Nora Gal (full name Eleonora Yakovlevna Galperina) was an outstanding Russian writer, translator of English and French literature into Russian language.
Nora Gal was born on April 27, 1912 in Odessa. Her father Yakov Galperin was a medical doctor. As a child, she moved to Moscow with her family. After several unsuccessful attempts she was admitted to the Lenin Pedagogical Institute (now Moscow State Pedagogical University), from which she graduated. Then she completed her post-graduate studies with a thesis on the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and published articles on classical and contemporary foreign literature (Guy de Maupassant, Byron, Alfred de Musset).
Nora Gal married the literary critic Boris Kuzmin who died at the battle front in 1943. Later she became editor of his selected works. Subsequently Gal prepared a volume of the selected works written by her husband for publication. Now their daughter is a well‑known literary critic and editor.
When Nora Gal was still a schoolgirl she published some poems while during her student years she switched to prose. Towards the end of the 1930s, she wrote many articles on contemporary foreign literature.
She started her active career as a translator during World War II. After the war she worked a lot as an editor of translations (literary works of Pierre-Jules Renard, Alexandre Dumas, Herbert George Wells).
A famous Soviet and Russian actor Yevgeny Leonov called Nora Gal “the mother of the Little Prince.” Gal's translation of this story into Russian is considered to be exemplary. Due to her talent the precepts of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry entered our lives, for example, «Мывответезатех, когоприручили» — “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”.
It took Gal only four days to translate “the Little Prince”, but over the next 30 years, she made edits honing every word for new reissues. In the USSR, the book was not immediately recognized. Many literary magazines refused to accept the translation calling the author's style “abstract humanism”.
In 1959 the first translation of the allegorical story appeared in the magazine “Moscow”, and half a century later, on the initiative of France, the anniversary of the Russian “Little Prince” was solemnly celebrated.
At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, Nora Gal became one of the most leading masters in the sphere of literary translation. Due to her outstanding ability to translate now we have an opportunity to enjoy reading the legendary books such as Saint-Exupéry's “the Little Prince”, Salinger's stories, and Harper Lee's “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Nora Gal's subsequent translation work combines a passion for fiction with large‑scale works of world prose including “L'Étranger” by Albert Camus, “Death of a hero” by Richard Aldington, the novels of Thomas Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates, and Katherine Anne Porter. It resulted in fruitful work on stories and novellas by Asimov, Clark, Zelazny, Le Guin, Sturgeon, and Sheckley.
Nora’s colleagues always said that when working with literary works, she always treated the plot and characters not as fictional beings, but as if they were real existent humans and as if the fictional story made a part of her own life. Her colleagues and friends also commented that Nora was able to recite many poems of contemporary writers and that she had this marvelous gift of driving people away from the reality with the beauty of the poems she read.
Nora Gal had played a determinative role in the life of a Soviet translator Igor Voskresenskiy. Being a young paralyzed man, Igor had in-absentia graduated from a foreign language institute. Later he sent Nora a letter with his translation works asking for her comments and guidance. Having noticed the brilliant translation skills the young man had, Nora spent a lot of time and energy first visiting him at his remote village and then attempting several times to get help from the Health Ministry and to have a doctor observing the young talented man. With Nora’s help, persistence and concern, Igor was able to live a fulfilling life having shown and developed his professional talents.
The most prominent feature of Nora’s translation works was her unprecedented ability to listen, feel and understand other’s minds and feelings. She had this deep understanding of human nature which is an essential quality for the great translator she was. Through this, she not only translated literary works from a source language to target but was also able to convey the original author’s idea in full details.
In 1972, Nora Gal's book “Words Living and Words Dead” was published. Nora’s passion for teaching, vivid mind and willingness to share the knowledge had motivated her to write this piece of literature, which has shown an absolutely new insight to the notion or words themselves, seeing the words not only as a simple mean of conveying a message but also as an almost living element which can be both destructive and creative. This book was based on her personal translator’s and editor’s experience and contained a lot of first-hand examples of successful and unsuccessful translations. In this book, Nora thoroughly explained not only what she had seen as a good or a bad translation, but also gave a clear justification on why she believed certain translations were excellent or not worthy.
Nora Gal died on July 23, 1991 after a serious illness.
Nora’s works were internationally recognized and in July 1995 the International Astronomical Union chose to honour her by naming one of the asteroids in the Asteroid belt Noragal. Now this asteroid named after one of the most passionate translators of the 20th century is heading through Space somewhere alongside with Nora’s so much‑loved Planet of the Little Prince.
Another commemoration to the great translator has been established within her professional field and since 2012 The Nora Gal Prize for the best translation of a short story from English into Russian is awarded yearly.
Список использованной литературы
Переводчик Нора Галь. Режим доступа: http://www.vavilon.ru/noragal/content.html
Нора Галь. Режим доступа: https://www.culture.ru/persons/8966/nora-gal
Биография Норы Галь. Режим доступа: https://www.livelib.ru/author/180305-nora-gal
Darafeja A. Nora Gal (Eleonora Yakovlevna Galperina) and her works. Режимдоступа: http://www.modlingua.com/blogs/1351-assignment-06-anna-darafeja.html
Мультитран. Режим доступа: https://www.multitran.com/m.exe?L1=1&l2=2&s=leading