The translation phase of this Book Proposal was the most difficult. It really opened up my eyes to how a language can change across different cultures. The Spanish I was exposed to, on my study period abroad, was very different to that which I was faced with in this book. It was not a simple process whereby I could enter the text into Google Translate to find a meaning; or any similar translation apparatus for that matter. I needed to be more resourceful in approach. To translate accurately, I was required to research individual words in their native language, and find a picture linked with the word, in order to find its meaning in English. The title was the first obstacle. The title itself is very important as a literal translation would come across as quite unusual and, in some sense, dangerous or unrealistic. If I was to name it “Burning Cars” you could imagine that cars in the area just ignite at various times under no circumstances. However, the title “Cars That Burn” implies that a car has been set alight and has burnt out through human action or old age. Another example would be the “Cigarras” that had not stopped chirping in months. This caused me difficulty as I had to figure out what form of insect or animal I was dealing with here. I came across a song called “Como la Cigarra”, which showed bugs similar to a Leafhopper. I then found that the most common form in Latin America was known as “Cicadas” in the English language, which I used within my translation.
I found the Site “Word Reference” very useful when developing my English Translation. Not only was this site easy to use, but it more than often gave me a few different translations for various words which I could then choose from to make each sentence sound and appear the best way possible; given the scenic descriptions around them. When I was translating the scene with the civilians that were drenched with sweat and whose shorts were “en la raja”, I found it very difficult to get a clear translation of “la raja”. Although I eventually figured out that it was “in the crack”, this realisation was through the dirty street descriptions and the highlighted poverty situation that was emphasised by the Author. I imagined the clothing being too small or coming from older siblings and being too small or tight; thus riding up in that direction. Word Reference stated words such as “slit”, “plumbers crack” and “gash” however these did not fit the message which I now understand is the key element of all translation projects; finding and understanding the message and transferring this message across into another language. It is not necessarily about knowing what every word means in literal terms. In fact, f I had translated this story literally then it would make very little sense and may come across as quite vulgar or offensive.
When I was sourcing information on the previous texts and novels of Monica Rios, another problem I encountered was translating the title of her novels. One novel in particular gave me a great deal of difficulty, “De la aggression a las palabras”. As a native English speaker, who is prone to translating literally at first glance, this to me means “From the aggression to the words”. However, this makes very little sense as a title and I could not get an idea of the books meaning through this; thus I knew it could not be right. I found an article based on this book that explained the purpose of the text and in turn made sense to the title. I realised that it was simply “Aggression into words”. The text states “The vehicle for thinking about our violence is History; from which we will analyze how it has occurred before and elsewhere, and in turn, how it’s abandoned and overtaken by the words, language that implies respect of human community to what’s reasonable and true.” (Derecho y Humanidades, No.16, Vol. 1, 2010, pp.335-36).
When I was reading the section involving the fixtures needed on the car; the dents, unnecessary adhesive, bare tires and so on, I struggled to translate the problem with the Logo. The sentence caused me difficulties; “recomponerle la o alrededor de la y invertida que decoraba el chassis”, mainly because I could not recognise that the “o” and the “y” symbolised letters involved in the logo as opposed to the English words “or” and “and”. After much effort trying to figure out why I was left with the sentence “fix that logo, reconstructing the or around the inverted and that decorated the chassis”, I turned to my Lecturer for help and realized my mistakes. These fine details were the hardest as a Spanish translator, however with my lecturers expertise, the simple resolution put meaning back into my paragraph and I was happy to continue with “…fix that logo, reconstructing the O around the inverted Y that decorated the chassis”. When I had the passage translated I decided to change such letters into block capitals to avoid any misunderstanding for future readers.
The final obstacle within my translation entailed a decision to change the sentence in the book that was, in fact, written in English. I had to figure out whether it should be left in English or if I should change it back into Castellano. I needed to review whether or not having that sentence in English had significance to the story or, whether or not, it was just to appeal to those Spanish readers who had knowledge of English. I also needed to check if it was a special element of Miss Rios’ work given her PHD in literature and translation. I decided to leave it in English; “Just watch out. Tomorrow it might be you.” I felt that my assignment was to make the book accessible for English speakers and that if I had added Castellano to the mix it would cause confusion.
The translation process as a whole was interesting, regardless of the difficulties I encountered along the way. It put the levels of Castellano into perspective for me and enabled me to research into cultures a little more during the process of translating what I had been given.