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News > Latin America

Mafalda Now in Guarani, One of Paraguay's Official Languages

  • A native speaker translating Malfalda into Guarani.

    A native speaker translating Malfalda into Guarani. | Photo: AFP

Published 30 May 2017

The book launch will take place during the Book Fair in Asuncion, with Paraguay's publishing house Servilibro.

The beloved comic character Mafalda will be available in Guarani starting in June, one of Paraguay's official languages, thanks to a translation meant to preserve the native dialect and ease its transmission to younger generations, Argentina's embassy in Paraguay announced Tuesday.

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The comic, created in 1964 by Argentina's Joaquin Salvador Lavado has been translated into 26 languages, and Guarani, spoken by most of the Paraguayan population, will soon be the twenty-seventh.

“We hope that the children will enjoy reading in Guarani, that they will find a space in Mafalda that will introduce them to a friendly, funny Guarani,” said Maria Gloria Pereira who translated the comic, according to Reuters.

Pereira, a translator with Paraguay's Ministry of Education and Science, said the Guarani language opened up a range of possibilities that she did not expect before starting the translation.

"I am a native speaker of both official languages in Paraguay — Spanish and Guarani — from the cradle, and I realize that there are some things that Mafalda can say with more grace in Guarani," she added.

Of all the characters in the comic, the one she found the most difficult to translate was Mafalda, she added, because she is “deeply philosophical, she questions a lot, and she has a very refined, subtle sense of humor,” while saying the major challenge she found was the translation of cosmopolitan situations.

The Guarani version could also reach Argentina, added the embassy, as the language is spoken in the northern provinces of the country, including by many Paraguayan immigrants.

Since it's creation, the Mafalda comic has become a universal character, a cultural reference that has not lost its relevance in over 50 years of publication. Mafalda continues to provide a key analysis of childhood, education and politics in the world.

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