New Spanish Books Interview with Lisa Rodriguez

She is a freelance translator, French to English and Spanish to English, based in the New York metropolitan area. Her specializations include commercial, medical and academic documents. She translates documents for individuals, small businesses, institutions and translation agencies.

1.  What makes Spanish translation unique?

The United States is a multi-cultural country, and the importance of translation and interpreting is increasing rapidly. Spanish is spoken by over 37 million people in the United States. This number has more than doubled in the past 25 years, and the need for translation from Spanish to English and from English to Spanish continues to increase. Whether the document being translated is a novel, a patient brochure, an academic transcript, a news report, or a personal document, there is a need for greater connections among people, cultures, and companies.

2.  What is happening in the field of translation in the U.S.? 

Translation is a fast-growing professional field here in the U.S. Professionals are entering translation both from excellent university programs and laterally from other professional fields. Mature professionals are finding that deep subject knowledge from work experience in other areas, combined with top language skills, is a great combination! Translators are a diverse group, with many of us working from home offices, but we're connected on a daily basis through social media and by means of the many top-notch professional organizations that connect us. The American Translators Association is doing a great job of supporting experienced translators and encouraging new professionals.

3.  What is the state of Spanish to English literary translation?

I believe that not nearly enough Spanish literature is translated into English. This is a shame. Superb writers in Spanish-speaking countries do not get the exposure they deserve. Great writing is available for translation into English, and I hope that the New Spanish Books program helps to increase the number of books made available to those in the US who do not already speak Spanish.

4.  In what ways is translation difficult?

Translation is communication, and the translator is an intermediary. Whether the document is literary, financial, medical, technical, scientific, or personal, it is important to understand the needs of both the person who prepared the original document and the person who will read the translation. Difficulties tend to arise when there are gaps in communication—when the translator finds it difficult to connect the original writer's purpose with the  document audience.

4.  What are you working on at the moment? What are your future projects?

I enjoy working on a variety of document types, and vocabulary research is something that I find particularly rewarding. Going forward, I would like to become more involved in the world of literary translation. The New Spanish Books program has been a first step for me.

6.  What advice would you give an aspiring literary translator?

Join the American Translators Association and one or two local or regional groups for translators or interpreters. There are dozens of ways to stay connected with other professionals on a daily basis. The conversations, meetings, workshops, and training programs available are a source of support to new and experienced translators alike. Translators are generally very nice people, and very supportive. All an aspiring translator needs to do is reach out.

In the New Spanish Books Website you'll find a guide to current Spanish titles with rights available for translation in the US, complete with reviews of titles selected by a panel of experts from the US and up to date information about the Spanish publishing scene, translation grants, Spanish literary prizes, recent translations, news and events in the US and more.

Read more here



Sign up to our newsletter: