entrevista a quim mallafré

Carlos Yeste, Sergi Quirós, Laura Melo, Giovanna Feltrin i Joddie Rodriguez

-How was born your love for the literature?


Well, I have something to do with the things I mean to explain afterwards probably. Is to have some magazines and books at home, not really at home but, for instants, I learned I was very excepcional at the time to learn to read in catalan as in spanish because, at the time, the school was all in spanish but we had some magazines and some comics with things in catalan published previously before the spanish war. So I read in catalan and in spanish indistinctly. Probably it was the beginning of my love, as you say for the literature, and then I read everything I could at the time when I was very young; and there were some comics too. The catalan was very good at that time. The catalan in Reus was much better in the 1940’s because everybody spoke catalan. And my father probably spoke spanish only when he went to the police to have the passport or something. Otherwise there was no occasion to speak spanish. But anyone, of course, had the school and I read some novels and poets in spanish so in this way I think it’s a good thing to have the two languages from the very beginning. I was fan of reading. That was the beginning.


And as I said the catalan was very rich and my parents came from the countrive from Montroig, from Riudoms, and they had a very good language, a very popular language, some jokes and expressions, many things, expressions very populars. To many of them are lost now. But at the time were an activity of the day. Another thing is that we didn’t have television, no radio, no telephone, I mean, somebody had telephones, which means anyway that we were joking very much at home. We explained jokes, we played with my father, with my brothers and someone and then we had a very rich living language, not through gadgets but just from face to face.

I think that explains my love for literature.


-How did you enter into the translation world?

When I was studying at the grammar school, Institut Gaudí,at that time, and I think is not a bad thing, it has been lost in way and I don’t know what your teacher will think about it but we had a lot of translation, so we had to translate from Latin into Spanish, we had to translate from French, that were the languages we studied at that time and from Greece so the study of languages was mainly based on translation, in many ways. And then sometimes as you may think you’ll like some matters and you won’t like other and it was interesting, and I was lucky to have good teachers as well. 



-Which was the first book that you translated?

The first book I translated was ‘Look back in anger’by John Osborne. It was a play, John Osborne is a very well known, play right in English and it was when I was in England. A part from the translation I mentioned for learn English when I was in England, because I went to England to teach Spanish, in a grammar school and it was very very difficult probably it was my experience of teaching, because you know, having people of 14 for 15 and even if you know a little English as sometimes I was very very upset with the classes, but anyway at that time when I was translated this and I translated a play, because is and oral language, and so it was interesting for me, this was the first time, yes. And then I had translated afterwords.



- How much daily time do you spend reading?


I couldn’t say that, I don’t know, I read continuously, you know, I even reading when I go to the toilet, so well, I don’t know, i read some hours a day, it depends on the epochs, and of course to translate you have to read very deeply. You have to read the original, think of some solutions into Catalan and a lot of books and studies on that special book, so for instants to translate Ulises I read about two hundred books onto Ulisses. Or some scenes, you have to know not the language, is not a question of dictionary, is a question of knowing the political situations in land a time to understand some allusions, to know the expressions and that you will listen that after words the because the curious thing is the main solutions of English or French or Italian are the same as in Catalan, because language responds to our needs.


So I wouldn’t say, I read a lot every day, starting for the newspaper in the morning at breakfast time and then translating and you have to read as well the projects and the results of the students in the university of Institut d’Estudis Catalans, so it means the most part of my time I read, that doesn’t mean that i didn’t do other things, of course, don’t imagine me as a library rat, I read very long, and it’s interesting, not to read the book itself, because it gives you a connexion to many others things. When you read a book and you can read well the book if you had read other books and you have many other experiences. But anyway, I’ve got time to my wife, my children, and to do other things.


 -How many languages ​​do you speak, read indistinctly in these languages?


Well ... in fact, you never know a language or your own. In Catalan, in Spanish, English and French, I am very fluent, perhaps in the final order, French principle and after a while, perhaps more English. I read the Italian, the Portuguese, the Occitan but the proximity and the Latin media but this is as little as you want to say we can understand: Catalan, Spanish, English and French, although my spice is English and, above all, the English world not only with the language and then I can read and speak more or less the Italian and I can read and consult things in Portuguese because it is great to see if there are translations with other languages ​​then compare how you have done it because I tell you all this is very precarious, I do not need to show it to me.


-What character or book has marked you most?


