Quelle belle liberté que de pouvoir prendre une distance au bon moment et revenir rafraichi à la table de travail. C’est la grâce du pigiste.
Je vous reviens donc après quelques mois, les manches retroussées, les énergies renouvelées, prêt à affronter les défis que l’art de la traduction me présentera. Au plaisir de vous servir.
How sweet the freedom of the freelancer who can take a few months off and come back to work in his own time! A true grace.
Here I am then, ready to serve you once again. I’ve discovered new energy. I’ve rolled up my sleeves. I am ready to face any challenge the art of translation will send my way.
11 juillet 2016 / July 11, 2016
Après un hiatus de la traduction pour écrire mon premier livre en français et en anglais, je suis de retour au boulot, du moins à temps partiel. J’écris toujours mes mémoires, lentement, et de temps à autres j’ajoute quelques pages aux autres projets sur le métier. Je continue à découvrir les joies et les peines de l’écriture. La passion creuse ses racines. Elle devient plus résistante aux intempéries de la vie.
After a break from translation to write my first book in English and French, I am back at work, at least part-time. I am still slowly working on a memoir and on a few other writing projects I have begun. The joys and pains of writing keep me fascinated. What a beautiful venture! The passion grows stronger against the winds of life.
April 12, 2015
Sometimes late hours do lead to success. (See preceding entry below.) The book I translated for Mr. Antoine D. Ongolo has just been published. I encourage you all to read it. Mr. Ongolo is very articulate in his writing and in exposing his spiritual life based on his deep faith that God answers prayers. “This true story will renew your hope, whatever challenge you have to face.”
Les heures tardives mènent au succès, parfois. (Voir le blogue précédent ci-dessous.) Le livre que j’ai traduit pour M. Antoine D. Ongolo vient tout juste de paraître. Je vous encourage fortement à le lire. Non seulement M. Ongolo a-t-il une belle plume, mais il a aussi une belle foi. Son livre raconte les exploits d’un Dieu fidèle à ses promesses. « Cette histoire vraie vous apportera une nouvelle espérance, quelles que soient les difficultés auxquelles vous êtes confrontés. »
… a translator at work
…la traduction en pleine action
April 7, 2014
If you are familiar with the Labyrinth as a spiritual growth tool (http://www.labyrinthcompany.com/), you will understand why I use it here as a metaphor for literary translation. The Labyrinth leads the walkers to its centre through a number of turns. Translation also guides the translator through a series of turns from the source text to the target text. I will mention only three of these necessary turns here.
Of course, translation requires the knowledge of two languages, not only a verbal, but also, and most importantly, a writing knowledge, especially of the target language. For example, it is very common in verbal English to neglect the relative pronoun that : “I think I will go with you.” This would be qualified as informal English. Formal English, and in general written English, requires the pronoun: “I think that I will go with you.” The translator would not do well to write the target text in a verbal style, unless, evidently, the source text adopted that style. And even then, the translator has to know the specifics of both verbal and written styles to create a target text as faithful as possible to the source text.
Any writing is rooted in the culture it was created in. The same story written in England, let’s say, will not have the same tone as if it had been written in Australia, or Canada. They are all English speaking countries, but each has its specific culture that the writing will reflect. The translator needs to be sensitive to the characteristic cultural traits showing in the source text. And then the translator needs to be familiar with the culture of the language he is writing in. Consider French for example. The culture in France differs greatly from that in Canada or Haiti. A French text will certainly hint to those different cultures. The translator needs to catch those hints and let them show in the target text.
This is very close to culture but factoring in the time when the text was written. A language is not the same from one century to another, or even from one decade to another. Think of the various words that become very popular for a few years and then practically disappear from use: cool, awesome, bad (in the sense of good), etc. The translator needs to be knowledgeable of the specific meaning of those particular words at different times. Only then can the translator produce a target text respecting the special traits of the source text.
November 17, 2013
As she translated Les Misérables, Julie Rose said that she feared gaining weight and losing her hair as happened to Victor Hugo when he was writing the story.
It is often said that translation is not only the exercise of converting one word from one language to another, but also of expressing a culture. For Julie Rose, and I believe her concern expresses it well, translation reaches beyond conveying a culture. The translator almost becomes a medium between the author (not only the book) and the translated document.
It is also said that the better the translator knows the source language, and its culture, the better the translation will be. Of course, this is evident. Rose’s experience adds the presence of the author to the translation exercise. The better the translator is acquainted with the author, the more faithful the translation will be. Sometimes the translator will read other writings by the author to make sure the source text is clearly understood and therefore the target document faithful to content and style.
This is true for literary translation of course, but not totally absent from technical translation. Though knowing the author of a technical source text will not matter as much as it does for a literary translation, it is still true that the more familiar the translator is with the science of the source text, the better his/her translation will be.
A translator does not need many years of work to verify the above in his/her own practice. What often appears at first as a simple, easy exercise—“I already speak both languages,” may think the novice, “how difficult can translation be?”—very quickly takes all the colors of any art project. And that is exactly what makes translation exciting and can keep a translator motivated for a long time.
October 1, 2013
“What is my passion?” For those who have a clear knowledge and experience of their passion, this question will seem rather strange. For those who have yet to identify what their passion is or who have lived without ever thinking about passion, the question might either go unnoticed or, on the opposite, strike a painful chord, like the echo of something beautiful intuited but never really encountered.
I suspect that this second alternative is rather rare for a translator for the simple reason that translation is rarely presented to a child, teen, or young adult as a wonderful exciting career like that of an athlete, or a firefighter, or a tiger tamer. For one to discover translation as a passion, it has to be natural. Still, it might take longer for someone to find that translation is a passion simply because so many other choices for a passion are presented to them.
I will admit that such is probably my case. After a teaching and a counseling career, towards which I was highly encouraged because “you have the talent,” though writing has always been an attraction all those years, it is only recently that I discovered the kind of energy that made me finally give translation all my attention. And in my opinion this qualifies as a definition for the word passion. Yes, I find joy in giving translation all my attention.
I am aware also that the word passion is rooted in the Greek pathos, meaning suffering. To feel passion for something or someone often wakens some type of suffering, not the type that one needs to find a cure for, but rather that one needs to embrace because it adds tremendous value to the object of passion. The suffering confirms the passion.
This allusion to suffering as the complement of the energetic and joyful aspect of translation will most probably evoke, for the passionate translator, long hours of solitude to learn a second or third language, to get acquainted with a new software program, or simply to read yet another article on the value of a faithful translation. It is the price to pay, small or big depending on each translator, for the opportunity to incarnate one’s true passion, which inevitably leads to the discovery of still higher levels of joy.
September 24, 2013