On Translating Fernando del PasoOn Translating Fernando del Paso
This labor of love was, to quote our editor, “herculean.” The length was not so much the issue as Fernando del Paso’s encyclopedic knowledge that covers an endless array of subjects. To this were added the complex and varied historical events that comprised the lifetime of Empress Carlota and the Mexican Empire, as well as the shifts in narrative voice and numerous language registers. We often felt as if we were translating several different works. All chapters presented special challenges: the Carlota monologues because of their postmodern narrative technique and intricate sentence structure; the historical chapters because they required painstaking research and accuracy; others, such as simulated letters, documents, and conversations among historical characters, because they put all our skills to the test. It took us many years to complete and revise this translation. Nevertheless, we found this to be one of the most enriching experiences of our lives and are delighted that English-speaking readers will be able to enjoy this amazing novel.