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2. Have the pictures been sold ?
A-t-on vendu les tableaux ? (THIRD FRENCH Book, 177) $ 7. But the reflective verb is used instead of the English passive when the subject is personal and the sentence more precise, as :1. Wisdom is only to be acquired by study and experience
La sagesse ne s'acquiert que par l'étude et l'expérience 2. True friends are shown in adversity, and false ones are not
discovered in prosperity Les vrais amis se montrent dans l'adversité et les faux ne se
découvrent pas dans la prospérité 3. Robbers are often concealed in thick woods
Les voleurs se cachent souvent dans d'épaisses forêts
§ 8. A reflective verb is also often used impersonally1. We have met with an accident
Il nous est arrivé un accident 2. Many workmen happened to be without work Il s'est trouvé beaucoup d'ouvriers sans ouvrage (Second FRENCH
Book, $ 71)
III.—OF ACCURACY. § 9. Often, among translators, there exists a tendency to substitute themselves for the author, to change a meaning or word, or a turn of thought, to leave out certain phrases, to suppress some details which may be thought tedious, to become concise where the original appears prolix, and on the contrary to amplify what the author has set down in terse and pithy sentences. Let us remind the student that a literal translation is always the best, provided it suits the genius of both languages; that the more we endeavour to fill up even the place of one word by a similar one, the more we try to render
even the most delicate shades and meanings of the author, the better, the truer our translation will be. We
should never change even a single word, unless there is i an absolute necessity for it, we have only to endeavour
to render faithfully the original: we are not critics, only copyists; it is only by copying in a careful and scrupulous manner that we may aspire to become true literary critics.
§ 10. An example of a translation of a passage from Macaulay’s “Essay on Warren Hastings,” recently published in Paris, will elucidate what we have said above.
“ The place was worthy of such a trial. It was the great Hall of William Rufus, the hall which had resounded with acclamations at the inauguration of thirty kings, the hall which had witnessed the just sentence of Bacon and the just absolution of Somers, the hall where the eloquence of Strafford bad for a moment awed and melted a victorious party inflamed with just resentment, the ball where Charles had confronted the High Court of Justice with the placid courage which has half redeemed his fame. Neither military nor civil pomp was wanting. The avenues were lined with grenadiers; the streets were kept c ear by cavalry. The peers, robed in gold and ermine, were marshalled by the heralds under Garter King-at-arms.
“Le théâtre était digne d'un tel spectacle. C'était la grande salle de Guillaume le Roux, la salle qui avait retenti d'acclamations de joie à l'avénement de trente rois, la salle qui avait entendu prononcer la juste condamnation de Bacon, et le juste acquittement de Somers, la salle où l'éloquence de Strafford avait un moment inspiré un certain respect, et presque des remords à ses ennemis victorieux et irrités ; la salle où Charles avait affronté la Haute Cour de Justice, avec ce noble courage qui a fait parfois oublier ses crimes. Toutes les pompes civiles et militaires étaient déployées à l'extérieur et à l'intérieur de Westminster Hall. Des grenadiers formaient la haie le long de toutes les avenues environnantes; la cavalerie tenait la foule à distance. Des hérauts d'armes introduisaient les pairs tout couverts d'or et d'hermine. § 11. We will now compare this translation with the original English, and see how far it conveys the meaning of the late Lord Macaulay.
Why translate trial by spectacle ? Could it not have been rendered by jugement? The author did not intend to state that Westminster Hall was worthy of such a spectacular show, but simply to convey to his readers the idea that such a trial did not disgrace such a noble hall.
The translator renders acclamations by acclamations de joie. Why de joie ? If the author had wished to state “joyous acclamations,” he would certainly have done so ; but he knew that acclamations always imply joy or approbation, and as the hall resounded with these acclamations, the word joy would have been unnecessary ; the translator was therefore wrong to write acclamations de joie.
Inauguration has been translated by avénement, which latter word, according to Littré’s Dictionary, means simply élévation à une dignité suprême. Now “ inaugura. tion ” means investing into office with solemnity and appropriate ceremonies. The author evidently wishes us to think of these ceremonies, because later on he states most minutely all the ceremonies and details of the trial. Why therefore did the translator not employ the word inauguration, which has the same meaning in French as in English. Witnessed is translated by entendu prononcer. The original does not say has “ heard pronounce," but had been eye-witness of the just sentence of Bacon; ru, seen, is the right word to employ here, because être témoin, the literal translation of “to witness,” is generally only used in French of persons, as Dieu m'est témoin, and. figuratively le Ciel m'est témoin.
Had for i moment awed and melted a victorious party inflamed with just resentment, is rendered in French, avait un moment inspiré un certain respect et presque des remords à ses ennemis victorieux et irrités. The word for ought to have been translated—pour un moment is better than un moment; whilst inspiré un certain respect is far too weak an expression, it ought to have been terrifié; melted has nothing to do with remorse, but only with compassion, touché should have been used here. A victorious party inflamed with just resentment is also badly rendered by ennemis victorieux et irrités. Macaulay says nothing about “enemies,” but mentions that the party was victorious. Why the word irrités has to stand for inflamed with just resentment is incomprehensible. The sentence ought to have been translated, avait pour un moment terrifié et touché un parti victorieux enflammé d'un juste ressentiment.
To confront does not mean here affronter, but faire face; placid is not noble, for “placid” means quiet, tranquil, in French tranquille. Which has half redeemed his fame is again badly rendered, qui a fait parfois oublier ser crimes, literally “which has made sometimes his crimes to be forgotten." Macaulay does not speak of “ sometimes,” but of half; says nothing about “ his crimes,” but. mentions his fume, and does not use the verb " to be forgotten," but to redeem. The question is not if the translator's expressions are more correct or elegant in his own mind, but simply that they neither give back the words or the meaning of the author.
Toutes in the next sentence for neither is also an error, whilst there is a great difference between were wanting, which ought to have been manquaient, and the word
oe dator not wanterior ofa haie, to
used above, étaient déployées, which means “ were displayed;" an inuendo which is not found in the original text. Though I admit that in French after was wanting some word must come to finish the sentence, why did our translator not use à ce spectacle, instead of speaking of the exterior and interior of Westminster Hall? Why employ the words formaient la haie, to stand in a line on both sides, when the English speaks only of were lined, étaient bordées d'une ligne ? Environnantes is also a supposed improvement not to be found in the author. La cavalerie tenait la foule à distance is quite different from “ keeping the streets clear,” the French of which is maintenir les rues libres. The last sentence, the peers, robed in gold and ermine, were marshalled by the heralds under Garter King-at-arms, is translated des hérauts d'armes introduisaient les pairs tout couverts d'or et d'hermine. The heralds, who, against all order of precedence, are placed before the peers, do not “introduce," but "marshal” them, as the author wished it. Robed in gold and ermine does not mean tout couverts, but well en robe d'or et d'hermine. As a final blunder the poor Garter King-at-arms is left out in the cold for no reason whatever, for Jarretière, le roi d'armes, is well known in France.
$ 12. We give here the same extract translated according to the corrections and emendations given above :
“L'endroit était digne d'un tel jagement, c'était la grande salle de Guillaume le Roux, la salle qui avait retenii d'acclamations à l'inauguration de trente rois, la salle qui avait vu la juste condamnation de Bacon, et le juste acquittement de Somers, la salle où l'éloquence de Strafford avait pour un moment terrifié et touché un parti victorieux enflammé d'un juste ressentiment, la salle où