collage of some of Andrea's book covers

Spanish to English literary translation
by Andrea Labinger

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Man of America/Hombre de las Américas.

Waiting for the Revolution

Gustavo Gac-Artigas takes us on a journey, this time to present-day Havana, and muses on how it’s changed from the Cuba of his memory.

Translation of Gustavo’s Esperando la revolución

Observatorio, Vol. 2 (2020-2021), a publication of the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard University

To read an excerpt click here

The Madwoman Down the Hall

The Madwoman Down the Hall

If you’re in a noir mood – and who isn’t these days? – here’s my translation of Guillermo Saccomanno’s short story “The Madwoman Down the Hall” ( “La loca del fondo”) that’ll make you wonder if you should buy a Mother’s Day card this year.

Translation of a short story by Guillermo Saccomanno

Southwest Review, Vol. 106, No. 1, Spring 2021

To learn more about The Madwoman Down the Hall and to order a copy, please click here

Proceed with Caution: A Novella and Stories

Proceed with Caution: A Novella and Stories

“…an intriguing introduction to Ratto’s unusual fiction.” – Terry Hong

Translation of prose fiction by Patricia Ratto

Schaffner Press, 2021


In the tradition of surrealist masters Julio Cortázar and Leonora Carrington, and joining contemporaries Guadalupe Nettel (Bezoar & Other Unsettling Stories) and Samanta Schweblin (Mouthful of Birds), Argentine writer Patricia Ratto’s English language debut collection, Proceed with Caution, offers an alternate reality that is both mysterious and familiar . . . Translated from the Spanish by PEN/Heim award-winner Andrea G. Labinger, Proceed With Caution is a striking collection, brimming with emotion, animal instinct, and a sense of wonder that announces the arrival of a compelling new voice in Latin American literature. – Goodreads

Andrea reads “Rara Avis,” one of the stories in Ratto’s collection, for Jill! Magazine. Watch Andrea’s Reading Here.

Click here to hear author Patricia Ratto discuss her work.

For a fuller discussion of Andrea’s 2021 translations, click here.

To learn more about Proceed with Caution and to order a copy, please click here.


A Bit of Background

You might be wondering who I am, how I became involved in literary translation, and why I think it’s one of the most satisfying and rewarding forms of creative expression imaginable. 

Although I’ve been actively translating since 1998, the roots of my story grow much deeper than that. The story of my love for the Spanish language and my journey to bilingualism is rooted in my childhood, as are so many of our adult passions.

I’m a native of New York City, born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers, New York. For years my grandparents had a small  store – popularly known as a “candy store,” although this peculiarly urban type of establishment has absolutely nothing to do with See’s or Whitman’s chocolates, as any New Yorker of a certain vintage can tell you – in a predominantly Puerto Rican and Dominican section of Harlem, between Upper Broadway and Riverside Drive. Think West Side Story, and you’ll have some idea of the ambience in which I grew up. It was there, nearly every weekend of my formative years, that I first heard and fell in love with spoken Spanish, in this case the rapid-fire, staccato, Caribbean variety spoken by my grandparents’ neighbors. Everything that emanated from those neighbors’ apartments still pervades my memory: the pungent aroma of sofrito, the cadences of salsas, plenas, and boleros, the panorama of people in the streets, speaking words I couldn’t understand.

Whether or not there’s a direct connection between that first, preliminary exposure to Latino culture and my current work as a translator I can’t honestly say. I began studying Spanish formally at the age of eleven and eventually went on to earn a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Harvard – worlds away from the little candy store on West 135th Street. I became a professor of Spanish and have had many glorious opportunities to travel throughout Latin America and Spain. I’ve met and befriended most of the prominent writers whose work I am privileged to translate. But the kid who sat on a milk crate behind the counter, ruining her teeth with candy, reading piles of comics and eavesdropping on her grandparents’ customers still lurks behind every translation I do. For what is translation after all but a kind of eavesdropping, a surreptitious slippage into someone else’s skin, into other people’s lives?

We translators always have our ears wide open, and we zealously aspire to share what we’ve learned with our readers, who might otherwise have no access to the many worlds we inhabit. Today, with multiple published book-length translations and numerous short-story translations in journals and anthologies to my credit, I’m still listening.


Andrea G. Labinger

Andrea's headshot

Andrea G. Labinger


  • [Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Literature, Harvard University
  • [M.A. in Spanish, Harvard University
  • [B.A. in Spanish, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Hunter College

Translation Services

Please Note: Fees for translation services depend on the length and difficulty of each job and are calculated individually.

  • [Full-Length Book
  • [Journal and Anthology
  • [Creative Non-Fiction
  • [Commercial

Ten Rules for Literary Translators
Ever wonder what guidelines literary translators follow? Click here to read Andrea’s “rules”

Awards and Recognitions

Andrea Labinger is a winner of the PEN/Heim Translation Award for Guillermo Saccomanno’s noir novel Cámara Gesell and a finalist for The Millions magazine’s 2020 Best Translated Book Award for his novel 77.

People Are Saying  . . .

Proceed with Caution
Beautifully translated by Andrea G. Labinger, Patricia Ratto’s thrillingly claustrophobic stories in Proceed With Caution are told ‘in a pure present that sooner or later will also be devoured’ – by delighted readers.

Author of Great American Desert

The Clerk
All in all, Labinger’s translation of The Clerk is a welcome addition to the growing collection of Saccomanno novels now available in English. Let us hope, then, that Open Letter brings us other titles in Labinger’s translations.

Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Gesell Dome
(…)Labinger’s translation pulls no punches in its sharp yet eloquent take.

PEN America


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