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Translator’s Profile: Natasha Wimmer

2015/9/15 — 10:30

【Text by Katrine Øgaard Jensen】

Q&A with Roberto Bolaño-translator Natasha Wimmer.

Natasha Wimmer's translations include The Savage Detectives and 2666, by Roberto Bolaño. She lives in New York City. 

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Who are you? What do you translate?

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In an attempt to avoid the obvious, I’ll borrow the 25-things-people-don’t-know-about-you meme from years ago. Except let’s make it five, and keep it translation-specific.

1) The first word I ever spoke in Spanish was ”hola”—except that I pronounced it ”olé.” 2) I learned lots of Spanish from watching dubbed versions of Highway to Heaven (Autopista hacia el cielo) and Murder She Wrote (Asesinato Escribió). 3) My first translation project was Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s Dirty Havana Trilogy, which stretched my skills to the breaking point with its Bukowskian cool and scatological sex scenes. 4) I was once given the wrong draft of a novel and had to go back over every word of the translation to make sure it matched the proper version. 5) My working title for the translation of The Savage Detectives was The Wild Detectives.  6) (bonus point) I was convinced that American readers would respond better to The Savage Detectives than to 2666—the popular success of 2666 in the U.S. was a total surprise (to me, at least).

 

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