Volume 12, No. 3 
July 2008


Liliana Valenzuela


Front Page

Select one of the previous 44 issues.


Index 1997-2008

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
On Becoming a Translator
by Salvador Virgen

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Everything’s Comin’ up Roses (with apologies to Stephen Sondheim)
by Bernie Bierman
Navigating in a New Era: Translators in the Age of Image and Speech
by Eileen B. Hennessy
Supply and Demand Analysis of Patent Translation
by Yvonne Tsai

  In Memoriam
A Farewell to Vera—In Memoriam Vera Maria Conti Nogueira: 1944 - 2008
by Danilo Nogueira

  Nuts and Bolts of Translation
Übersetzung deutscher Nominalkomposita aus der Fachsprache der Technik und Analyse typischer portugiesischer Entsprechungen
Katrin Herget, Holger Proschwitz
Proper Names and Translation
by Samira Mizani

  Translators Around the World
The Influence of the Market on Translating—A Tentative Study of the Market-oriented Translation in China
by Tian Chuanmao

  Scientific and Technical Translation
Mini-Guide to Translating French Documents
for English-Speaking Markets (with general tips for other language pairs and writers of EFL)

by M.L. Seren-Rosso

  Cultural Aspects of Translation
Translating Sexuality: The Translation Industry and Adult Websites
by Sathya Rao

  Literary Translation
Corpus-based Study of Differences in Explicitation Between Literature Translations for Children and for Adults
by Shih Chung-ling

  Translator Education
Bibliografía comentada sobre Traducción e Interpretación para estudiantes
Pablo Muñoz Sánchez
Individual Differences in the Translation Process: Differences in the act of translation between two groups of ESL Japanese students
by Atsushi Iida
El análisis crítico de traducciones literarias en la formación de traductores
Dra. Beatriz MĒ Rodríguez Rodríguez

  Book Reviews
Book Review: A Companion to Translation Studies
by Esmaeil Haddadian Moghaddam
Book Review: The Locas mujeres poems of Gabriela Mistral
reviewed by Liliana Valenzuela

  Translation Theory
Meaning: The Philosopher's Stone of the Alchemist Translator?
by Maite Aragonés Lumeras, Ph.D.

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translation and Participatory Media: Experiences from Global Voices
by Chris Salzberg
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal

Book Review


The Locas mujeres poems of Gabriela Mistral

reviewed by Liliana Valenzuela

Locas mujeres/Madwomen—poems by Gabriela Mistral.

A Bilingual Edition, Edited and Translated by Randall Couch.

The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Gabriela Mistral

vailable for the first time in English, these poems from the Locas mujeres section of Lagar, one of Gabriela Mistral's final works, are a pleasure to read, both in the original Spanish and in this inspired English translation by Randall Couch. A beautiful, hard-bound edition by the University of Chicago Press, with poems facing each other and verses numbered in the English translation, this volume makes it easy for the bilingual reader to jump back and forth between the original poem and the translation to elucidate the meaning of a particularly sophisticated word or to tease out the meaning of an unfamiliar phrasing in the Spanish. For the English reader, these poems stand on their own. They are as stunning in English as they are in Spanish. Couch explains his approach to the translation and his attempt to find equivalent techniques for Mistral's syntactic practice, techniques that include a penchant for compression, parallel grouping and repetition. He also notes that these poems do not follow one particular, uniform meter, but are rather a collage or quilt of metrical fragments. In many instances, Couch has retained these metrical ghosts: "...I am conscious of admitting, in a modest way, an emphasis of the source language perceptibly "foreignizing" to the target language--a practice theorized most cogently by Lawrence Venuti." An example of this would be: "...and this silence is even stronger than the shout/if it leaves us like this, with our faces white." Although in my view, such an effect did not get in the way and was in fact enjoyable.

This carefully edited volume includes an introduction, end-notes commenting on the various versions available for each poem and on the care the translator took when picking the latest version authorized by Mistral, herself a notorious and obsessive self-editor, as well as a selected bibliography in English and Spanish.

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), pen name of Lucila María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, was born in the Elqui valley of Chile's Norte Chico region. Her childhood was marked by her father's absence. She later on also suffered two tragic events that would leave a deep imprint on her and, consequently, her work--the suicide of her fiancé when she was just 20 years old; and the suicide of her adopted nephew, who may have been her biological son, when he was 17, after ingesting arsenic. Best known as the 1945 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (the first one received by a Latin American, and the only Latin American woman ever to receive this distinction in Literature), Gabriela Mistral was also an educator and a diplomat. She traveled and lived all over the world, in self-imposed exile, including Mexico, New York, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, etc. She died of pancreatic cancer in Long Island, in January 1957. Her body was repatriated to Chile for three days of national mourning.

The poems comprised in Locas mujeres/Madwomen, are a section of Lagar, which translates as "winepress," the more complex and least "popular" of her books. She is better known for her carefully observed poems of nature, mothers, and children. These intensely personal and universal poems from her mature period will resonate with a broad audience. Mistral was clearly ahead of her time, publishing this collection in 1954, but even today this reader was pleased with her modernist sensibilities, her sparse, unadorned, yet lyrical language. E.g. "Tal cidra y vino a la vejez fui deseada,/deseada fui como la azul cascada fina/que ataranta los ojos del sediento." Rendered in English as: "Like cider and aged wine I was desired,/desired like the sheer blue cascade/that dazzles the eyes of the thirsty." These poems about women, a series of dramatic monologues about both mythical and earthly women, read as contemporary, vital, and necessary poems. Like the winepress, extracting grape juice to produce aromatic wines, these poems are best tasted on the tongue, in two languages, while read out loud.