The literary translators Stefania Maria Ciminelli, who has translated various works by Jaume Cabré into Italian, and Frans Oosterholt, who has translated the writings of a number of authors, among them Monzó and Narcís Oller, into Dutch, talked this Thursday during Dialogues at the Llull about their experiences in presenting Catalan authors in their own languages. The literary critic Bernat Puigtobella, who chaired the discussion, introduced them as two translators into two languages "that are very close to us" and defended the work of translators: "They say a good book is one that you can't tell has been translated. But that is often a fallacy, as a translator is never totally invisible; they always leave a certain mark of their own on the text."
Stefania Maria Ciminelli, last year's winner of the Fundació Ramon Llull International Prize, described how she sets about a translation: "I always focus on the milieu of particular authors. I'm fascinated by the writers, not so much by styles, trends or literary fashions. Part of my work is to present writers to publishers to get them interested in the authors and decide to publish them." Ciminelli, Jaume Cabré's translator in Italy, said "people often talk to me about Jaume Cabré as a great Spanish writer", hence she believes "we need to educate people in my country to make them realise that Catalan literature is a body of literature in its own right."
For his part, Frans Oosterholt praised the Catalan classics and ranked Narcís Oller alongside Flaubert and the most famous great European authors. He also stated Josep Maria de Sagarra is "lauded by Dutch readers [...]. In my country, he's regarded as an extremely modern author, both in tone and in his themes." Oosterholt also explained that the appeal of the Barcelona brand helps when it comes to promoting Catalan authors: "In Holland, the Barcelona brand is extremely attractive and is an additional plus factor for publishers when they are deciding to go for one work or another. I've noticed that the many Dutch people who come to Barcelona view the city differently after reading La febre d'or or Vida privada.
The next Dialogues at the Llull will be on 25 March and will be looking at the role of Catalan cinema at international festivals. Taking part in the debate will be the director ofLa Plaga, Neus Ballús; the director and producer Lluís Miñarro; and the film critic Àlex Gorina.
The Dialogues at the Llull offer cultural authors and agents with an international presence an opportunity to engage with the debate on new ideas, trends and challenges in Catalan culture, including literature, philosophy, language, music, film, theatre, architecture, design and the visual arts. Designed as intimate conversations which audiences from every sector of society can listen in on, these dialogues will be held every fortnight at the IRL and will bring together artists, writers, translators and teachers, in short, the international ambassadors of the Catalan language and culture.
In a conversation chaired by the literary critic Bernat Puigtobella
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