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Translators as characters in fiction books
Thread poster: Rafaela Lemos

Rafaela Lemos  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:01
Italian to Portuguese
+ ...
Mar 10, 2008

Hello you all,

Does anybody know any book (novels, fiction in general ) that has a translator as the main character?


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
interpreting Mar 10, 2008

Rafaela Lemos wrote:

Hello you all,

Does anybody know any book (novels, fiction in general ) that has a translator as the main character?




Javier Marias, Un Corazón Tan Blanco, translated as A Heart So White by M Jull Costa

http://www.ralphmag.org/AI/heart-white.html
A Heart
So White
Javier Marías
(New Directions)
Juan works as a translator. Luisa works in the same field --- in fact, that is how they met and, ultimately, married. It was at a high-level meeting between Margaret Thatcher and Juan Carlos of Spain where they were alone with the two leaders.

Book Synopsis
Juan knows little about his widowed father Ranz, a man with a troubled past; if he has been told no lies, that is because he has asked no questions. All he does know is that before marrying Juan`s mother, Ranz was married to her elder sister and she had committed suicide. The unspoken dialogue between father and son, however, is to become a spelling out of the horrifying truth once Juan has been married for a year to Luisa ...

First chapter (spectacular!)
http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:ZiWQn_vtC2EJ:www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/marias-01heart.html%20"A%20heart%20so%20white"&hl=en&client=firefox-a&gl=es&strip=1

I DID NOT WANT to know but I have since come to know that one of the girls, when she wasn't a girl anymore and hadn't long been back from her honeymoon, went into the bathroom, stood in front of the mirror, unbuttoned her blouse, took off her bra and aimed her own father's gun at her heart, ....

Mentions of translator / interpreter in Google Books:
http://books.google.es/books?hl=en&id=jkA7Y-H__NwC&dq="a%20heart%20so%20white"&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=M2yGyUFXPk&sig=alTmB8i_nWARCGDF2qqnPWDBHMU

Page 29
I suppose that's why I have a tendency (as does Luisa, who is also an interpreter, except that we don't share exactly the same languages and she's less ...
Page 30
That's the chief curse of the working interpreter, when for some reason (terrible diction, a thick foreign accent, my own absent- mindedness), ...
Page 47
... before returning for a further stint of two months or so in the same places), the task of the translator or interpreter of speeches and reports is ...
Page 51
grew even more vociferous in their protests, and Flaxman threatened to go in person to one of the cabins and act as his own interpreter. ...
Page 52
... having worked as both translator and interpreter (though now I work solely as an interpreter, the advantages outweigh the fact that it leaves you ...

Page 29
I speak and understand and read four languages including my own and that's why, I suppose, I've spent part of my working life as a translator and ...
Page 47
... before returning for a further stint of two months or so in the same places), the task of the translator or interpreter of speeches and reports is ...
Page 50
on the verge of declaring war, but the occasions when, for some reason, there's no translator available to translate or, and this is not an uncommon ...
Page 51
It's odd because, in fact, no one can be sure that what the translator translates from his isolated cabin is correct or true and I need hardly say that, ...
Page 52
... having worked as both translator and interpreter (though now I work solely as an interpreter, the advantages outweigh the fact that it leaves you ...


[Edited at 2008-03-10 23:10]


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:01
French to English
Crime and Punishment Mar 11, 2008

The main character Raskolnikov sometimes worked as a translator when he wasn't mugging old ladies. This may not be the sort of thing you're looking for, though!

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
google Books helps a lot:-) Mar 11, 2008

The Translator
by John Crowley - Fiction - 2002 - 295 pages
In John Crowley's new novel, he tells a tale of tremendous scope and beauty, set in a time when a writer's words -- especially forbidden ones -- could be powerful enough to change the course of history. In 1962, at a large college in the Midwest, a young woman with a troubled recent history registers for a class -- a class that is to be taught by an exiled Russian poet. A writer herself, Kit Malone is drawn to Innokenti Falin, as he is called. The two forge a friendship that develops into something more: He asks her to help translate his work. With the tension of the cold war accelerating toward a crisis in Cuba, the atmosphere on campus becomes contentious. Meanwhile, working on each poem with Falin, Kit finds herself able to face the secrets that made her swear never to write her own poetry again. And as the summer slips away, a delicate love grows between two displaced people. It will not be until years later, though, that Kit will realize what really happened on the last night she spent with Falin, while the country held its breath against the threat of war.

The Translator

The Translator
by Leila Aboulela - Fiction - 2006 - 208 pages
When Sammar, a Sudanese widow living alone in Aberdeen and working as an Arabic translator at a Scottish university, takes a job with Rae, a Scottish Islamic scholar, she finds herself falling in love, despite his lack in faith in all she holds sacred, in the first North American edition of the first novel by the acclaimed author of Minaret.