You can not say a book, because by dedication you ulisses by the time but also Tristan Shandy for the dedication and the taste but afterwards there is a series of books of magical Mountain. And from Catalan, surely, if there is a work in Catalan from the 20th century, I would say Incerta Gloria d'en Joan Sales. I really like Mercè Rodoreda, especially the refinement of Mercè Redoreda, Sagarra, Jaume Cabré, Pere Calders, that is, there are many authors and each one gives you different things that are different and that is why it is the result of all this. Alert, fruit of all this and the result of black works, I mean, of Jaume Cabré I really like the espionage novels, I really like the black novels if they are good, that is, I do not pay debut reader of Plato and Aristotle. Usually they tell you to read an author because it is very good but maybe it is a very good author but I do not care about it and there may be another one that interests me even more so that it is not so good. You should always choose not to follow the guns because they say so, then read the ones that you like to you.

-From your point of view, what do you think will add you most? Have you been a teacher at Gaudí in high school or as a university teacher?

Everything, I do not distinguish it. There is one thing that is lucky that I have enjoyed teaching. Do the work you want. Wait, I liked the holidays too (laughs). It has really been very rewarding. Basically, I have found both in the institute and in the university an answer, not only of students with good grades, there are students who may have hung up and who is an excellent person and that afterwards has had triumphs in the life more than another that has had enrollment. So it has nothing to do with the fact that at a certain time the examination of a specific thing is suspended and this does not mean that a student is better or worse. In principle, I think these things are the ones that most satisfaction can give you when you are retired, relatively, because I still continue to study trevor's and other things that this has been worthwhile and you find a welcome and acceptance of the people who has treated you, teachers and students.

- Which books would you bring to a desert island?


Let's see, on the one hand, even if it's a little cliché, the Bible, because it gives me many things to accept and to criticize, because it really has a wealth of centuries, works by Shakespeare, also Don Quixote, perhaps as Ulysses' I know of memory I would leave it here, but deciding only a book is difficult, if I could take a few, maybe it would bring me the British Encyclopedia because then you have literature, science, geography ... but that always depends on the moment, if it were On a deserted island, enough work would be to survive, although a book always goes well. Then obviously there are classics but they are considered minor, such as Doctor Jackie and Mr. Hyde, it is a book that interests me a lot, which apparently can be a slight thing that is this duality, a good and a bad part, is deeper than what it looks like or Frankenstein that also raises problems beyond the monster; The creation, which is absolutely modern, may end up turning us into "Cyborgs" by placing aluminum joints. And popular works, such as The Treasure Island, which is always worth reading.

-The last question, do you think Catalan language and literature is going through a good time?

Yes, and I think there is a wealth, that is, Jaume Cabré is considered now, within the international fair of Guadalajara, as one of the authors of the Romance languages. Literature is not only at a good time, but it has never been recognized both abroad and now. In 1429, the divine comedy was translated into Catalan in verse, so that from the 15th century onwards there is a tradition. So I think it's a good time for Catalan literature.

Versió Catalana:

-Com va néixer el seu amor per la literatura?

Bé, vaig aprendre que era molt escèptic a l'hora de llegir tant en català com en castellà perquè en aquella època l'escola era solament en castellà, però teníem algunes revistes i alguns còmics amb coses en català, publicats abans de la guerra espanyola. Així que llegeixo en català i en castellà indistintament. Probablement, això va ser el començament del meu amor, com tu dius, per la literatura. I llegia tot el que podia en aquell temps, quan era molt jove; i fins i tot còmics també. El català era molt millor el 1940, perquè tothom en parlava. El meu pare probablement va parlar castellà només una vegada a la seva vida, quan va anar a la policia per tenir el seu passaport. De totes maneres, no hi havia ocasió per parlar en castellà. Però tothom, és clar, tenia l'escola; jo llegia algunes novel·les i còmics en castellà, aleshores per aquesta part penso que és bo tenir les dues llengües des del començament.

Jo era fan de llegir. Això va ser el començament. I quan tenia set anys, el català era molt ric. Els meus pares vénen de Mont-Roig, a Riudoms, i tenien un molt bon llenguatge, un llenguatge molt popular, algunes bromes i expressions, moltes coses, expressions molt populars. Moltes d'elles s'han perdut ara. Però eren una activitat del dia a dia. No teníem televisió, no teníem ràdio, no teníem telèfons, alguns en tenien, el que vol dir que fèiem moltes bromes a casa. Explicàvem acudits, jugàvem amb el meu pare, amb el meu germà o algú i aleshores teníem un llenguatge molt ric, no a través de màquines però cara a cara.
Crec que això explica el meu amor per la literatura.

-Com va entrar al món de la traducció?

