Saturday, April 4, 2015

On Translation

With one novel published and another waiting in the wings, what's an author to do?  Why, learn to translate, of course!  Although it might seem a whimsical choice, I did spend quite a bit of time mulling it over before deciding to tackle it.  In the first place, my second novel is set against the backdrop of World War I and takes place mostly in France.  As a French teacher with years of language study under my belt I thought it could be a good way to learn something about the language while exploring a new revenue stream.  After all, French is the most widely spoken language around the world.  I did consider translating The Rogue Queen since it's my first novel but not knowing how to handle various dialects and levels of language gave me pause, as did the novel's length (140,000 words vs. 37,400 for the second). 

With that, I did what every good researcher does--I went looking for books that would help.  I bought two.  Stylistique comparée du français et de l'anglais by Vinay & Darbelnet arrived first, and I've been slogging through it.  A lot of it is stuff I already know, expressed in heavy-duty academe-speak.  I did learn the official distinction between futur simple and futur proche, which is good to know, and I picked up a few other pointers, but I'm waiting on Le Guide anglais-français de la traduction to arrive from before putting pen to paper.  I don't know how or indeed if this is going to work.  Having received my fair share of negative reviews in English, I can only imagine what might happen if I try publishing in something other than my native tongue.   The French have been known to verbally flay those who have the temerity to make grammatical gaffes when speaking.  It does give me pause, although I plan to ask one or several francophone friends to read it through before publishing.  Hopefully they'll catch the mistakes I'm bound to make.

I'm going to publish novel #2 in November, in time for Veterans Day.  With any luck I'll have both the English and the French versions ready to go.  And in between time I'll be researching for novel #3!  Allons-y!

1 comment:

  1. I've just decided to create a blog, which I have been wanting to do for a while. Thanks for this post, it's really useful! Christian Chinese Translation