Four Translators Who Helped Define the Industry

Four Translators Who Helped Define the Industry

Without these language professionals, you may not have ever heard of Japanese author Yukio Mishima, or read the Spanish language novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez that have delighted readers for decades. In fact, the next time you read a book in English that was written in another language – thank a translator for their help making our world a little bit smaller and our libraries a lot bigger!

Here are just a few of the translation professionals who helped shape our industry:

1. Edward George Seidensticker (1921 – 2007) – He was one of the most influential figures in the effort to share critically acclaimed works of Japanese fiction with English-speaking readers. This work includes translating Japanese authors Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, and Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. In fact, Seidensticker’s translations of the work of Yasunari Kawabata are largely credited with helping the author become the first Japanese nominee to secure the Nobel Prize in literature.

2. Gregory Rabassa (1922 – 2016) – One of the most sought-after translators in the industry, Rabassa specialized in translating Spanish and Portuguese literature into English. This included the works of award-winning authors Julio Cortazar, Jorge Amado, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Rabassa was so well-known that Gabriel Garcia Marquez waited three years to have him translate One Hundred Years of Solitude. After reading Rabassa’s translation, Marquez declared he thought the translated version to be even better than the original.

3. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (1943 and 1945 – Present) – This duo has translated some of the most well-known Russian classics of all time. Pevear worked as an American professor of Russian literature and translation and Volokhonsky is a native Russian speaker. Together, they translated Anna Karenina, which was selected by Oprah’s book club and won the PEN/Book of the Month club honor.

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