Quan estava estudiant a l'escola, a l'Institut Gaudí, en aquest temps, i penso que no és una cosa avorrida, s'ha perdut i no sé què en pensarà el vostre professor però vam fer molta traducció, i vam traduir del Llatí al Castellà, vam haver de traduir del Francès, les llengües que estudiàvem en aquell temps i del Grec, llavors l'estudi de les llengües estava basada en la traducció, en diferents maneres. I després, moltes vegades, com a vosaltres us agraden unes matèries i no us agraden unes altres, i era interessant, i vaig estar feliç de tenir bons professors. Hi ha instants que recordo a un professor de Llatí.

-Quantes llengües parla o llegeix indistintament en aquests idiomes?

Bé, de fet, mai no coneixeu un idioma. En català, en espanyol, anglès i francès, sóc molt fluid, potser en l'ordre final: primer francès i després d'un temps, potser més anglès. He llegit l'italià, el portuguès, l'occità, però per la proximitat i els mitjans de comunicació llatins: català, castellà, anglès i francès, tot i que la meva especialitat és l'anglès.

Quin personatge o llibre us ha marcat més?

Costa dir un llibre, però també Tristam Shandy per la dedicació i el gust. Del català segurament que si hi ha una obra en català del segle XX, diria Incerta Glòria d'en Joan Sales. M'agrada molt Mercè Rodoreda, sobretot, l'afinació de Mercè Rodoreda, Jaume Cabré, Pere Calders, és a dir, hi ha molts autors i cadascun et dóna unes coses i per tant sóc fruit de tot això. Alerta, fruit de tot això i fruit d'obres negres, vull dir, del Jaume Cabré m'agraden molt les novel·les d'espionatge, m'agraden molt les novel·les negres si són bones. És a dir, no sóc un devot lector de Plató i Aristòtil. Normalment, et diuen de llegir un autor perquè és molt bo, però potser a mi no m'interessa i pot haver-hi un altre que m'interessi més encara que no sigui tan bo. Sempre heu de triar, no seguir els canons per què ho diuen, així llegeixes el que t'agrada a tu.

-Des del seu punt de vista què creu que l'enriqueix més? Haver estat professor a l'INS Gaudí a la secundària o com professor d'universitat?

Tot, jo no distingeixo. Hi ha una cosa que és una sort, que és que jo he gaudit ensenyant. Fer la feina que vols. Espera, que els dies de festa també m'agradaven molt (riures). Realment ha estat molt gratificant. Bàsicament he trobat tant a l'institut com a la universitat una resposta, no només d'alumnes amb bones notes. Hi ha d'alumnes que puc haver suspès i que és una excel·lent persona i que després ha tingut triomfs a la vida més que un altre que ha tingut matrícula. O sigui que no té res a veure que en un moment determinat se suspèn l'examen d'una cosa concreta i això no significa que un alumne sigui millor o pitjor. En principi crec que aquestes coses són les que més satisfacció et poden donar quan estàs jubilat, (relativament, perquè encara continuo fent estudis de treballs i d'altres coses) que això ha valgut la pena i trobes un acolliment i una acceptació de la gent que t'ha tractat, professors i alumnes.

-Quins llibres s'emportaria a una illa deserta?

A veure, per una banda, encara que sigui una mica tòpic, la Bíblia, perquè em dóna moltes coses per acceptar i per criticar, perquè realment té una riquesa de segles. Les obres de Shakespeare, també el Quixot, potser com Ulisses me'l sé de memòria el deixaria aquí, però decidir només un llibre és difícil. Si em pogués emportar uns quants potser m'emportaria l'Enciclopèdia Britànica perquè llavors tens literatura, ciència, geografia... però això sempre depèn del moment, si estigués en una illa deserta, prou feina tindria en sobreviure, encara que un llibre sempre va bé. Després evidentment hi ha clàssics però que són considerats menors, que sé jo, El doctor Jackie i Mr. Hyde, és un llibre que m'interessa molt, que aparentment pot ser una cosa lleugera, però que té aquesta dualitat, una part bona i una dolenta, és més profund del que sembla o... Frankenstein que també planteja problemes més enllà del monstre, si no la creació, que és absolutament moderna, potser ens acabarem convertint en "Cyborgs" posant rètuls d'alumini. I obres populars, com L'illa del tresor que sempre val la pena llegir.

-Creu que la llengua i literatura catalana està passant per un bon moment?

Sí, i jo crec que hi ha una riquesa, és a dir, el Jaume Cabré és considerat ara, dintre de la fira internacional de Guadalajara, com un dels autors de les llengües romàniques. La literatura no tan sols està en un bon moment, sinó que mai s'havia reconegut tant a l'estranger com ara. Els autors cotitzen al mercat internacional. El 1429 ja es va traduir La divina comèdia al català en vers, de manera que, des del segle XV fins ara, hi ha una tradició. Així que jo crec que és un bon moment per la literatura catalana.