Czeslaw Ratka received the Cervantes Institute Award in Poland for his translation of Alonso de Ercilli y Zúñigi’s La Araucana. This years, 11th award ceremony was held at the Cervantes Institute in Krakow on the International Book and Copyright Day.
Czesław Ratka graduated from the Siliesian University of Technology. For a few dozen years or so he has been fascinated with the history America’s discovery and conquest. Extensive reading of texts in this field inspired him and strongly motivated to learn Spanish in order to be able to read original accounts by 16th-century discoverers and conquerors. After some time, Ratka made his first attempts as translator: a dozen years or so ago he translated Álvar Núñez Cabez de Vaca’s story Naufragios. Five years ago he started translating La Araucana. Thanks to his determination and perseverance he was bring his work to completion, which took him ca. 4500 hours.
La Araucana is a jewel of epic poetry, the Chilean national epopee. Its author, Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, was Spanish and took part in the battles with Araucanians who defended their land which is today’s Chile.
The Cervantes Institute Award for Literature in Poland is given in recognition of accomplishment and effort of Spanish-language translators. If not for them, one could not imagine foreign literature to become familiar to the country. The importance of Spanish-language literature, its authors, translators and publishers in Poland is particularly noteworthy. So far, the Award has been given to renowned translators in Spanish, including Carlos Marrodán Casas, Ewa Zaleska, Barbara Jaroszuk, Filip Łobodziński, Wojciech Charchalis, Tomasz Pindel, Marta Szafrańska-Brandt, Janusz Wojcieszak and Piotr Fornelski.