Recently, a multi-awarded Baguio writer, Luchie Maranan, launched her translation of 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the Mt. Cloud Bookstore.
The classic novel of the Colombian writer and journalist is most celebrated in the literary world because of the magical realism used as a literary style. The art of translating the English version of the Spanish novel into Filipino is a challenge because of the cultural nuances that must be included.
At the book launching of “Isang Daang Taon ng Pag-iisa”, the first line of Chapter One was analyzed as a local subtlety to the otherwise brutal depiction in the English translation of, “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
Luchie revealed in her talk that her brother, the multi-awarded literary writer Ed Maranan, had written the first 12 pages of the book and this genius in translation to the national language was his.
The Filipino version reads, “Pagkaraan ng maraming taon, habang nakaharap sa hanay ng mga baril na uutas sa kanya, magugunita ni Koronel Aureliano Buendia and hapong iyon sa kanyang kabataan nang siya’y isama ng kanyang ama upang makakita ng yelo.”
This is because the choice of the words like “hanay ng mga baril” or row of guns and “uutas” that means end or finish is filled with deeper meanings and a precise description of the situation that was at hand. Ed, a prolific writer and author, was working on the translation in 2019 when he died because of a kidney disease.
The editors, Chuck Berry J. Pascual and Junley Lazaga, used the line as the illustration of the distinction of Filipino when used to describe a particular scene with its implied meanings. Lazaga, a professor and an Iloko translator, praised the imagery of the line in introducing the political and social theme of the novel.
Ruel Caricativo, the moderator and emcee of the book launch, noted that Marquez was an innovative writer and journalist of his time having lived between 1927 to 2014. As a newsman, he wrote an article about a false demonstration against the violence of the government which later caused his self-imposed exile. This was the explanation used for the tool, magical realism, in most parts of the book.
RL Abella and Karlo Altomonte read their favorite parts of the book, drawing from their familiarity with the English version. They noted the similarity of the translation with that of the original edition.
Writer, author, and visual artist Babeth Lolarga expressed the importance of the translations to the culture and literature of the Pilipinos. She noted that this literary trend could improve the reading appreciation of citizens of works done in other countries. This work done by a homegrown Baguio writer may become an industry for the literary world. She noted that Filipino has deeper meanings to otherwise mundane events.
The last line of the book, “. . . because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth” was translated as “… dahil ang mga lahing isinumpa ng isang daan taon ng pag-iisa ay wala nang pangalawang pagkakataon sa mundo.” This describes what Altomonte said that the book is about three generations who repeated the same mistakes rendering the encounter with the book as somewhat confusing because the same names are used in the family generations that followed each other.
Luchie says that 1,000 days of completing the task given by Lampara Books for her to complete the work that her brother started had many ups and downs with giving-up occupying majority of her thoughts given the importance of the work by Marquez to the literary world.
The art of using the cultural perspectives in giving life to the English words was well done.