several book covers

Spanish to English literary translation
by Andrea Labinger

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The Sanctuary

Treading the line between crime thriller, detective story, and horror novel, The Sanctuary is a chilling portrayal of an upside down world, where evil is the norm and spaces once considered safe havens hold unimaginable terror.

When their car breaks down outside of the small Argentinian village of Los Huemules, indie filmmaker Álvaro and his wife, muse, and lead actress Alicia consider it a minor inconvenience. Seeking shelter in the town’s lone motel, they settle in for a night of decadent fun, but after Alicia disappears without a trace the following morning, Álvaro embarks on an increasingly desperate quest to find her. Armed only with a video camera and with a growing sense of dread, Álvaro begins gradually uncovering the town’s many dark secrets, with each revelation being more horrific than the last. “Comparable to a David Lynch nightmare.”

Schaffner Press Inc., October 2023

Read the feature in the New York Times Sunday book review here!

Read more about the book, its author and translator here.

The Guest

Click here to listen to Linda Jiménez Glassman’s interview with anthologist Nora Gold on Radio Sefarad. Nora discusses, among other topics, Andrea’s  translation of writer Varda Fiszbein’s magical short story, “The Guest.”

It is the first anthology of translated multilingual Jewish fiction in twenty-five years, and it has already received glowing advance reviews from Publishers Weekly, Cynthia Ozick, Dara Horn, and Josh Henkin, among others. The anthology features one of Andrea’s translations:  Varda Fiszbein’s Passover story, “The Guest.” Click here to peruse and order.

Academic Studies Press, October 17, 2023

Man of America/Hombre de las Américas

Translation Gustavo Gac-Artigas’ Man of America/Hombre de las Américas.

Colección Museo Salvaje, June 2022.

To learn more, click here

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


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

Headshot of Andrea G. Labinger
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

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.

Pen America Literary Award, and BTBA 2020 award

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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