The Linguist

The Linguist 52,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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WWW.LEAFAR.EU, 'EMMANUEL CARRéRE AU SALON DU LIVRE 2009', LEAFAR: 18/3/09 VIA WIKIPEDIA (CC BY-SA 3.0) © VINTAGE BOOKS LITERARY TRANSLATION tight schedule. Typically, the publication date is set when the book is acquired. SPREADING THE WORD (Top) Young Translators' Prize 2012 panel discussion, with Briony Everroad (r); and (left) Emmanuel Carrère The editing process The editing process for books in translation is similar to that for books written in English. 'I think about how the reader will respond, how does this read in English – because somebody who picks up the book doesn't want to feel that it's translated. You have that same sense of rhythm and flow and fluency that you would for any other book,' explains Everroad. With this in mind, Coleman always gives translators the same advice: 'After the first draft I send my edits back and I tell them, from this point, do not look at the original. From now on, this is an English book. When you're reading it I don't want you to think "is this faithful to the original?"' A major difference is that there is very little structural editing involved. With Englishlanguage texts, entire passages can be marked up to be cut, even if the author is given the final say. But with foreign-language books, most contracts stipulate that the translation must be 'faithful', which means that passages can't be cut or the position of chapters shifted. 'I change words/word placement, make small cuts, change punctuation. In general, we can't make largescale cuts, so there could be a section that I don't like but it has to stay,' says Coleman. An exception might be an inconsistency in a detective novel or a passage that doesn't make sense. Another difference is that the editor may not work with the author at all. Some are simply not available, others do not share a common language with the editor. Vol/52 No/2 2013 Relationship with the text Nevertheless, Coleman attempts to contact the author as soon as he acquires a book, 'just so I can introduce myself'. He also shares many aspects of the production with them, such as jacket designs. 'The fact that English isn't their first language shouldn't mean they don't have any say. I want the authors to be happy,' he says. More important, however, is that the translator has access to the author. 'Some translators like to be able to go to the author and say, "I'm confused about this" and the author can give them information that can help,' says Coleman. This isn't always possible, of course, especially when a book is being translated into multiple languages. For the editor, the relationship they would have with the author of an English-language book is often substituted for a similar relationship with the translator. 'Translators work so closely on the text and they often take it to heart in a similar way to authors,' explains Everroad. 'After spending so much time looking at it by themselves, most authors and translators quite like to talk to someone else about it, which is my philosophy of editing – that it's a conversation, not one person telling anyone else what to do.' Understanding the language of the original is not essential to an editor's work but it is a 'bonus', and one that undoubtedly changes the nature and method of the editing process. 'If I was working on a book from French, I would have the French book open while I was looking at the translation,' says Everroad, who is also learning Spanish. 'There might be a sentence that I find a little bit puzzling, and I would then go back to the French to see if I could work out where the trouble might lie. My ability to read the French helps me to make more intelligent suggestions about how I would tackle a problem. Otherwise I would be more likely to circle it and say "I don't quite understand this passage".' With HHhH, Coleman, too, found himself flipping between the original French and the translation. 'Binet has a lot of long sentences with very complex clauses and one of the big challenges was making sure that we were faithful to the tone without trying to replicate the sentence structure. I put more pressure on myself because I know the language so I feel that the translation has to be perfect.' Understanding the source language might make them a bit more hands-on, but both Coleman and Everroad have utmost respect for – and trust in – their translators. 'Translators have a really amazing, close relationship with the text, and getting to work together is a fascinating process,' says Everroad. 'You're working to find the best the world has to offer and to bring it into English.' APRIL/MAY The Linguist 11

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