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Meet the Team: Germán and Constanza of El ojo de la luna

Constanza Padilla and Germán González Correa

[Reposted from Ivan Obolensky’s blog.]

The process of translating Eye of the Moon into Latin American Spanish (El ojo de la luna) involved the work of several people. In this post I am delighted to introduce you to the translator and editor through an interview by Smith-Obolensky Media.

(Esta entrevista también está en español.)

Germán González Correa, Translator

Tell us about your experience when you read Eye of the Moon.

After translating Ivan’s monthly articles for several years, which covered different and often unexpected subjects, reading his novel was astounding. In the articles, I saw his ability to connect scientific, historical, linguistic, and economic elements with his own imaginative ideas, so in reading his fictional work I discovered yet another facet of the author that surprised me: the depth of the narrative quality that I saw reflected in Eye of the Moon.

Can you share with us your approach to translating Eye of the Moon?

After addressing the work, first as a reader unfamiliar with the story and then as a translator, I knew I had to undertake the task with a different approach than I had with Ivan’s articles. With the novel, I entered a completely new atmosphere, inhabited by people with their own voices, and whose stories and circumstances interact in very special ways. I approached the translation feeling like a guest in that world, letting myself be taken by the author to a universe that he knows and describes very well.

What was similar between Ivan’s nonfiction and fiction?

Ivan’s attention to research and detail, which I was familiar with in his articles, is also present in the novel and gives it consistency and a solid structure. In other words, the magic, the intrigues, and the supernatural elements that populate the work have a grounding in reality that also served as a compass in my process.

Had you translated fiction before?

Ivan’s novel was my first literary translation project. I usually translate technical and historical projects, so this was an extremely rewarding task. I learned a lot in the process, and this experience allowed me to broaden the range of my work.

Constanza Padilla, Editor

Tell us about your experience editing Germán’s translation of Eye of the Moon.

It was a treat because we were able to team up again. We had worked together on several Spanish editing projects and even did a job translating an art catalog. However, the experience with Eye of the Moon was very different. It was Germán’s first translation of an entire novel, so we had to work with a methodology that would allow me as an editor to respect Ivan’s voice and Germán’s. My presence was subtle and with great respect for Germán’s translation.

What made editing El ojo de la luna different to your other literary projects?

This experience as an editor enriched me. I usually work in literary editing from texts written in Spanish, so this project was a double challenge in that I had the author’s vision in English and the nuances in the reading of it from the translator. I think the result was exceptionally good, as I felt that Germán was able to imprint both the depth and the tremendous sensitivity of the author to immerse us in a universe rich in plot and character development.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your work or experience on this literary translation?

I really enjoyed this project. I learned and navigated several approaches that led me to understand more thoroughly the complexity of language in Latin America. From the hand of Mary Jo Smith-Obolensky I saw the care that allowed the nuances of the translation to be presented for acceptance in several Spanish-speaking countries, beyond just Colombia, where the novel was first distributed in Spanish.

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