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II.—OF CONSTRUCTION.

§ 4. The order in which the words forming a phrase are arranged is called construction. The writer generally desires to present the cause before the effect, to give predominance to one thought before another-in other words, to shape the sentence in such a manner that it corresponds with the thought originating in his brain. If in translating we change the construction, we go alter the phrase as often to make unintelligible what was clear. For it must not be forgotten that the meaning of words often depends on their mutual modification and association, and that the idea or sentiment expressed by them may lose its strength by a change in their combination. The translator, therefore, has no right to alter even the order of words in which the original author has put forth his ideas, if he can by any means avoid it, for otherwise he might also completely change the whole conception of the writer.

Let us take as an example the following phrase. “He (Charles V.) observed, that from the seventeenth year of his age he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects, reserving no portion of his time for the indulgence of his ease, and very little for the enjoyment of private pleasure.” If we were to translate this, “ Il remarqua qu'il avait voué toutes ses pensées et toute son attention aux objets publics, depuis sa dix-septième année, ne réservant aucune portion de son temps pour s'abandonner au bien-être et très-peu pour s'amuser en particulier,” the placing of "he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects” before “ from the seventeenth year of his age,”

does not faithfully give back the idea of the writer, who wished to show first the youthful age of Charles V. of Spain, and secondly “that he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects ;” in other words, to render more prominent the fact that so young a man could devote himself to public objects. We must therefore translate this sentence,“ Il remarqua que depuis sa dix-septième année il avait voué toutes ses pensees et toute son attention aux objets publics, ne réservant aucune portion de son temps pour s'abandonner au bienêtre et très-peu pour s'amuser en particulier."

Two other examples follow here. On page 75 we find Goldsmith depicting to us Catharine I. of Russia, describing her origin and her humble occupation, and stating, “ while Catharine spun, the old woman would sit by and read some book of devotion.” If we translate this, “ La vieille femme s'asseyait près d'elle et lisait quelque livre de dévotion pendant que Catherine filait,we completely alter the thought which was in Goldsmith's mind, namely, always to place Catharine in the foreground, to mention her occupations first, and only throwing in a passing remark on her old mother's, so as to complete the picture. Therefore we must write, “ Pendant que Catherine filait, la vieille femme était assise près d'elle et lisait quelque livre de dévotion.”

The second example is to be found on page 71, in the opening words of the history of “The Saddler's Pet Rat.” “I knew a worthy whip-maker, who worked hard at his trade to support a large family.” The first idea that strikes the reader is that the author's whip-maker, a most respectable man, worked hard at his trade. We must therefore keep the same arrangement of words, and

translate, “ J'ai connu un digne fabricant de fouets qui travaillait continuellement à son métier pour nourrir une nombreuse famille," and not place “pour nourrir une nombreuse famille ” before “ travaillait continuellement à son métier.”

It is not always easy to preserve in a translation the very order of words of the original author, but whenever this can be done it will give to translation a vitality of its own, whilst at the same time its fidelity will add to its merit. Of course, the nature of the French language often compels the translator to change this order, but we must always try repeatedly if we can keep to the customary forms of English phraseology, before totally abandoning the order of the original.

§ 5. We give here below a few examples of translation, illustrating the most important difficulties, nearly all taken from the SECOND and THIRD FRENCH Book.

1. The more ambitious a man is, the less happy he is Plus un homme est ambitieux, moins il est heureux (THIRD

FRENCH Book, § 80) 2. His chest is very weak, and I feel a pain in my arm (THIRD

FRENCH Book, $ 90, Obs. 3) Il souffre de la poitrine, et moi, je souffre au bras 3. Let him who loves me follow me

Qui m'aime me suive (THIRD FRENCH Book, § 163) 4. You have no business here

Vous n'avez que faire ici (THIRD FRENCH BOOK, § 166, Obs. 4) 5. Were the doctor to allow it, I would give you a little wine Si le médecin le permettait, je vous donnerais un peu de vin

(THIRD FRENCH Book, $ 205, Obs. 1) 6. You shall tell me Je veux que vous me le disiez (THIRD FRENCH Book, § 207,

Obs. 4, and § 224)

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7. We have heard of Robert becoming a soldier, and of his leaving

next week Nous avons appris que Robert s'est fait soldat et qu'il part la

semaine prochaine.
8. He is delighted at your having said that
Il est charmé de ce que vous ayez dit cela (THIRD FRENCH Book,

§ 228, Obs. 2)
9. He denies our having gone

Il nie que nous soyons partis (THIRD French Book, § 224) 10. There is nothing that I would not do to please you

Il n'y a rien que je ne fasse pour vous plaire (THIRD FRENCH

Book, § 231, Obs. 1) 11. Perhaps you will allow me to go with you

Vous me permettrez bien de vous accompagner (THIRD FRENCH

Book, § 208) 12. The most curious thing that museum contains

Ce que ce musée contient de plus curieux (THIRD FRENCH Book,

§ 157) 13. He had already told us something about it

Il nous en avait déjà dit un mot (THIRD French Book, § 145) 14. The result of this has been a great evil

Il en est résulté un grand mal (Second French Book, $ 71, . Obs. 2) 15. Had I served my God as I have served my king, he would not

have left me in my old age Si j'avais servi mon Dieu comme j'ai servi mon roi, il ne

m'aurait pas abandonné dans ma vieillesse 16. How I should like to see you there

Que je voudrais vous y voir (THIRD FRENCH Book, § 312, 7)

§ 6. In general we prefer in French to use the active form, preceded by the indefinite pronoun on, when in English the passive is employed, as :

1. It is thought, it is hoped, it is said

On pense, on espère, on dit (THIRD FRENCH Book, § 177)

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