Srpko Leštarić was born on 29th April 1949 in Vrelo, a village in Valjevo County, Serbia. In 1966 he started his university studies at the Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences, but three years later turned to the Arabic language and literature at the Faculty of Philology. In 1972 he became the first student of Japanese in the class of the late professor Dejan Razić, the founder of the Department of Japanese Studies in former Yugoslavia, and at that time co-signed the very first literary translations from Japanese to Serbo-Croatian, poetry and prose, with Hiroyasu Honda, then Japanese student of Yugoslav literature in Belgrade. Later on, having been prevented from continuing his studies in Japan, Leštarić reverted to Arabic, hitchhiked and walked through Europe, Syria and Lebanon, spent a year in Aleppo and then began a carrier of a technical and judicial translator and interpreter for Arabic, working for a decade and a half with major Yugoslav companies in different Arab countries.
Leštarić has so far translated from Arabic to Serbian more than twenty five collections of modern short stories and novels by prominent Arab authors, seven compilations of genuine Arab folk tales in the spoken dialects of the Arab East – more than any other Arabist and Nefzawi’s classical work The Perfumed Garden. Each of these books is furnished with an extensive critical apparatus and all are in the list of recommended literature at the Department of the Oriental Studies at the Belgrade Faculty of Philology. His translations into Arabic of a number of short stories, mostly by Serbian authors, have been published in Arabic literary periodicals. The article he wrote at the request of the American Translators Association, titled The Language and Translation of Arab Folktales, was published in ATA Chronicle and became a part of the standard literature in the field of oriental studies at some universities.
Leštarić is retired since 2014, dedicating all his free time to translating Arabic literature into Serbian.