Translating Machado de Assis

Machado de Assis

The better written the text, the easier it is to translate. If the original is inconsistent, repetitive, or, worst of all, has nothing real to say, the chances of producing a text which is effective are drastically reduced.

Machado is a great writer. He is contained, austere and extremely subtle. He is also a writer who can be interpreted on many different levels; the translator must be alert not to miss the subtleties and the ironies.

This style, along with his masterful construction of the plot and uncanny psychological perception of his characters have made the task of translating this book an absorbing and humbling experience.