Translation: Un Pais de Cuento: Veinte relatos de Nueva Zelanda


‘This is a triumph, and we are thrilled.  Zaragoza University Press is to be congratulated on publishing Un Pais de Cuento, the first ever volume of New Zealand short stories translated into Spanish, and so is Paloma Fresno Calleja   for a vivid scholarly translation –  a deserving winner of the AEDEAN translation prize.’ – Janet Wilson

Dr  Paloma Fresno Calleja has a strong research interest in  contemporary New Zealand writing and when I won some Santander funding for research at the University of Northampton, I saw her as the ideal collaborator to  undertake a translation of some  New Zealand short stories into Spanish. We spent a lot of time selecting our twenty best stories over the last hundred years,  including canonical authors like Katherine Mansfield, Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame, Maurice Duggan, Maurice Gee, Patricia Grace, and Fiona Kidman, and aiming for a balance in terms of age, gender and theme.  In presenting a flavor of the diverse voices in New Zealand prose fiction we included Samoan writer Albert Wendt and relative newcomer Sue Orr.  When it came to the translation we focused on ‘Kiwi’ features of the language –  idioms, colloquial and allusive phrases that ring true for local readers but are often resistant to translation. We consulted dictionaries of New Zealand English, dictionaries of slang and colloquialisms, and Spanish dictionaries in the search for equivalents. Finally we had to find a publisher and were delighted when The University of Zaragoza Press took on Un Pais de Cuento: Veinte relatos de Nueva Zelanda, and promoted it at their annual publishers’ festival. The book (and Paloma’s translation) won the AEDEAN translation prize, which was awarded at the Annual Conference of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies held at Madrid last month.

Our thanks to Santander and the University of Northampton for the funding that made this project possible.