El Doctor Jorge Converso fue mi profesor de Traducción Literaria y escribió un artículo EN INGLÉS muy valioso que copio abajo.

¡Ojalá les guste tanto como a mí!

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Are English Cats different from Argentine cats?

By Jorge Converso

In Never Stop on the Motorway,a short story by British author Jeffrey Archer, the protagonist hits a cat when she is driving on the motorway. A small black creature had shot across her path, and despite her quick reactions, she hadn’t been able to avoid hitting it. Diana swung onto the hard shoulder. And then she saw it, lying on the grass verge. A cat that had crossed the road for the tenth time. She stepped out of the car, and walked towards the lifeless body. The cat had crossed the road for the tenth time because, unlike Argentine cats, English cats have nine lives, not seven. Thus, for the text to make sense in Spanish, the translation should be por octava vez rather than por décima vez. A cultural difference we can’t ignore when it comes to translating.

Talking about cats, it should be pointed out that the sight of a black cat affects people in different ways in Argentina and in England. In Argentina, a black cat crossing your path is a bad omen, whereas in England it means you will be lucky. Different countries, different superstitions. That is why the American film Friday 13 became Martes 13 when it was shown in our country. Another cultural difference to be taken into account. In Tim Parks´ novel Loving Roger, one of the characters considers the possibility of committing suicide: I would go and tell somebody (I didn’t know who, the Samaritans maybe, or Mum’s vicar who said he would never throw the first stone. But it would be the police in the end) -tell them how it had been between us, Roger and I… In England, The Samaritans is an organization which tries to help people in despair, especially those thinking of committing suicide. Therefore, it should be translated as: Centro de Asistencia al Suicida. The choice of the Spanish word Samaritanos would be quite inappropriate in this context, for the Argentine reader would only associate it with the biblical story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30.37), and the idea of suicide, which is very clear in the original, would be overlooked in Spanish.

In England, the word tea is sometimes used as a synonym of supper, especially by working class people, in which case the translation should be cena rather than té. By the way, those people who call supper tea also call lunch dinner.

Melinda is a twenty-year-old university student in Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone. Even though her parents are well-off, she sides with the working class. Geoff, one of the villagers, praises the hat she is wearing. Trying to minimize its value, Melinda replies: .I got it in the Oxfam shop.. Oxfam is the abbreviation of Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, an organization founded in Oxford in 1942 which provides practical relief in developing countries. La tienda de Oxfam would mean next to nothing to the Spanish-speaking reader.

Perhaps, in Spanish Melinda should say something like Lo compré en una feria Americana or Es de segunda mano. In The Human Factor, a novel by Graham Greene, we read: “and again he regretted his reply. It was always safer to be inconspicuous. There were times, which grew more frequent every year, when he daydreamed of complete conformity, as a different character might have dreamt of making a dramatic century at Lord’s.”A ccording to the Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, a century means 100 runs made by one cricket player in one innings.

(innings: the period of time during which a cricket team or player bats). Lord’s is the most important cricket ground in Britain. In the case of Greene’s novel, context does not enable the Spanish-speaking reader to infer that the topic is cricket. Therefore, some words should be added for the meaning to be conveyed in Spanish, as in Argentina, owing to cultural distance, few people know that Lord’s is a cricket ground: hacer una jugada de cricket memorable en Lord’s. Literary references can also be a drawback for translators. In Look Back in Anger, the famous play by John Osborne, which marks the beginning of the .angry generation, we find reference to one of the main characters in Bernard Shaw’s play Candida:

CLIFF: I get mixed up with all your women. Was she the one all those years older than you?

JIMMY: Ten years.

CLIFF: Proper little Marchbanks, you are!

In Candida, Marchbanks is an eighteen-year old poet who falls in love with Candida, a married woman older than him. Un perfecto Marchbanks is likely to mean nothing to the average Argentine reader. In this context, something like un adolescente precoz would be more suitable.

These are just a few examples that go to prove that cultural references and cultural distance are not a minor issue in the translation process.

A conscientious translator should be fully aware of them to avoid making gross mistakes, and to prevent his rendering of the original into the target language from being unintelligible. This implies the fact that a good translator should have a solid cultural background that enables him or her to avoid falling into the traps laid by cultural references in the source text. Thank God, countries are different. Otherwise it would be excruciatingly boring. It takes all kinds to make a world, but sometimes that.cultural variety makes a translator’s life difficult.



Igualmente pueden verlo en el enlace que copio a continuación.



The Metamorphosis



ll the way home in the bus and in the lift up to his flat ThomasYersaw was in a pensive mood. So absorbed in his memories was he that it seemed to him he was alone in a crowd. Entering his room, Thomas looked around it with a feeling of sadness, recognising most of the treasured things crammed into it through the years but not caring much. Once more, he felt disappointed. Once more fate seemed to be against him. Influenced by the veiled threats he had been tormented with from time to time, the constant derogatory looks cast upon him, the anguishing shame that others were suffering entirely because of him, he had now made his mind up: his decision could not be put off any longer. The secrecy and the shame of it were burdens too terrible for him to carry.

