Project

Literary Translation

Goal: Visit http://kevinabrown.com/essays/#the-art-of-translation for more about translator Kevin A. Brown's ongoing exploration of the canon Spanish-language authors as well as reissues of classic books in languages other than Spanish.

Kevin A. Brown earned his B.Sc. degree (2006) from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, headquartered at the Graduate Center. At Queens College and many other campuses of the 23-college CUNY system, scattered throughout the five boroughs, Kevin Brown double-majored in both Spanish as well as literary and technical translating & interpreting. He studied with Gregory Rabassa, translator of «100 Years of Solitude,» among other distinguished faculty from Spain and Latin America.

Updates
0 new
0
Recommendations
0 new
0
Followers
0 new
0
Reads
0 new
6

Project log

Kevin Anthony Brown
added a project goal
Visit http://kevinabrown.com/essays/#the-art-of-translation for more about translator Kevin A. Brown's ongoing exploration of the canon Spanish-language authors as well as reissues of classic books in languages other than Spanish.
Kevin A. Brown earned his B.Sc. degree (2006) from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, headquartered at the Graduate Center. At Queens College and many other campuses of the 23-college CUNY system, scattered throughout the five boroughs, Kevin Brown double-majored in both Spanish as well as literary and technical translating & interpreting. He studied with Gregory Rabassa, translator of «100 Years of Solitude,» among other distinguished faculty from Spain and Latin America.
 
