The Society of Authors has compiled a list of 50 Outstanding Translations from the Last 50 Years. I won’t post the entire list (you can follow the link for that) but here are the Top Ten.
- Raymond Queneau – Exercises in Style (Barbara Wright, 1958)
- Primo Levi – If This is a Man (Stuart Woolf, 1959)
- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – The Leopard (Archibald Colquhoun, 1961)
- Günter Grass – The Tin Drum (Ralph Manheim, 1962)
- Jorge Luis Borges – Labyrinths (Donald Yates, James Irby, 1962)
- Leonardo Sciascia – Day of the Owl (Archibald Colquhoun, 1963)
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Ralph Parker, 1963)
- Yukio Mishima – Death in Midsummer (Seidensticker, Keene, Morris, Sargent, 1965)
- Heinrich Böll – The Clown (Leila Vennewitz, 1965)
- Octavio Paz – Labyrinth of Solitude (Lysander Kemp, 1967)
Interestingly, some well-known titles were ranked lower on the list than I would have expected. For example: 100 Years of Solitude is twelfth. (I would have expected it to be a shoe-in for the Top Ten). Other familiar titles found farther down are The Name of the Rose (21), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (23), Heaney’s translation of Beowulf (39) and Pamuk’s Snow (44).