Roberto Perezdiaz was born in Gonzales, California, in 1942. As a boy, he worked in the fields alongside his family gathering crops during the harvest. From this humble beginning, he went on to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Spanish and Latin American History. He could read and write Spanish before he learned English before becoming fluent in both languages. His interest in languages took him into the field of linguistics and dialectology of Spanish where he studied in Mexico City at El Colegio de México. Upon returning to the U.S., he earned a master’s degree from Antioch University Yellow Springs, Ohio.
His travels across Mexico and the U.S. awakened his passion for the nuances of regional vocabulary, intonation, and musicality in the Spanish language. Listening and sharing the stories and music passed down through generations of family and friends. In the mid-1970s he organized a nonprofit dedicated to Spanish literacy in San Antonio, Texas’ Westside. Roberto developed the language skills that ultimately led to his role as a certified official court Interpreter for the federal court in El Paso, Texas, where he also continued to pursue his study of languages and draw from his rich cultural heritage to succeed in the demanding work of a court interpreter.
During these years, Roberto began writing short stories and translating master’s thesis and doctoral dissertations along with the technical legal documents required by the court. He also published a collection of short stories in Spanish, “Más sabe el diablo” and as well as additional short stories in both English and Spanish in various literary journals and online e-zines.
Currently, he is preparing a collection of short stories in English and a novel in Spanish. And he actively participates with groups of Chicano writers and thinkers through organizations such as Peregrinos y sus letras (ASU), El Paso Interpreters and Translators Association (EPITA), Association for Borderland Studies (ABS), and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).
Roberto is the father of a son and three daughters and delighted grandfather to two granddaughters. He also has the privilege of being a part of the life of the daughter and two granddaughters of his beautiful wife, Dr. Irasema Coronado. And, of course, loves all the various big and little dogs among these many households.
Studying at El Colegio de México (COLMEX) under Master Philologist Antonio Alatorre is when Roberto became consumed with the challenge of undertaking this monumental translation of Professor Alatorre’s 1001 Years of the Spanish Language. This multiyear effort is his work of which he is the proudest.