Kevin Anthony Brown
added 2 research items
The Latinx Voices digital collection contains 54 oral history interviews with Cache Valley Utah Latinx community members. The collection was created in two phases. Cache Valley Utah is home to a rich Latinx population whose voices are often underrepresented in local repositories. To rectify this, in 2007 Utah State University Special Collections and Archives directed an effort to collect the voices of 45 Latinx community members; these interviews represent Phase One. The interviews feature people originally from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, California, Utah, and more. The interviewees talk about family, religion, employment, social issues, and interests, as well as challenges associated with relocation and cultural identity. Phase One interviews were conducted by USU-trained bilingual fieldworkers; most were conducted in Spanish. Elisaida Méndez and Randy Williams were project directors for Phase One. Phase Two represents youth perspectives, collected in 2012 and include eight interviews with youths, 15-18 years of age, from Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. Most of these interviews were conducted in English. USU ethnographers Eduardo Ortiz, Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante, and Randy Williams conducted the interviews for Phase Two. The Latinx Voices Project received a 2009 Utah Humanities Council Human Ties Award. The Project received generous support from the Utah Humanities Council and Utah Division of State History, Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation. The finding aid to the Latinx Voices Project finding aid is found at Folklore Collection 38. This project received USU Institutional Review Board approval, Protocol Number 1772 (2007 project), 4706 (2012, youth voices); principal investigator: Randy Williams. NOTE: To reflect current usage, in November 2018 we changed the name of the collection to the Latinx Voices Project from the Latino/a Voices Project. Please let us know if you notice any areas in the Collection that need updating. Access the audio, transcripts, and photographs for each interviewee: Country Bolivia Delina Carpio Amestoy Chile Alicia Espinoza Julio Vergara Luis Espinoza Colombia Arian F. Baquero Ernesto De La Hoz Néstor Niño Rocha Costa Rica Lucy Delgadillo Sarah Hargreaves Dominican Republic Ariel Rosario Ecuador Eduardo Ortiz Lara Linares El Salvador Ena Murillo Rolando Murillo Guatemala Jorge Rodas Honduras Germán Sabillón Samuel Rivera Sarah Hargreaves Noemí Sabillón Mexico Cesar Hernandez Elizabeth Rosas Enrique Mendosa Enrique Sotelo Gustavo Estrada Hector Hernandez Héctor Mendiola John Hernandez Laura Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante María Montalvo Maria R Yolanda Bates Nicaragua Lucy Delgadillo Paraguay Clara Galeano Peru Ana Cecilia Barragan Carmen Yupanqui Zaa Mario Barragán Puerto Rico Ellie Méndez Lisamel Vázquez Melanie Domenech Rodriquez Zuri Garcia Venezuela Ana Trujillo Daniel Useche Leo Bravo State California Enriqueta Arce Cuevas Carmona Flor Pacheco Luis 'Luigi' Madrigal Rob Cruz Yasmeen Pineda Colorado Ginny Martinez McKee Kansas Juan Pablo Spicer-Escalante Mountain Crest Students Alex Pineda Flor Pacheco Hector Hernandez Karen Franco Luis 'Luigi' Madrigal Maria R Yasmeen Pineda Mountain Crest Focus Group Events Utah Humanities Council Grant Award Utah Humanities Council Human Ties Award
The Latinx Voices digital collection contains 54 oral history interviews with Cache Valley Utah Latinx community members. The collection was created in two phases. Cache Valley Utah is home to a rich Latinx population whose voices are often underrepresented in local repositories. To rectify this, in 2007 Utah State University Special Collections and Archives directed an effort to collect the voices of 45 Latinx community members; these interviews represent Phase One. The interviews feature people originally from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, California, Utah, and more. The interviewees talk about family, religion, employment, social issues, and interests, as well as challenges associated with relocation and cultural identity. Phase One interviews were conducted by USU-trained bilingual fieldworkers; most were conducted in Spanish. Elisaida Méndez and Randy Williams were project directors for Phase One. Phase Two represents youth perspectives, collected in 2012 and include eight interviews with youths, 15-18 years of age, from Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah. Most of these interviews were conducted in English. USU ethnographers Eduardo Ortiz, Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante, and Randy Williams conducted the interviews for Phase Two. The Latinx Voices Project received a 2009 Utah Humanities Council Human Ties Award. The Project received generous support from the Utah Humanities Council and Utah Division of State History, Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation. The finding aid to the Latinx Voices Project finding aid is found at Folklore Collection 38. This project received USU Institutional Review Board approval, Protocol Number 1772 (2007 project), 4706 (2012, youth voices); principal investigator: Randy Williams. NOTE: To reflect current usage, in November 2018 we changed the name of the collection to the Latinx Voices