So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
humanracer
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Sat May 03, 2014 11:59 am

Interesting. Who is the publisher of the new Hapgood? I would be intetested to know if they supplemented the text with a translation of the Cambronne section.

User avatar
Acaila
Posts: 9968
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am
Location: Scotland

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Sat May 03, 2014 2:29 pm

Off the top of my head, "Falls River of New York". Or something similar at least. Cover is little Cosette and a tricolor colour scheme. Published for the "now a major motion picture" market.
It was only a tenner, but I didn't feel I could justify it on top of the Wilbour, and the fact I still haven't read the Donoghuer, but I might return to it in future. There didn't seem to be any additional translations or footnotes or anything at all beyond the basic text as far as I saw. I'm guessing it was probably rushed out as the common out of copyright version to coincide with the film.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

humanracer
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Sun May 04, 2014 7:00 am

Thanks for that. It is the Fall River Classics version. It seems to be an American release so Blackwells must have imported it. At least they didn't use the awful Wraxall text.

Well done for resisting the temptation to buy more books. I have recently bought a large Alexandre Dumas set and the complete works of Agatha Christie so I have to cut back. Actually I am currently selling my antique Hapgood on ebay.

User avatar
Acaila
Posts: 9968
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am
Location: Scotland

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Sun May 04, 2014 11:36 am

I shouldn't even have bought the Wilbour considering my bank balance, but there was no way I was resisting!
It did seem to be a very stripped down edition. They had the preface quote, nothing else, and no apparent footnotes or endnotes or anything, and no attribution to a translator. Though it looked nice at least.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

User avatar
Rachelle
Posts: 2136
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:31 pm
Location: On the barricade- where else!

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Rachelle » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:51 pm

I was shocked that in Waterstones near Picadilly Circus there was only one copy and it was a Julie Rose.
Image
"Cure your Cholera with boiled water and bananas"

humanracer
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:51 pm

Just a heads up that the Donougher translation is being released in a paperback edition in Feb 2015. The translation has been retitled "Les Misérables" (presumably to boost sales) and features new cover art by Jill Tamaki.

At this point I will only be interested in buying this if it features more illustrations by Tamaki.

www.barnesandnoble.com/w/les-miserables ... 0143107569

User avatar
Maria Combeferre
Posts: 681
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:29 am
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Maria Combeferre » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:55 am

I happened to buy the Donougher (still called "The Wrethched" btw) when I went to Denmark this summer and so far I must say I rather like it. It has a nice modern language that is very easy and comfortable, unlike some of of the older but more litteral translations, but it doesn't feel "slangy" like Rose. For instance, Grantaire calls Enjolras "heartless" in "Enjolras and his lieutenants" where most seem to prefer some verision of "ingrate" and Rose had the audacity to use "bastard"! It also has a particularly lovely translation of Jehans poem, not to mention the fact that she manages to use translations that make various little statements feel vastly clearer then earlier editions, but without it meaning a lot of readymade interpretations.

That being said, my personal favourite has always been F/M since it combines the accuracy of Wilbour with the readability of modern translations.
It's easier to be odd or crazy or insane than to hurt all the time.

Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.

EnjysVest
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:29 am
Location: In the elephant

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby EnjysVest » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:12 pm

Rose had the audacity to use "bastard"!

Seriously? :lol:

I can't believe I just noticed this, but Wilbour removes Grantaire's "You will see" right before R passes out. Is there any reason for this? I suppose he includes it in the "few more unintelligible words"... Besides Wilbour, I only have Hapgood -- what do the other translations do with it?

User avatar
Maria Combeferre
Posts: 681
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:29 am
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Maria Combeferre » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:36 pm

I had no idea that Wilbour did that! :?
It's easier to be odd or crazy or insane than to hurt all the time.

Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.

User avatar
deHavilland
Posts: 4842
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Contact:

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby deHavilland » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:53 am

Hm. I had initially planned to do a thorough check of the translations to see how that passage in particular had been handled. As a control, starting with Grantaire's "tu verras" from the original French. But checking my copy of the Wilbour has the following:

Grantaire replied with a grave voice: 'You will see.'

So there's apparently no omission in the Wilbour. Are you sure you hadn't meant another translation? Which specific copy of the book are you referring to?
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

EnjysVest
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:29 am
Location: In the elephant

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby EnjysVest » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:42 am

Seriously?? :shock: It's Barnes and Noble 1996, "Complete and Unabridged" and "Translated from the French by Charles E. Wilbour."
(Maybe Barnes and Noble doesn't like Grantaire...? :) Then again, I have a copy of Tess of the d'Urbervilles with the title spelled wrong on the cover, so I guess anything can happen.)

I wonder what else is missing...

User avatar
23623
Posts: 496
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:08 am

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby 23623 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:55 am

This is a wonderful thread!! I'm currently looking for an English translation of Les Mis. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to ask here so if it is inappropriate please feel free to ignore or delete this.
I want to choose one from Wilbour, Wraxall, Richmond and Hapgood.
English is not my native language so basically I want to find a translation that is easier to read, vocabulary- and grammar-wise.
Also I want good translations of puns and all of the humor.
I'm not very familiar with European history so I don't mind some footnotes on historical facts, as long as they aren't unduly long.
Could you please give me some suggestions? Which translation should I read? Thank you for your kindness :D
Revolution, but civilization

User avatar
deHavilland
Posts: 4842
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Contact:

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby deHavilland » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:47 pm

My first reaction would be to suggest the Fahnestock/McAfee translation. Is there a particular reason that you've left that off of your list of preferred options? It's very close to the original text with most if not all of the puns and turns of phrase effectively translated, but in updated English that's easier to read than the Wilbour or Hapgood, but not so updated that it comes across as modern like the Rose.

Of the ones you do have listed, then probably the Wilbour is the best. The Richmond version is difficult to find and has a lot of omissions, the Wraxall doesn't translate the puns very well at all, and the Hapgood is a clunkier read than the Wilbour is. Better to go with the original translation out of those four, I would suggest.

But: that said, I still think your best bet would be to read the Fahnestock and McAfee.
"Quand vous aurez besoin de Bahorel, capitaine, Bahorel est là! Je sais faire trébucher tous les chevaux du garde-corps avec une ficelle... Rien qu'une petite ficelle. Enfin, pensez à Bahorel du Café Musain!"

User avatar
Acaila
Posts: 9968
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am
Location: Scotland

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:04 pm

Definitely Wilbour over Hapgood. I find the Hapgood more old fashioned, and Wilbour does much better with the puns in my opinion. Not read the other two you mention.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

User avatar
23623
Posts: 496
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:08 am

Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby 23623 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:03 am

Thank you very much, deHavilland and Acaila!
There is a reason for excluding Fahnestock/McAfee, albeit a lame one. I assume that this version is more difficult to obtain from the Internet as deHavilland didn't include any link in the first post, but actually I prefer reading online to carrying a book around.
I'll try to search for Fahnestock/McAfee on the Internet. If I can't find anything, I'll read Wilbour.
Revolution, but civilization


Return to “The Brick”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest