Translators and translators are heroes with a very special superpower: that a reader can read the words of a writer with the most faithful interpretation possible to his original text. And the readers, as if nothing had happened, we managed to read a work of immaculate appearance, without features that could take it away from the original work.

But of course, this superpower of translators carries a great responsibility. And it is that behind the books that reach us in our language, from abroad, there is immense work. Making these workers present is everyone's job.

What better day for such a claim than today, International Translation Day. From PlanetadeLibros we have had two meetings, which we present with two interviews. The first with Silvia Furió, translator of much of the works of the British writer Mary Beard, and with extensive experience in the field of non-fiction translation.

The second encounter has been with Fernando Cordobés and Yoko Ogihara. Pair of translators who often work together, as happened during the translation of one of the latest novels of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, The commander's death. They tell us how the experience of translating this novel was.


Interview with Silvia Furió, translator of Mary Beard

“Very slowly, the translator has acquired a certain visibility. Before his name did not appear, or it appeared on the credits page ”.

Translators' work seems invisible. Even so, they have a key role in spreading universal literature. What is the visibility of translators right now? And which one should they have?

From experience, I can say that very, very slowly, a certain visibility has been acquired. Before, in the books, the translator's name did not appear or appeared on the credits page. Now the visibility is greater: you appear on the cover or on the first page. Despite this, when works are cited, the reference to the translator rarely appears.

In the media it is even more complicated. When books are named, never, or almost never, the name of the translator appears. I think this is one of the things we should change. And perhaps, also, public visibility. I know that a few years ago there were translators who, at the festival of Sant Jordi, wanted to give some visibility to our work. Little things have been done, but I think we have to keep moving forward. It should also be more economically recognized.

Although they are not precisely seen, they are the ones that are most exposed to the judgment of the reader. How do you accept criticism?

It is true that the translator has a responsibility when it comes to transmitting the words of an author, and that, obviously, can make a novel or an essay book fail. Or vice versa, give it a better reception. That said, about the criticisms: the truth is that few are received in writing, so it is not a problem either. Unless it is an inflatable thing, then yes. At the press level I think it is also given little importance. It seems to be an aspect that goes quite unnoticed.

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Interview with Fernando Cordobés and Yoko Ogihara, translators of Haruki Murakami

"Without translation, the culture and global knowledge of humanity would be impoverished to unbearable extremes."

The commander's deathFernando Cordobés and Yoko Ogihara, translators of Haruki Murakami Translators' work seems invisible. Even so, they have a key role in spreading universal literature. What is the visibility of translators right now? And which one should they have?

And what would be of Western, Eastern and, in short, of all the civilizations we know without the fact of translation? Literary translation is simply exciting. It is a thorough, lonely, demanding, hard work. It is also one of the oldest trades in the world: since when are literary texts translated? In Spain, for example, there was (and exists) the Toledo School of Translators.

Without translation, the culture and global knowledge of humanity would be impoverished to unbearable extremes, because it is ultimately contact, relationship, knowledge of the Other, learning from realities different from ours. Octavio Paz said it and, in our humble opinion, it is very true: language is first of all translation. You face the reality of the world and translate it for yourself on your own terms.

On the other hand, we believe that translation deserves more attention than is given. In any case, today and thanks to very notable campaigns, such as ACE Traductores, we are a bit more visible who work on this. Finally, we would add that what is really important is the work of the authors, but it is crucial to value the work of the translators.

Although they are not precisely seen, they are the ones that are most exposed to the judgment of the reader. How do you accept criticism?

Criticisms are necessary and essential. A text is enriched with contributions, not with exclusions. Even when the criticisms are severe, they should be taken into account as long as they are argued, justified and relevant. Anyone who is dedicated to something exposed to a certain audience, must assume the possibility of criticism and accept it naturally as a tool to reflect on their work and improve it.

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