An exercise in translation: the beginning to Roberto Arlt’s "The Little Hunchback" ("El jorobadito" in Spanish)
July 3, 2013 § 1 Comment
Los diversos y exagerados rumores desparramados con motivo de la conducta que observé en compañía de Rigoletto, el jorobadito, en la casa de la señora X, apartó en su tiempo a mucha gente de mi lado.
Sin embargo, mis singularidades no me acarrearon mayores desventuras, de no perfeccionarlas estrangulando a Rigoletto.
Retorcerle el pescuezo al jorobadito ha sido de mi parte un acto más ruinoso e imprudente para mis intereses, que atentar contra la existencia de un benefactor de la humanidad.
The diverse and exaggerated rumors spread as the result of the behavior that I observed in the company of Rigoletto, the hunchback, in Mrs. X’s house, in time turned many people against me.
However, my peculiarities did not incur greater misfortunes from not perfecting the strangulation of Rigoletto.
Wringing the hunchback’s neck has been for me a most ruinous and reckless act for my interests, one that threatens the existence of a benefactor of humanity.
It’s been over a year since I last really engaged in a literary translation and I thought that I might spend some of the next few months leisurely translating and revising that translation of Argentine author Roberto Arlt’s “El jorobadito.” From what I understand, Arlt’s fiction entered global public domain in January (he died in 1942), so this (I hope) is nothing that would violate a copyright (if it is, I can practice with older, pre-1923 texts, I suppose).
The above excerpt is (obviously) a first draft, one that might undergo several revisions if I were to ever seek publication of a full translation of the story (as far as I know, there hasn’t been a published English translation of this story or of most of Arlt’s fiction, a shame). What do you think? Were these three short paragraphs enough to capture your attention, to make you curious about the full story (which is roughly 15 printed pages in my paperback edition)?