A Critical Analysis of the Quality of the English Translation of Seventeen Spanish American Novels

Publication Year



English, Spanish, novels, translations, writing


Comparative Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature


A professor whom I had for a class suggested one day that a translation of a Spanish American novel would be a suitable project for a term paper. I took the challenge, starting to work on the paper as soon as summer came. At the end of the summer, after devoting about eight hours a week tot he paper, I found that all I had was a rough draft for the first half of the novel. My problem was to be able to know if I was doing a good translation.

This problem of what makes a good translation and how to go about doing it began to interest me and led to the present study. In my first research I found that there was not one "handbook for translators" available. I had also heard some translations called good and some described as bad. I decided that it would be very interesting to find out the "rules" of translation and use them to judge some translations. Since my primary field of literary interest is the Spanish American novel, it was logical to judge translations of them. The novels which have been chosen represent many countries and genres of writing; among them are the best four or five novels which Spanish America has produced.

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