translation express . . .
Voyage au bout de la nuit, 1932
I downloaded the French version so i could have a look at the original text and make a comparison . . . here’s a snippet from the French version:
“Ça a débuté comme ça. Moi, j’avais jamais rien dit. Rien. C’est Arthur Ganate qui m’a fait parler.”
Translated by my translation software:
>It started like this. (Me), I had never said anything. Nothing. (It is) Arthur
is Ganate made me speak.<
Ralph Manheim’s New Directions translation:
>Here’s how it started. I’d never said a word. Not one word. It was Arthur Ganate that made me speak up.<
The first "translation” is by some software i have on my iPad 2, and a bit more literal than the Manheim version . . . I added some words not included by the software . . . and after reading Vollmann’s afterword . . . Manheim’s translation is academic . . . staid, lacking the bite . . . my French is poor at best, but good enough to see that Manheim did what most editors/translators do . . . they have a tendency to gloss things up . . make it “readable” by Americans and the English . . . so I agree with the French . . . Manheim fucked up a truly wonderful bit of literature . . . I doubt that he ever had the fortune to experience any life outside of the cloistered halls of academe.
Manheim . . . “likened his work to acting, saying a translator’s challenge was to impersonate his author.” There have been, and are a lot of bad actors and impersonators . . . and Manheim was a bad one, consumed by his “performance” as a translator of Mein Kampf . . .
I once saw Stacy Keach “attempt to translate” Shakespeare’s Hamlet . . . I walked out after about 15 minutes . . .
(3/3/2013 – edit)
Here’s more . . .
en francais 1932:
– Arthur, l’amour c’est l’infini mis à la portée des caniches et j’ai ma dignité moi ! que je lui réponds.
– Parlons-en de toi ! T’es un anarchiste et puis voilà tout
“Arthur, love is the infinite placed within the reach of poodles and I have my dignity me!” I reply.
“Let’s talk about you! You’re an anarchist and that’s all.”
Manheim from the New Directions Voyage:
“Arthur,” I tell him, “love is the infinite placed within the reach of poodles. I have my dignity!”
“You do, do you? You’re an anarchist, that’s what you are!”
Manheim . . . out of place, out of time . . .
vive le texte français !!!