Today and always, for you: Spanish translation!
“La pistolita” (Benjamin Percy’s “The Rubber-band Gun”), “Toc toc” (Brock Clarke’s “Knock knock”), “Avisos fúnebres” (Susan McCarty’s “Services Pending”), and “El pibe al que no invitamos a la orgía” (David Harris Ebenbach’s “The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy”)—come to us by way of two translation workshops in Buenos Aires, Argentina, headed by Argentine poet Santiago Llach and American translator Jennifer Croft. We published the English originals in TIR 40/2.
When Jenna proposed that I document the project, I read the original pieces (all excellent pieces o’ prose), tried to read the Argentine translations, and did a small panic. I write a little poetry, but not fiction not nonfiction and never ever translation. What little Spanish that’s still rattling around in me couldn’t get me a meal at Los Banditos. Besides, the other intern writes nonfiction and fiction and editor’s notes, he probably does translation I don’t know about, too, because he’s just that cool, and I am pretty sure he’s somehow ethnically more Spanish than I am because the surname Pérez, Wikipedia tells me, is usually Castilian Spanish, so he deserves this and he is capable. But none of these considerations matter because the other intern broke his foot.
But the crucial blog post was still salvageable: I’d email Russell in Japan and Jennifer Croft in Argentina, and then absolutely plaster the TIR blog in a cloud of quotes. Nobody would know that I know nothing.
Then Jennifer emailed me. Surprise, she was in Iowa City, would I like to get coffee? Well, yes, of course I would; I’m blown away by her niceness. But when I go to meet her I’m nervous anyway. Luckily, Jennifer is much calmer than I am, her voice is soft, and her eyes don’t skitter away when she talks. I like her very much. Because we meet in person, over lattes, and I want to appear casual, like I know things, and because I’ve never interviewed anyone since my grandmother in the seventh grade, I don’t record our conversation. All the same, here is my summation of all I learned from Jennifer.
Right now, Jennifer Croft is finishing her dissertation at Northwestern. She studied translation here in Iowa City, which is fortunate for us, otherwise an intern at some other school might be writing this. Jennifer has studied enough languages that when I ask her which