Monday, 2 March 2015

L'esprit de l'escalier


Of course, the morning after posting on translation, I thought of what I really should have written (post scriptum omne animal triste est and all that). And that is that the last word on word for word translation belongs to Astérix, or more precisely, Jolitorax, his very idiomatic English cousin.

« Fin de semaine » (p2-c7) = Week-end
« Choquant! » (p2-c8) = Shocking!
« Plutôt. » (p3-c2) = Rather.
« Et toute cette sorte de choses. » (p3-c7) = And all that sort of thing = et caetera.
« Je dis. » (p4-c4) = I say., que les Bretons de l'album placent à tout bout de champ dans leurs phrases. Typique d'un Anglais de la haute société du début du xxe siècle. Cette tournure était utilisée pour souligner quelque chose.
« Un morceau de chance. » (p4-c5) = A bit of luck.
« Secouons-nous les mains. » (p4-c7) = Let's shake hands.
« Je demande votre pardon. » (p5-c3) = I beg your pardon.
« Je ne voudrais pas être un ennui pour vous. » (p6-c6) = I don't want to be any trouble for you.
« Un joyeux bon garçon. » (p24-c5) = A jolly good fellow.
« Nous devons. » (p24-c2) = We have to.
« Ma bonté! » (p25-c2) = My goodness!
« Gardez votre lèvre supérieure rigide. » (p25-c4) = Keep a stiff upper lip = « Gardez votre sang-froid. »
« Il est devenu absolument noix. » (p26-c4) = He is going nuts = « Il devient fou. », « Il perd les pédales. »
« J'étais en dehors de mes esprits avec l'inquiétude. » (p28-c2) = I was out of my mind with worry. = « J'étais inquiet. »
« C'était grand de vous avoir ici. » (p43-c7) = It was grand to have you.

--

Je reste mon cas (avec mercis au Wikipedia français).

4 comments:

Charlesdawson said...

On a more serious note, there's an excellent Penguin book, The Translator's Art: Essays in Honour of Betty Radice, now out-of-print but still available second-hand, which acts as a valuable corrective to Bugnini's strange views on acceptable practices of translation.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks: it sounds very interesting. I will buy a second-hand copy as you suggest. Are there any particular insights you think that readers of this blog would value - as a corrective?

Have you read Bellos' book (http://ccfather.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/reflecting-on-translating.html) which I found both enjoyable and thought-provoking?

Charlesdawson said...

The book is a series of essays in honour of a long-serving Editor of the Penguin Classics series of translations. I would recommend the Introduction as giving an overview of the philosophy behind these translations, noting particularly Radice's (no mean practitioner of the art herself) insistence on "responsible relationship to the original" whether prose or poetry, which stands in distinct contrast to Bugnini et al's evocation of something called "dynamic equivalence" (see Fr Hunwicke's post "Mistranslations", of 15 Jan 2015). You might also get some meat out of the chapters on "Translating Latin Prose" and "On Translating God's Name".

The whole thrust of the book, its basic assumption, is the translator's scholarly duty to his original.

Ben Trovato said...

Charles

I meant to say, some time ago, that I read The Translator's Art with great interest and pleasure. Thanks for the recommendation.