The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Traduttori traditori

I have just now "finished" my translation of Paul Casanova's main text. By "finished" I mean: there is no more "word-salad" here. What I now have on my desktop makes sense. But I cannot yet declare it true to Casanova's intent.

To start with, this whole thing is at where Ibn Warraq was at ten years ago. There remain bugs to iron out in the weeks to come, like I had ironed out Ibn Warraq's bugs last week. I'll need the help of those Notes Complementaires - of which I still only have the first half. None of this is the hard part.

Casanova tells us readers in footnotes, for several chapters, that this chapter came from lectures delivered orally to students, or that that chapter came from earlier essays submitted to journals (each with its own nest of bugs, which Casanova kicks himself over). The resultant book donc reads like a series of longish blog-posts. Mais oui! By the standards of a century ago, these chapters were blog-posts! Casanova's "Avertissement" up front trigger-warns us as much: real scholars should go to the complementary-notes.

Which leaves his translators in a quandary. What would Casanova want from us? A literal translation with breathless impassioned clauses in series, like what he delivered to his Francophone students in 1909? Or a more-sober essay, in the Noeldeke style, splitting out his clauses?

As readers, are we to be Latins or Teutons?

I shall think about that, all of that, as I go through this again.

posted by Zimri on 19:19 | link | 0 comments

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