Project from the Latino/a Voices Project. Please let us know if you notice any areas in the Collection that need updating. Access the audio, transcripts, and photographs for each interviewee: Country Bolivia Delina Carpio Amestoy Chile Alicia Espinoza Julio Vergara Luis Espinoza Colombia Arian F. Baquero Ernesto De La Hoz Néstor Niño Rocha Costa Rica Lucy Delgadillo Sarah Hargreaves Dominican Republic Ariel Rosario Ecuador Eduardo Ortiz Lara Linares El Salvador Ena Murillo Rolando Murillo Guatemala Jorge Rodas Honduras Germán Sabillón Samuel Rivera Sarah Hargreaves Noemí Sabillón Mexico Cesar Hernandez Elizabeth Rosas Enrique Mendosa Enrique Sotelo Gustavo Estrada Hector Hernandez Héctor Mendiola John Hernandez Laura Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante María Montalvo Maria R Yolanda Bates Nicaragua Lucy Delgadillo Paraguay Clara Galeano Peru Ana Cecilia Barragan Carmen Yupanqui Zaa Mario Barragán Puerto Rico Ellie Méndez Lisamel Vázquez Melanie Domenech Rodriquez Zuri Garcia Venezuela Ana Trujillo Daniel Useche Leo Bravo State California Enriqueta Arce Cuevas Carmona Flor Pacheco Luis 'Luigi' Madrigal Rob Cruz Yasmeen Pineda Colorado Ginny Martinez McKee Kansas Juan Pablo Spicer-Escalante Mountain Crest Students Alex Pineda Flor Pacheco Hector Hernandez Karen Franco Luis 'Luigi' Madrigal Maria R Yasmeen Pineda Mountain Crest Focus Group Events Utah Humanities Council Grant Award Utah Humanities Council Human Ties Award
Kevin Anthony Brown
added a research item
Efraín Bartolomé, author of «Ocosingo War Diary», photographed in NYC by his wife Guadalupe Belmontes Stringel
Kevin Anthony Brown
added a research item
Translation is an inherent act of collaboration, whether proximate in space or remote in time. This was certainly the case with «Ocosingo War Diary: Voices from Chiapas,» which Mexican author Efraín Bartolomé affectionately refers to as "our book". This brief note will touch upon some specific literary, technical and logistical challenges he and I faced in rendering "3 January 1994" and Ocosingo’s 18 other chapters from Spanish into English.
Kevin Anthony Brown
added 2 research items
(I was born in Ocosingo’s first valley, when my village was still gateway to the jungle, and the jungle was still worthy of its name. In that atmosphere of pain and wonder you could plumb the depths of nature and human nature. In that smithy my soul was forged. There, in the old family house, the war took us by surprise. I kept a hasty record of what I saw and heard during those first 12 fateful days. The very valley that gave rise to my verse has also generated the snapshots which, in brushstrokes of stuttering prose, I transcribe below.) - Efraín Bartolomé
El propósito de este ensayo es suscitar discusión con respecto al valor del oficio del reseñador de libros-para el escritor, para el público, para el mismo reseñador, y para la literatura. (eXchanges, a journal of literary translation, University of Iowa, Winter 2006, "Saints & Sinners" Issue)
Kevin Anthony Brown
added 7 research items
Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 2006 212 pp./$50.00 (hb) In November 2006, honoring its 1910–17 revolution, Mexico was the subject of portraits painted by two artists, working in very different media, whose political differences are as intriguing as their aesthetic similarities. Writer Elena Poniatowska has moved in Mexican artistic circles, writing catalog essays for photographers like Mariana Yampolsky and Juan Rulfo. Photographer Graciela Iturbide is herself a very “literary” artist as much influenced by writers as by other photographers.
Calypso Editions is proud to announce the publication of its 11th title, Efraín Bartolomé’s Ocosingo War Diary: Voices from Chiapas, translated from the Spanish by Kevin Brown. Latin American literature is world renowned for its richness in a variety of genres – the essay, poetry, the short story and, of course, the novel. Spanish-language literature in diary form seems far less well known. Ocosingo War Diary is the first-ever English translation of one well-known writer’s 12-day ordeal, which took place in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, near Guatemala. Efraín Bartolomé gives an eye-witness account of the 1994 New Year’s massacre by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Published to critical acclaim in Spanish in 1995, Ocosingo is part of a now classic tradition of testimonial literature in the vein of Elena Poniatowska’s Massacre in Mexico (1971). Part pastoral elegy, part eye-witness reportage, Bartolomé’s artful war diary is as much a prose poem as it is a memoir. “In Ocosingo War Diary: Voices from Chiapas,” says Thalia Pandiri, Professor of Classics & Comparative Literature at Smith College, “vibrantly immediate idioms and rhythms come alive. Kevin Brown’s translation bridges the fluid border between prose-poem and prose narrative.” Mexican writer Ricardo Enoch Cancino Casahonda wrote, “destiny saw to it that the right narrator was in the right place at the right time.” Ocosingo provides English-speaking readers with a much needed introduction to a voice and work unique in Latin American literature. Q: What was the purpose behind translating this particular book? A: In 2006, I began corresponding with Mexican poet Efraín Bartolomé through PEN American Center. I was in my final undergraduate year in New