Manuel Vázquez Montalbán



Text and selection of content: Rosa María Rodríguez Abella

According to the latest statistics of the Index Translationum, the database compiled by Unesco which measures the number of texts translated from Spanish into other languages, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán is one of the most translated Spanish writers into foreign languages.

If we also consult the Instituto Cervantes’ Mapa Mundial de la Traducción, a tool which, for the moment, is only available in 10 languages (English, Mandarin Chinese, French, Arabic, Russian, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian), we find that 615 translations of Vázquez Montalbán have been recorded, compared to 1,386 for Cervantes, who is in first place.

The analysis of the information gathered in both platforms shows that, diachronically, the first work by Vázquez Montalbán to be translated into another language/culture was the essay Las noticias y la información (Salvat, 1973) published in Italian under the title L’informazione (Istituto geografico De Agostini, 1977). Later, also in Italian, the version of the political essay Manifesto subnormal (Manifesto subnormale, Pellicanolibri, 1980) was published. The third work to be translated was Los mares del Sur (Marquises, si vos rivages, Le Sycomore, 1980), the fourth novel in the Carvalho crime series, which in 1979 had won the Planeta prize and in France the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (1981); as the writer himself acknowledges, both prizes probably influenced his international success:

(…) by chance a French critic, Michel Lebrun, bought it, liked it and was awarded a prize in France, which brought him great prestige. From here came the translations, including the Chinese translation, which I know circulates in photocopies (Moret 1997).

From this moment on, Vázquez Montalbán began his unprecedented success in foreign markets, especially in Italy, France, Germany, etc. However, from the point of view of translation, there is no doubt that both the Carvalho series and the rest of his work, with its rich and varied presence of cultural references of all kinds, represent a challenge for translators. Some studies on the stimulating challenge involved in the translation of Montalban’s work are:


Education resources

Text and selection of content: Santiago Sevilla Vallejo

The works of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán offer many educational possibilities both for their capacity for reflection on communication and culture and for their pedagogical content that teachers use in their classes.

Resources on communication

Vázquez Montalbán wrote essays in which he conveyed his knowledge of communication to all readers.

Resources on the culture of Spanish-speaking countries

He also wrote many works characterizing the culture of Spanish-speaking countries, above all Spain, but also the culture of Argentina. In addition, a prologue that he wrote about the situation of women during the Franco regime is especially noteworthy.

Resources for compulsory Secondary Education and the Spanish Baccalaureate

Resources for teaching Spanish as a foreign language

Specialised publications on Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

MVM: Cuadernos de Estudios Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. Research journal published by the Asociación de Estudios Manuel Vázquez Montalbán since 2013.

Bibliografía sobre la obra de Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. Bibliography with nearly 1300 entries managed by the Library of the University of Oslo and the Asociación de Estudios Manuel Vázquez Montalbán