18 November 2013

From Idéfix to Dogmatix and from Panoramix to Getafix

A post on a couple of brilliant into-English literary translators.

The Saturday 16 November issue of the Guardian featured a brilliant article by literary editor Claire Armitstead on translator extraordinaire Anthea Bell, translator of the Asterix series, among many other works from French and German.

Two quotes: 'It's all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite free'. 'The secret to successful translation is invisibility.'

Bell's transformation of Idéfix into Dogmatix and Panoramix into Getafix contributed to her reputation as a great translator of great puns.

Interesting to see that the Guardian article links directly to My hero: Asterix by Tom HollandHolland is himself a remarkable translator, this time from ancient Greek, as demonstrated by Edith Hall's enthusiastic TLS review of Tom's recently published The Histories by Herodotus under the heading Herodotus the Homer of European prose.

A quote:
This is a twenty-first-century Herodotus. It is a Herodotus whose tongue is often in his cheek: the conflict between Greeks and Persians began long ago with ‘a bout of competitive princess-rustling’. It is a Herodotus who can speak directly to modern capitalism: the Phoenicians ‘began investing heavily in the long-distance shipping business’, exporting goods ‘to a wide variety of markets’. Arion, the travelling poet, ‘raked in an absolute fortune’. It is a Herodotus who knows the language in which powerful men are described today: Peisistratus the tyrant was attended by a retinue of ‘heavies’. Cyrus is described as ‘eyeballing’ Croesus from his rival camp.
But this is also the Herodotus of a translator who respects the old-fashioned niceties of retoric and prose style.

1 comment:

  1. Great article about Anthea Bell, thanks for posting. Rock around the loch! Love it!


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