Translator and editor Heloisa Jahn, one of the most recognized professionals in her field in the country, died at her home in São Paulo on Monday, from an unconfirmed cause, at the age of 74.
Jahn’s program included the translation of key names in Spanish literature, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Ricardo Piglia and Julio Cortázar, with whom she was a friend.
From English he has translated novels by classics such as George Orwell and Charles Dickens and has just published a bilingual version of the poems of Canadian Louise Glück, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Originally from Montenegro, the translator spent much of her youth in her native country and moved to São Paulo at age 20, when she transferred to a philosophy course at the University of São Paulo.
In the following decade, during the darkest period of the military dictatorship, she was detained and interrogated by the armed wing of the government and decided to go into exile from 1970 to 1977, honing her skills with several languages while visiting several European countries. .
It was at this time, in fact, that he introduced himself to Cortázar, a writer he admired and whom he decided to approach unexpectedly during one of his visits to Paris. The two then established a firm and affectionate correspondence until the death of the Argentine novelist in 1984.
The translator returned to São Paulo in 1985 and worked for the next 30 years in leading publishing houses such as Brasiliense, Companhia das Letras and Cosac Naify, until the year this historic house closed. Subsequently, he retired and began to devote himself mainly to translation.
Daughter of a teacher and a book-loving businessman, she said in a recent press release that she learned to read and write almost self-taught in a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, as she had memories of Hearing, with his brothers, “Don Quixote” translated into a voice discharged by the father. I enjoyed the challenge of deciphering words and codes.
He also had a particular affinity with children’s literature, having worked on works by the Dane Hans Christian Andersen for the publisher 34 and the “Contos de Grimm” for the Companhia das Letras, for example, in a list that exceeds one hundred of translations.
“Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer.”