Gregory Rabassa (born 9 March 1922) is a literary translator from Spanish and Portuguese to English who currently teaches at Queens College.

Life and career[edit | edit source]

Rabassa was born in Yonkers, New York, U.S., into a family headed by a Cuban émigré. After serving during World War II as an OSS cryptographer and receiving a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth, Rabassa enrolled as a graduate student at Columbia University, where he eventually earned a doctorate. He taught at Columbia for over two decades before accepting a position at Queens College.

He works primarily in Spanish and Portuguese. He has produced English-language versions of the works of several major Latin American novelists, including Julio Cortázar, Jorge Amado and Gabriel García Márquez. On the advice of Cortázar, García Márquez waited three years for Rabassa's schedule to become open so that he could translate One Hundred Years of Solitude. He later declared Rabassa's translation to be superior to his own Spanish original. [1]

He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1977 and the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 1982. Rabassa was honored with the Gregory Kolovakos Award from PEN American Center for the expansion of Hispanic Literature to an English-language audience in 2001.

Rabassa had a particularly close and productive working relation with Cortázar, with whom he shared lifelong passions for jazz and wordplay. For his version of Cortázar's novel, Hopscotch, Rabassa split the inaugural U.S. National Book Award in category Translation.[2]

Rabassa currently teaches at Queens College, where he is a Distinguished Professor. In 2006, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Typically, Rabassa translates without reading the book beforehand, working as he goes.[citation needed]

He has written a memoir detailing his experiences as a translator, If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents, A Memoir, a Los Angeles Times "Favorite Book of the Year" for 2005.[3] Rabassa received the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir for If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents in 2006. [4]

Selected translations[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

ca:Gregory Rabassa ru:Рабасса, Грегори fi:Gregory Rabassa

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