After translating the introduction to a text on philosopher Eric Voegelin from Italian to English last summer, English teacher Dino D’Agata was thrilled to see it printed this month.
“It felt really exciting – seeing a book published you worked on,” said D’Agata. “It’s real at that point.”
D’Agata has been doing translation work since college and was heavily influenced by a class he took his sophomore year at NYU – Techniques of Translation, by professor Lydia Hunt – in which he was told, “You have to create a whole new text in the target language.”
While he was unfamiliar with Eric Voegelin to start, D’Agata enjoyed learning about biblical and philosophical scholarship of ancient Israel and how it developed as he read the original Italian text. Taking the words of his former professor to heart, he set forth to write an introduction that would sound as though it had been written in English, not just creating the English equivalent of the text.
“The great thing with translation is that it can be totally different,” said D’Agata. “You get an education in things you don’t know because you’re exposed to the material for the first time.”
D’Agata took Spanish in grade school, then French in high school, and added Italian in college. Living in New York, he met and made many Italian friends, some of whom call on him to do translation work to this day.