The Translator
by Ward Just - Fiction - 1999 - 314 pages
Sydney Van Damm loves living among foreigners: having escaped Germany and his boyhood
memories of World War II, he makes a life as a translator in Paris.
Sydney Van Damm loves living among foreigners: having escaped Germany and his boyhood memories of World War II, he makes a life as a translator in Paris. There he meets Angela, an American expatriate who becomes his wife. Their marriage is brushed by tragedy, and in the turbulent seventies and eighties, as the new Europe is born, Sydney gets involved in an East German scam that comes crashing down around him.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Guild of Xenolinguists Mar 11, 2008

If you like Science Fiction:
http://www.amazon.com/Guild-Xenolinguists-Sheila-Finch/dp/1930846487


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
German to English
+ ...
Das Fenster zum Sommer Mar 11, 2008

"Das Fenster zum Sommer" by Hannelore Valencak

... an den rußigen Rand einer größeren Stadt, in das öde Übersetzungsbüro einer Stahlfirma ...

http://www.lyrikwelt.de/rezensionen/dasfensterzumsommer-r.htm


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:01
Member (2006)
English to French
one in French Mar 11, 2008

"Le traducteur", by Jacques Gélat, about a translator who changes more and more details in the books he translates. (I have not read it yet!)

Here is the summary in French :

Le narrateur, traducteur très consciencieux remplace un point-virgule par une virgule, s’aperçoit de son erreur mais ne la corrige pas. Le voici sur une pente qui va le mener très loin. Dans les traductions suivantes, il change quelques détails (couleur des yeux, etc) ; l’éditeur n’y voit que du feu. Il glisse alors une phrase de son cru, puis plusieurs, apportant de nouvelles nuances aux œuvres traduites ce qui le conduit à désirer – quel traducteur n’en a pas rêvé ? – écrire son propre roman.

http://www.jose-corti.fr/titresfrancais/traducteur.html


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:01
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Film - Truly, Madly, Deeply Mar 11, 2008

Some 10 years or so ago there was a fascinating British film called Truly, Madly, Deeply, in which the leading character was a translator working at a small agency in London, played by Juliet Stevenson. She is haunted by the increasingly frequent appearance in her flat of her cello-playing deceased lover, played by Alan Rickman before he was so famous, and eventually a bunch of his deceased friends who set up house there.
I know you were asking about books, but for all I know this film may have been based on a book.
Best wishes,
Jenny.


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Michał Szcześniewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:01
English to Polish
+ ...
two more Mar 11, 2008

1. Pablo De Santis "La traducción"
and
2. John le Carré "The Mission Song" (here the main character was an interpreter though).

Michał

[Edited at 2008-03-11 11:33]


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:01
English to French
+ ...
Dezsö KOSZTOLÁNYI - the kleptomaniac translator Mar 11, 2008

This Hungarian writer wrote a brillant short story about a kleptomaniac translator who cannot help but steal some words out of his translations.

In French translation it's called "Le traducteur kleptomane".

For instance in the original work there is a old lady living in a 10-room mansion, and in the translation she lives in a 4-room small house.


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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:01
Member (2009)
English to French
Another one Mar 11, 2008

La traduction est une histoire d'amour (Translation is a love story)
Jacques Poulin

A small and cute book mixing a translation story with a little mystery story.


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:01
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Mario Vargas Llosa: Mischiefs of the Bad Girl Mar 11, 2008

Mario Vargas Llosa:
Mischiefs of the Bad Girl / Travesuras de la niña mala
Ricardo leaves Peru and moves to Paris where he starts to work as a translator for the UNESCO.
" I traveled throughout Europe, working at all kind of conferences and congresses, and I brought the translations with me, and did them at night, at hotels and pensions, on a portable typewriter."

"I felt less ghostlike as a literary translator than I did as an interpreter. I had to make decisions, explore Spanish searching for nuances and cadences that.. "

"..reading all of Chekhov, choosing his most beautiful stories, and bringing them over into Spanish. It was more delicate than translating the speeches and papers to which I was accustomed in my work..."


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Related fields... Mar 11, 2008

Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" is an adventure story in which the two heroes are a cryptographer and a foreign language professor.

The plot's a bit silly, but it's a page-turner.


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Alison Anderson  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:01
French to English
House on Moon Lake, Francesca Duranti Mar 12, 2008

This novel came out in the early 90s in Italy and has been translated into English - and published twice - in the US. It is a wonderful novel and I recommend it for its atmosphere and sensitivity to the profession - the main character is translating a mysterious old masterpiece, if I remember correctly.

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Giuliana d'Orazi Flavoni
Italy
Local time: 23:01
Italian to English
The Earthquake bird Mar 12, 2008

Eerie thriller set in Japan featuring a JP>EN translator

… def. worth reading if you like thrillers

[Edited at 2008-03-12 12:15]


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