Lecture considers literature in translation

Andrea Labinger, La Verne Academy member emerita, reads a translation of Patricia Ratto’s short story “Rara Avis” at the faculty lecture Tuesday over Zoom. Ratto’s story is part of a larger collection of short stories called “Proceed with Caution.” / screenshot by Shira O'Neal-Abend
Andrea Labinger, La Verne Academy member emerita, reads a translation of Patricia Ratto’s short story “Rara Avis” at the faculty lecture Tuesday over Zoom. Ratto’s story is part of a larger collection of short stories called “Proceed with Caution.” / screenshot by Shira O’Neal-Abend

Andrea Labinger, emeritus professor of Spanish, discussed translating Southern Cone literature – from the southernmost region of South America – during her lecture titled Rara Avis: A Reading in Translation” before roughly 25 students and faculty members Tuesday via Zoom. 

Labinger, who specializes in translating Latin American prose fiction, has translated the works of numerous authors, including Carlos Cerda, Daína Chaviano and Ana María Shua.

Labinger focused on Argentinian author Patricia Ratto Tuesday. She translated one one of Ratto’s recent novels “Proceed with Caution: Stories and a Novella.” 

Labinger said Ratto is talented but not well-known in the U.S.

To translate “Proceed with Caution,” she said she “had to get under (Ratto’s) skin and almost get to know her.”

Some of the Spanish words were hard to find the perfect translation. For one story involving a submarine scene, Labinger had to master new vocabulary. 

Labinger read an excerpt from “Proceed with Caution,” following which there was discussion about the work and the  translation process.  

“This specific lecture was interesting to me because of the translation and process (and) the mixing of cultures and cross referencing,” said sophomore biology and chemistry major Diana Perera. 

—Jorge Martinez

Jorge Martinez

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