Shahge
Shahge asked:

Which translation is the best (readable) translation of confessions?

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Robert I started reading Cohen's translation (Penguin Classics) without much research, and am enjoying it. A quick comparison of a few passages in this and the anonymous 1890 translation, checked against the French, indicates that some lines seem to be more accurately translated in the former, and sometimes the reverse. Cohen is overall much more readable for my taste, with word-choices conveying the sense of the original more clearly in modern English compared to the older translation—here's an example:
J’ai fait le premier pas et le plus pénible dans le labyrinthe obscur et fangeux de mes confessions.
Now I have made the first and most painful step in the dark and miry maze of my confessions. (Cohen)
I have made the first, most difficult step, in the obscure and painful maze of my Confessions. (anon, 1890)
I don't have access to other, more recent translations in their entirety, but this is the same line in Scholar's translation (Oxford World Classics):
I have taken the first step, and most painful, into the dark and miry labyrinth of my confessions.
Which actually seems the best of all of them in this example. I get the sense that Cohen and Scholar are both quite good and readable.
Stephen B I spent a fair amount of time researching this as well, and still am none to sure which would be the "definitive" one to read... in the end, I plumped for the Penguin edition, translated by Cohen. I read it described as a "domesticating translation", which is "the strategy of making text closely conform to the culture of the language being translated to, which may involve the loss of information from the source text" (Wikipedia). It is argued that something of the original flavour is lost - some have claimed that irony Rousseau intended is lost - but is perhaps more readable; Penguin's remit was to appeal to the reading public, rather than be overly academic; I think.

There is an anonymous translation, from around 1890, which is apparently closer the Rousseau's original style. It's available in the Everyman’s Library edition.

Then there is a 1995 translation by Christopher Kelly, whose text has "not been deformed by the interpretive bias of the translators and editors’ leads to a strongly literalist approach, even at the cost of ‘some awkwardnesses'".

Then Oxford World’s Classics has published an edition translated by Angela Scholar - "a text that manages to be both close and readable"

Anyway, don't know if that helps anyone. Normally I would have read the 1890s anonymous translation, but I didn't really like it much a dozen pages in. I've read about 50 pages of Cohen's translation, and am enjoying it very much.

Here's what I found online, and based the above on:

http://www.mhra.org.uk/pdf/mlr-100-s-...

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=p...
Mark Klempner Just spent way too much time researching this and, though I have no definite answers, it seems like the translation used by Penguin Classics has been noted online as being good by several readers.
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