Feedback from readers
It was with great interest and pleasure that I read Jeremy Tiang’s “The Art of Translation: Many Englishes, Many Chineses” (March/April 2019). I came away very inspired and motivated. I’m fluent in French and have degrees in French and Spanish. Although I have been happily working as a librarian in a public library for close to twenty years (and will continue to do so), I’ve been yearning to get back to reading French literature and start translating it. I especially appreciated Tiang’s reference to Mireille Gansel’s Traduire comme transhumer (Translation as Transhumance), which is, of course, already on its way to me as an interlibrary loan.
As a translator from French (mostly) and modern Greek (occasionally), I found Tiang’s “The Art of Translation” fascinating, with its exploration of variations within a particular language, problems of different alphabets, of cultural interpretation when translating from one language (or language group) to another, and so on. However, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Tiang or to his “carful of people” that the phrase “translated from the French” has a specific, historical meaning. When literary translations began to appear in England and other English-speaking countries or territories, it was understood as “translated from the French original,” as distinct from “originally written in English.” The the referred to the French author’s text.
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