Found in Translation

As I reread the classic work Love in the Time of Cholera, by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, I am struck by its flowing lyricism and dynamic wordplay.

That said, I cannot help but think of the contribution made to the work by translator Edith Grossman. “Needy Edie,” as she’s known in our translator circle, is a master of taking the already beautiful Spanish language and making it even more beautifuller. Take, for example, the opening line of the novel: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

Nice, huh? Pure Edie. If you look at the original Spanish version, a literal translation reads thusly: “What stinks in here? Oh, it’s almonds.” Not exactly Shakespeare. Continue reading “Found in Translation”