Margarita Dogramadzhian on the Art of Translation

When did you start translating?
About 25 years ago. It all started in Plovdiv when an editor and friend of mine encouraged me to do some translating for the Trakia literary magazine.

What was the first literary work you translated?
A short story by Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer and, later, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. A very ambitious first attempt, but I was lucky because I had a good and experienced editor.

What are the most common difficulties in your work as a translator?
Itís the research I have to do Ė on clothes, cuisine, technical terms, etc. And itís not easy to translate puns.

Could you tell us something about the influence an author, an editor or a publisher can exert over your translation?
Translators depend on their editors the way children depend on their parents, especially in the beginning. And this bond may be very fruitful. Or a destructive one. I was really lucky Zheni Bozhilova agreed to edit my translation of "The White Tiger" - the name speaks for itself.

What makes a good translation?
The ability of a translator to convey the spirit of the author.

What were your greatest challenges with the translation (s) which won the award ("The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga)?
To make sure that this book about faraway India and its people has a natural sound to the Bulgarian reader.

Do you consider yourself as a co-author?
Well, not exactly. The translatorís work has to do with the form, not with the content. Does translating inspire you to write yourself? Itís tempting Ė being part of the creative process - but I am not sure Iíll ever be able to.