I was surprised to find when I picked up this book that it is not the same selection of stories as the earlier published THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES 1933-1969, translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni in collaboration with Borges himself. Instead, it is a translation of two volumes published by Borges in Argentina, THE ALEPH and THE MAKER (EL HACEDOR), translated by Andrew Hurley.
As for the stories themselves, I can say only that they are some of the most magical tales written in the last hundred years, perhaps even ever. Stories like "The Immortal," "Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden," "The Zahir," and "The Aleph" are worthy of being read over and over again.
Since I already have these stories in other form by other translators, I wanted to determine how good Hurley's translation is. To that end, I'll compare some of my favorite passages. Let's start with the title story in the Hurley translation:
"Under the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbelievable brightness. At first I thought it was spinning; then I realized that the movement was an illusion produced by the dizzying spectacles inside it. The Aleph was probably two or three centimeters in diameter, but universal space was contained inside it, with no diminution in size. Each thing (the glass surface of a mirror, let us say) was inifinite things, because I could clearly see it from every point in the cosmos."
Here di Giovanni with the same paragraph:
"On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbelievable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realized that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I saw it distinctly from every angle of the universe."
I'd say that Hurley did a workmanlike job, but I like di Giovanni, especially with "the dizzying world it bounded," much more idiomatic than "the dizzying spectacles inside it." Now here's Hurley with "A Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz":
"As Cruz was fighting in the darkness (as his body was fighting in the darkness), he began to understand. He realized that one destiny is no better than the next and that every man must accept the destiny he bears inside himself."
From di Giovanni's "The Life of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz":
"Cruz, while he fought in the dark (while his body fought in the dark), began to understand. He understood that one destiny is no better than another, but that every man must obey what is within him."
Again, I accept the Hurley, but prefer di Giovanni."Every man must obey" is simpler, more idiomatic than "every man must accept the destiny."
One complaint I have against both translations is that neither bothers to provide translations of quotations from the Latin. This is particularly disturbing in the case of "Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden," in which two four-line excerpts are taken from a Latin tomb of a Lombard warrior that turn out to be quite interesting. I finally had to turn to Thomas Hodgkin's THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE to find the whole epitaph Englished.
In summary, it is better to read Hurley than not to read Borges at all; but, given the chance, I would prefer di Giovanni by a slight margin.