Almost three years had passed, no, four. It was four years to that very day. Four years he had been subjected to every kind of persecution. Bad luck had always been at his side. Shouts, struggles, reproaches (more and more unbearable as time went by), had led him to .a point of no return. Some people, he knew, would talk about responsibility, maturity, manhood.

Those magic and eternal words in which people always based their accusations! Thomas took up a wooden framed mirror and scrutinised his face. He surveyed his snub nose, his round chin. The smudges beneath his eyes were like bruises. The image of a vulnerable, trembling, exhausted face grinned back at him from the glass. The mirror reflected a window. The window. And what if…at that very moment, he were to open the balcony window.? And who would dare to prevent him from opening it.? How many steps was he from putting an end to his inner conflict?

At the end of the day, it is the result that counts.. More than once had he struggled to keep back those tears striving to come out. His earlier memories suddenly came back to him: Men do not cry… (What do men do, then?) No answer. However, by now it was a matter of no importance.

They would cease harassing him with those absurd and menacing threats. Certainly, he had not developed his habit out of necessity but out of a very great pleasure. However hard he tried, he could not get rid of it. In the same way as things are used to starting, things come to an end. The chiming of clock. His leader’s tone had become apologetic: Everything must end this same day..

Things had come to a pretty pass… What an irony! His birthday as a deadline. Much to his concern, the die was cast. The ticking of the clock seemed to seal his fate. Time persecutes you whenever and wherever you are. Long ago he had learnt to set aside even his dearest belongings but now he almost felt he had been deprived of his dignity. To recover it, he could not live hiding

himself away any longer. Perhaps in his deeper consciousness, he considered he must face up to things as they really were. He could not live switching between fantasy and reality at his personal convenience. These things leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

Hopelessly, Thomas had observed that family of his, throwing him disapproving looks, always murmuring, always whispering, always plotting against him, and the last straw: that story of those business men had come true. In front of those .gentlemen, . a completely tactless person had revealed to them the truth about him. There is a price for everything we do. Cowardice reflects nothing but shame on one’s family. He had felt his good name sullied. If he allowed this suffering to become a routine, it would be worse. His honour was at stake.

How many stories? Ten? A hundred?

Cautiously, he stood up. Bewildered, Thomas took a breath and raised his hands to the door handle. Eyes bright. With a violent effort, the door burst open. He controlled himself. Thomas stood still. Eyes shut. (How high was that building?) It might be. That did not make any difference. Not a trace would be left. If any, even some car would run it over! Thomas felt himself no longer a human being. A metamorphosis was devastating him. At least he would have the compensation of having done his duty. The cold wind hit his face. Down in the street the usual crowd went to and fro. He stood firmly on the tips of his toes and gripped the rail tightly. In a twinkle of an eye and after fumbling in the pocket of his trousers, Thomas took out his old and beloved company. They had been together through an entire lifetime. With all his might, he threw it down the street. His dearest dummy. Nibbled and chewed. That day Thomas Yersaw was six, and his tender childhood had been left behind.


by Inés García Botana


Éste es mi mundo.


Recién empiezo. No sé bien cómo funciona todo esto así que de a poco iré agregando lo que me gusta, lo que me hace sentir bien. Todavía no tengo muy claro cómo voy a empezar. Estuve recorriendo varios blogs, todos muy interesantes, algunos muy politizados, pero está bien porque es la manera que la gente tiene de descargar sus broncas, sus ideas, sus alegrías y sus angustias. La encontré a Mafalda, y se me saltó una sonrisa. Y no estaba Mafalda precisamente puesta por un argentino/a sino por gente de otro país. Este sitio parece ser muy interesante, vamos a ver cuánto puedo poner de mí. Aún no encontré páginas de traducción o de cuentos que es lo que a mí me gusta, pero ya intentaré algo. Veo que la gente participa. Eso es buenísimo. Claro, para escribir uno tiene que estar inspirado. O muy enojado o muy feliz. Y yo no estoy ni lo uno ni lo otro. Así que mejor me voy a dormir y a pensar qué voy a bloguear. (¿Se dirá así?) Volveré pronto. Chau.

El “sitio” si a esto se le puede llamar Sitio sigue en construcción, obviamente. No me resulta fácil ni adecuado escribir en un lugar donde no sé cómo se manejan las cosas. La mano viene medio complicada. No quiero que aparezca el “Uncategorized” y aparece, se lo cambio y vuelve a aparecer. En fin. Pero ya le encontraré la vuelta. Mientras esto sigue como ….

Creo que debo decir: SITIO EN CONSTRUCCIÓN o que tengo el cerebrogastado5ox_th.jpg