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Translate?

Modifié le : 2016/09/18

I was dis­cussing my nov­el last night with a cho­ris­ter, wait­ing to go on stage with Ganymede. Being an anglo­phone, this friend asked me why I was­n’t hav­ing my nov­els trans­lat­ed ; I would prob­a­bly have a bet­ter chance of get­ting some suc­cess or money.

I smiled at him and replied : “At a dol­lar a word, there is no invest­ment” and unless gov­ern­ments, with their very spe­cial char­i­ty, agree to sub­si­dize the oper­a­tion, my texts will remain where they are, in their soli­tude as poor people.

Nev­er­the­less, and always stung by this kind of ques­tion, I was curi­ous, when I came back from the con­cert, to count the num­ber of words of my last born child. A lit­tle over eighty thou­sand words, twen­ty-five thou­sand dol­lars for trans­la­tion. My cal­cu­la­tion may be inac­cu­rate, but it still sum­ma­rizes the bar­ri­er erect­ed against such a project.

“You could trans­late it, I’d cor­rect you,” sug­gest­ed the friend. This is not the first time I’ve been told this idea. But a nov­el is not a recipe book or a tech­ni­cal man­u­al. Each lan­guage has its own rhythm and already as I try to nav­i­gate through the sen­si­tiv­i­ties of French, how can I, the Eng­lish gos­sip­ster, claim to find the same fer­vor in this beau­ti­ful lan­guage full of “w” and “th”?

Noth­ing is impos­si­ble, I will be told. Yes, but I’d like to see you there. And to all the talk­ers of when-you-can, I silent­ly present this fin­ger of hon­or that makes you so hap­py in oth­er circumstances.

I will say this. It’s too late, but it does­n’t mat­ter. I will start by not step­ping on my feet, by fin­ish­ing one by one the tasks that are my respon­si­bil­i­ty. I will start by remov­ing each of these thorns that irri­tate my soles. It will already be hap­py if I achieve the com­fort of being a free poet.

“But… “, you may say.

No, no… Shut up, please. Can’t you see that my hap­pi­ness is not con­trolled ? It waits for its spring ; it digs, like a snow­drop, the cold crust of life. After all, it is him­self only a flower, for­ev­er a pris­on­er of its short season.

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