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Bien des traductions littéraires se sont faites de la même façon. Ainsi. on a coutume de s'extasier devant la traduction par André Gide du "Typhon" de Joseph Conrad. Or, Gide n'avait qu'une connaissance élémentaire de l'anglais (rien à voir avec la maîtrise d'un André Maurois) et travaillait à partir d'une trame, d'une « traduction littérale », que lui préparait un tâcheron et qu'il embellissait ensuite à sa guise.  

Jonathan G.

By pure coincidence, the day I interviewed Geraldine, I went to the School of Theater, Film and Television at the University of California at Los Angeles, to see the highly acclaimed British National Theatre production of "One Man, Two Guvnors", filmed and broadcast worldwide on the big screen. The play is based on "Servant of Two Masters" (Il servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell'arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. The adapted version is set in the English beach resort, Brighton. There is a common tendency to regard the cultures of different countries as being as distinctive as the languages spoken in them, but this adaptation from the Italian has, 273 years after it was created, lost none of its appeal after crossing the English Channel and spreading out to other countries where light theatre is appreciated.

The lyrics of Herbert Kretzmer (now aged 91) offer another example of the two-stage process of literal translation and adaptation. Following his adaptation into English of songs sung by Charles Aznavour (aged 92), such as "She", adapted from "Elle", Kretzmer was invited to write an English version of the French musical Les Misérables. Kretzmer’s “Les Mis” opened at the Barbican Theatre in London in 1985 and is still running in the West End, the longest running West End musical in history.

John Woodsorth

Ottawa (Canada), Sunday 28/8/2016

I was especially struck by your reference to the "wider perspective", and the fact that translation is far more than linguistic code-shifting. To me, as apparently to you, it involves drawing upon all the cues available from the CONTEXT in its broadest sense (linguistic, situational and cognitive). What you say confirms the axiom that just as "reading is only incidentally visual" (as Paul Kolers maintained in his 1968 article of that title), communication is only incidentally linguistic. Thanks for an intelligent and enlightening discussion.

Mark Herman

A very good interview with Geraldine Brodie, emphasizing three points often ignored by non-translators: that literary translation in general and theatrical translation in particular requires far more than linguistic code shifting (that is, merely consulting a dictionary); that such translations often involve two stages, a literal translation and a finished translation, and that the two stages may be carried out by the same or different translators; and that the route to becoming a translator is often indirect.

(Mark Herman is the co-author of "Translating for Singing: The Theory, Art and Craft of Translating Lyrics", London: Bloomsbury: 2016)

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