York, and I’d been studying with Gregory Rabassa, translator of 100 Years of Solitude and many other works by Latin American and peninsular Nobel laureates. I’d begun publishing short translations in eXchanges and other literary magazines, but hadn’t had the opportunity to work on a book-length project. So, Bartolomé agreed to let me translate first book of prose, Ocosingo. Translating a short book one short chapter at a time and then serially publishing those excerpts in literary publications makes the project less daunting that it might otherwise be but also presents challenges. One challenge was Bartolomé’s vivid but not at all ‘picturesque’ description of a modern-day Maya Indian dressed in traditional clothing. Another challenge was how best to convey the emotional relief that seeing food trucks had on a besieged and famished city. ‘Replenishments are on the way’ is a serviceable option, but just doesn’t have the joyous leap of ‘volverán los víveres.’ The ultimate challenge every translator faces is to achieve high fidelity with low distortion. With any work, literary or technical, too literal a translation does as much disservice to the original as does taking too many liberties. I searched for equivalents that are faithful enough to pass peer review yet felicitous enough to capture some of the beauty of the original. The echo of A Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man in my version of Bartolomé’s prologue is both intentional and, I hope, felicitous. ‘Do the first draft,’ one of Rabassa’s colleagues used to tell students, ‘and then throw away the dictionary. Trust your meaning, and try to make it sing.’ On this project, length is not the difficulty. Part pastoral elegy, part eye-witness reportage, Bartolomé’s artful war diary is as much a prose poem as it is a memoir of the 1994 New Year’s massacre. Deceptively simple prose can be very hard to write, and Efraín Bartolomé’s Spanish proved more difficult to translate than I originally anticipated. His lines -- double- and quadruple-spaced upon the page as if engulfed in a pervasive void of white -- mimic the tense expectancy of nights and days punctuated by not-so-distant gun fire. At their best, they are as sonorous as recited poetry. A deceptively short work, Ocosingo has both the sparseness and density of a chapbook. Efraín Bartolomé, born 1950 in Ocosingo, State of Chiapas, Mexico, is an internationally recognized poet and prize-winning environmental activist. His verses have been collected in the following volumes: Agua lustral (Holy Water: Poems, 1982-1987); Oficio: arder (Poet Afire: Poems, 1982-1997); and El ser que somos (Being Who We Are). Winner: Mexico City Prize; Aguascalientes National Poetry Award (1984); Carlos Pellicer Prize for published work (1992); Gilberto Owen National Literary Prize (1993); Jaime Sabines International Poetry Prize (1996). The Mexican government awarded him the National Forest and Wildlife Merit Prize. In 1998 he received the Chiapas Arts Prize. In 2001 he received the International Latino Arts Award in the United States. He is a member of the National Council of Creative Artists. His poems have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Arabic, Galician, Nahuatl, Peninsular Mayan and Esperanto. He works as a psychotherapist in Mexico City. Ocosingo was his first published book-length work in prose. Kevin Brown, born 1960 in Kansas City, Missouri, is a biographer, essayist and translator. He is author of the biographies Romare Bearden: Artist (1994) and Malcolm X: His Life and Legacy (1995). He was a contributing editor to The New York Public Library African-American Desk Reference (2000). Brown’s articles, essays, interviews, reviews and translations from Spanish into English have appeared in Afterimage, Apuntes, Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, eXchanges, Hayden’s Ferry Review, K1N, The Kansas City Star, Kirkus, the London Times Literary Supplement, Mayday, Metamorphoses, The Nation, Ozone Park, Review of Latin American Studies, the Threepenny Review, Two Lines and the Washington Post Bookworld. He is at work on his first collection of essays.
KEVIN BROWN was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1960. A biographer and essayist, he is the author of Malcolm X: His Life and Legacy (1995) and Romare Bearden (1994). He was a contributing editor to the New York Public Library African-American Desk Reference (2000). Since 1978, Brown’s essays, articles and reviews on the visual arts, cinema, dance, literature, music and politics have appeared in Afterimage, The Kansas City Star, Kirkus, the London Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, the Threepenny Review and the Washington Post Bookworld, among others. He studied under translator Gregory Rabassa at Queens College, City University of New York, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree with dual majors in Spanish as well as Translating & Interpreting. Brown’s interview with Rabassa was published in the December 2006 issue (Vol.7, No.2) of the University of Delaware’s Review of Latin American Studies. Excerpts from his ongoing translation into English of Efraín Bartolomé’s Ocosingo War Diary have appeared in Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, eXchanges, Metamorphoses and Two Lines. Calypso Editions will publish the complete translation in 2014.