If This Be Treason (Paperback)
Translation and Its Dyscontents: A Memoir
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811216654, 189pp.
Publication Date: September 17, 2006
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Gregory Rabassa's influence as a translator is tremendous. His translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch have helped make these some of the the most widely read and respected works in world literature. (Garcia Marquez was known to say that the English translation of One Hundred Years was better than the Spanish original.) In If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents, Rabassa offers a cool- headed and humorous defense of translation, laying out his views on the translator's art. Anecdotal and always illuminating, Rabassa traces his career from a boyhood on a New Hampshire farm, his school days "collecting" languages, the two and a half years he spent overseas during WWII, and his South American travels, until one day "I signed a contract to do my first translation of a long work Cortazar's Hopscotch] for a commercial publisher." Additionally, Rabassa offers us his "rap sheet," a consideration of the various authors and the over 40 works he has translated. This long-awaited memoir is a joy to read, an instrumental guide to translating, and a look at the life of one of its great practitioners.