|“Una semana de siete días” as “A Week is Seven Days”:
Translating Magali García Ramis for my Senior Thesis ProjectBy Rebecca Garonzik
Nominated by Cristina Saenz de Tejada, Assistant Professor of Spanish
From the Author: “Una semana de siete días as A Week is Seven Days” is my reflection on my senior thesis project, in which I translated the above story by Magali García Ramis from Spanish into English. During my tenure at Goucher I became fascinated with the field of literary translation and the question of how a translator makes literature written in one language and one culture accessible to people of another language and culture. The thesis project was an ideal opportunity in which to explore this question, not only because it gave me an entire year to grapple with scholars’ divergent ideas about translation, but also because I had the expertise of three esteemed Goucher faculty, Professors Cristina Saenz de Tejada, Irline François, and Michelle Tokarczyk to guide me along the way. In addition, devoting my year to one short piece of fiction allowed me to learn the craft of literary translation through trial and error and to give A Week is Seven Days the number of edits it needed to become a worthy translation of García Ramis’s story. My goal in undertaking the project was to give the English-speaking reader at least some idea of the profound strength and heart-rending beauty of García Ramis’s writing, and I am glad that, through this publication, people will have the chance to read the translation and decide for themselves whether I achieved my goal.
From the Faculty Nominator: From the very beginning, Becka Garonzik was a very focused and enthusiastic student. During her intensive study abroad experience in Cuba (2003), she had the unique opportunity to meet with Nancy Morejón, Afro-Cuban poet, translator and poet. Inspired by Morejón’s work, Becka decided she wanted to become a translator of Latin American literature. She wanted US readers to love the history, culture, and language of this region of the world that was so close to her heart. Her passion was contagious! After she returned from Cuba, she took courses in linguistics and Latin American literature, and she participated in summer internships in the Dominican Republic.
It did not come as a surprise that she decided to complete her personal and intellectual journey through a senior thesis. Her goal was to translate for the first time into English a short-story by Puerto Rican author Magalí García Ramis. She selected that story because it summarized the type of courses she had taken at Goucher. To serve as mentors and directors for her project, Becka selected three faculty members with experience in literary translation, creative writing, women studies and Latin American literature. After a semester of intense research on translation theory and readings on Puerto Rico’s rich culture and social politics, Becka produced an extraordinary translation. Not only she succeed in evoking the Puerto Rican identity embedded in the story but she was able to recreate in English the complexities of a narrative voice that shifts throughout the story. The result is a beautiful literary piece that manages to evoke the same cultural values and human emotions as it does in its original Spanish form.
Read: “Una semana de siete días” as “A Week is Seven Days”: Translating Magali García Ramis for my Senior Thesis Project
Copyrights of all Verge articles and editorial material belong to the authors.