setting for this intercultural workshop as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with romantic plazas, charming colonial buildings and friendly pedestrian walkways. The city balances relaxing cafes, beautiful parks, and Spanish-style patios with dance performances, film festivals and cultural events produced by six major universities, museums, art galleries and shopping centers. Mexicans and foreigners agree that Querétaro is “muy mexicana.” Workshop participants may choose to live with a host family, or stay in one of Querétaro’s hotels, hostels or bed and breakfasts.

“In addition to working on individual projects, Mundo a Mundo builds lifelong, international friendships,” Powell says. “It’s demanding, but rewarding.”

Sarah Sullivan is a senior at the University of Oregon. She studies public relations and Spanish.

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