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The phrase is:

un escritor hecho a sí mismo, por sí mismo

Searching around, both a sí mismo and por sí mismo were translated as "for himself, by himself".

I figure in this context it means:

a writer made by himself, for himself

Is this correct? What are the proper translations of the above two?

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Well, "hecho a sí mismo" is best translated as "self-made". And "por sí mismo", as "by himself". So maybe I would translate it as:

a self-made writer, made by himself

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  • Self-made does make more sense
    – Voriki
    Dec 27 '11 at 15:35
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    That's a good literal translation, but doesn't really make sense IMO (it sounds redundant, or like the the writer physically created himself). Self-made writer alone though sounds like a good translation.
    – jrdioko
    Dec 27 '11 at 18:21
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    Yes, I agree it sounds weird. But the original sounds weird too, and is also redundant.
    – MikMik
    Dec 28 '11 at 6:32

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