Fr => Eng

Savage Translation

I spent a good part of yesterday translating a small excerpt of Bernard Clavel's Maudits Sauvages. I needed the whole book to get the voice right. Quite a pain to obtain, but I managed to get a hold of a second hand copy. The insecurity that comes from translating a few lines out of the blue is very disagreeable for me. I find comfort in knowing the motivations of the characters beyond the paragraph or two I have been given. In this case, it served me well. The context was the construction of le projet de la Baie James. But I wasn't able to deduce that just by reading the excerpt. Once I knew though, I felt like a twit, it seemed so obvious.

All this just keeps on driving the same point home for me...research your topic! It doesn't take hours or days most of the time. Clicking away on my good buddy Google usually provides me with more than enough answers. Sometimes though, mostly in the case of literary translation, I have to get the book. It's the voice, the tone of the writing that makes all the difference. Capturing this is not as simple as looking up words in a dictionary. The more you read, the better you can grasp the voice.

Clavel, Bernard, Maudits Sauvages, Albin Michel,1989.