As a literary translator bridging the linguistic gap between English and Spanish, my work lies at the intersection of art and language. I find deep fulfillment in uncovering the hidden treasures of Bolivian literature – an oft-neglected sphere – and making them accessible to a global audience. My practice is akin to archaeology, as I meticulously unearth the nuances of an author’s style, delving into their life, influences, and sociopolitical context. This process allows me to faithfully echo their voices in another language, preserving their individuality while expanding their reach.
Parallel to my translation work, I engage in the creation of my own fiction and poetry. The fluidity of my prose, the melody in my verses, and the vibrancy of my characters are influenced by the authors I translate. My creative journey, thus, is a reciprocal process where I absorb, transform, and then give back to the literary world. My primary goal is to shatter the language barrier that confines literary work within geographic boundaries, amplifying the voices of marginalized authors. By doing so, I aim to contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and interconnected literary landscape. In an age of globalization, I believe that art should not be confined by linguistic constraints; it should be a universal language that resonates with human emotions beyond borders and cultures.
Joaquín Gavilano is a translator and writer from Bolivia. He’s currently studying at the University of Arkansas, where he is working towards an MFA in Creative Writing and Translation. In 2023, he was fortunate to receive a PEN/Heim Translation fund grant. During his first year in the MFA program, he was also awarded the Carolyn F. Walton Cole Fellowship in translation. At the moment, he’s the translation editor for The Arkansas International.