Rebecca's Reviews > That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation

That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader by Françoise Sagan
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really liked it
bookshelves: translated, reviewed, on-love-and-romance, france, essays
Recommended for: anyone interested in foreign language lit

This is a lovely story, set in 60s Paris so very chic but also rather charmingly quaint. None of the characters are really that likeable, but Sagan really gets into their heads so I found myself empathising with pretty much every one at times.

What really set the book apart for me though was the attached essay by the translator, that made me think so much more about the fact that i was reading a translation, and how that translation had come about... I'd started reading the story but then curiosity about the translation overcame me and I read most of the essay before going back to the novel, and I'm glad I did as it helped me enjoy & appreciate the novel even more.

Even before I read the essay, certain parts of the translation had jolted me as seeming quite Americanised, which I found quite annoying as a British English/Proper English (ooh controversial) speaker reading an American English translation of a French text. Rather than denying this, Hosftadter happily admits that he is quite free in his translation (which he shows by comparing his trans to a 1960s translation) - and even though it still grated with me in places, reading why he chose to translate in such a way was really interesting.

Another interesting and unusual translation choice he made was to capitalise 'vous' as You in his translation, as he picked up on the unusual use of formal pronouns between lovers as important to understanding the dynamics of the story. It's something that is really interesting to notice, but I must admit I would't have even thought about tu vs vous otherwise.
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Reading Progress

December 17, 2013 – Shelved
December 17, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
December 17, 2013 – Shelved as: translated
December 20, 2013 – Started Reading
December 21, 2013 –
page 36
December 23, 2013 –
page 48
December 24, 2013 –
page 108
December 25, 2013 –
page 146
December 30, 2013 –
page 182
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: on-love-and-romance
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: france
December 31, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 17, 2015 – Shelved as: essays

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