Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Beauty of a Phrase Well-Turned (Reprise)

Last week I wrote about a beautiful paragraph in Isabel Allende's book Inés, del Alma Mía. I quoted the Spanish text verbatim, without an translation. I received an e-mail from a friend commenting on the blog, telling me that she enjoyed reading it even when I wrote in Spanish or in Greek.

I answered her e-mail, with my own translation, but the original Spanish was much better. Yesterday, I checked to see the English translation of the book was in our public library. It was, and was even checked in, so I put in a hold request on the book. I went to pick it up at lunch time today. If you have not read the other piece, you must understand that one of the suggested meanings of the name Chile means where the land ends.

The original in Spanish reads like this:

El Jardín del Edén, la tierra prometida, el paraíso. Mudo, mojado de lágrimas, el conquistador conquistado iba descubriendo el lugar donde acaba la tierra, Chile.

The translation in the book published in English reads like this:

The Garden of Eden, the promised land, paradise. Mute, his face wet with tears, the conquered conqueror was coming to know the place where the land ends: Chile.

The translatorʼs name is Margaret Sayers Peden. I think she has translated all of the Isabel Allende books into English. She is an excellent translator. More beautiful still, though, is the original Spanish.

I checked it out of the library. Maybe Rose will enjoy reading it.

1 comment:

Miriam Sion said...

Gracias por hablar de mi país con tanto afecto.
Desde donde termina el mundo, te envío un abrazo.