Almost six years ago, I wrote about Herztier — the title of Herta Müller’s famous novel — morphing into The Land of Green Plums in English. While some Romance language translators strove to stick to the meaning the author had apparently intended (“the heart’s beast/animal”), others calqued the English translation. That divergence resulted in La bête du coeur (French), Animalul inimii (Romanian), La bestia del corazón (Spanish) on the one hand, and Il paese delle prugne verdi (Italian) on the other.
In Portuguese, as I’ve found out, things got complicated: two different translations have been published. The European version is entitled A Terra das Ameixas Verdes, just like the English and Italian renditions. The Brazilian version of the title is Fera d’alma, “the soul’s (wild) beast.” I think it’s brilliant (but what do I know?). The translator is Claudia Abeling, a German literature specialist and a poet.