So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
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Acaila
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:56 pm

Ahhh, that's the exact version I first read! *grabby hands*
Alas, the Waterstoneses here only ever seem to have Denny and Rose :(
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby deHavilland » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:13 am

It seems odd you wouldn't have any Wilbours kicking around, since it's still sort of the de facto translation. Or at least that's how I think of it, and since I'm clearly right, every bookstore in the UK should adhere to my whims.

We have a lot of copies of the Rose and the Denny kicking around here, but you can find the Modern Library version of the Wilbour in pretty much any major brand bookstore. (Which is to say Chapters/Indigo/Coles.)
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:36 pm

The two volume paperback Wordsworth Edition uses the Wilbour text and can be found in most discount book stores in the UK such as The Works. The latest version has some really good footnotes. I saw the new Donougher translation in Waterstones today alongside Denny and Rose. It must be really confusing for someone looking to buy the book for the first time. The Donougher is really nice to hold but I had to resist the temptation to buy as I am moving house soon and I already have translations by Rose, Hapgood and FMA sitting on my shelf.

I guess the US and Canada still have those giant bookstores but here Waterstones is the only one left and they are struggling financially. We used to have a massive bookstore called Borders. You could literally spend hours in there browsing through books and they pretty much had everything.

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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Alouette » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:47 pm

I saw the Wordsworth Wilbour today actually, the two volumes look small but it's just the small typeface and thin paper.

humanracer, did you buy the Hapgood and FMA in the UK? I've never seen those and I presumed they were more readily available in the US (or, in Hapgood's case, for free online).

Edit: my question about the Modern Library version has been answered - it's the Wilbour too.

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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:11 pm

Hi
My Hapgood is an antique copy. It is the first UK edition released circa 1900 by Walter Scott Publishing. I believe it is the first edition in the UK to feature illustrations. It is often on ebay and you can pick up a decent copy for about £30. The book is pretty durable hence the vast amount of surviving copies being sold. The FMA was purchsed from Amazon. You cannot buy it from the stores here.

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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby deHavilland » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:36 am

humanracer wrote:It must be really confusing for someone looking to buy the book for the first time.


To be honest, I kind of doubt it. I think most people picking up the book for the first time either don't realize there are notably different translations, or don't care. You have to be kind of hard core about literature or Les Mis specifically to be picky about what translation you have.

"Which one has the prettiest cover and costs the least?"

For people to whom the translation of the text is important, they probably already have an idea of what they're getting into.
"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!"

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Acaila
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:39 am

Yeah, the translator isn't always easy to find either. I bet a lot of people don't realise.
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Gervais » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:55 pm

Yeah; when we got mine, we looked to make sure it was unabridged (pretty easy to tell since one the store had was about three hundred pages while the other had 1500), but that was it. Lurking around the fandom for a bit made me get the Rose partially as an experiment, but again, that was after lurking on here and digging up threads on it.
Last edited by Gervais on Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Gervais » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:27 pm

Out of curiosity, has anyone here finished the Donougher translation? I still haven't been able to get it.
...That was November? :shock: Dang, my procrastination has reached a new low.
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:46 pm

I bought it as soon as it came out and I still haven't even opened it. It's utterly shameful, and a reflection of how little a life I have these days :(
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
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"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby humanracer » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:20 am

Gervais wrote:Out of curiosity, has anyone here finished the Donougher translation? I still haven't been able to get it.
...That was November? :shock: Dang, my procrastination has reached a new low.


wow this is quite spooky as I came here to make a post to ask the same thing!

I have the Donougher translation and I think it is the best edition of Les Misérables in English for the following reasons,

It is complete and unabridged, unlike Denny, the early editions of Wraxall and all the official editions of Hapgood (she left out the Cambronne section).

It doesn't feel like the language has been dumbed down, unlike Rose.

It has excellent notes and footnotes, unlike Wilbour and F/M. For example the ABC/Abaisse pun is clearly explained in a footnote at the bottom of the page.

The text flows well. I would say the closest translation to Donougher in terms of style is probably Hapgood. It is certainly as readable as say Denny.

The introduction, translation notes and timeline are fascinating. I think the publishers made the right in choosing Robert Tombs, a history Professor, to write the introduction rather than say a English Lit Professor. This means we have a greater emphasis on the historical aspects of the novel. Donougher notes on the translation are quite interesting, especially how she dealt with Hugo's discussion of slang. Julie Rose's introduction to her own translation on the other hand just made me feel like she didn't understand the novel at all. The fact she called it a detective story said it all. Rose is a huge crime fiction fan so it comes as no surprise she approached the novel from that angle. Donougher, on the other hand, seems to understand the complexity of the novel. The timeline is much more detailed than the basic ones that accompined other translations.

It has a lovely cover and the paper feels nice to touch. It is a nice book to hold and read. It will also look great on your book shelf.

So there you go. If you want the best possible version of Les Misérables in English you must get this edition. It is very cheap at the moment. I bought it for £12. The hardback will probably become more scare when the paperback comes out this year.

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Gervais
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Gervais » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:08 am

I don't even have an excuse, just procrastination. :(

Okay, thank you, humanracer. :D Glad to hear it has good footnotes, too! (Though, just for the sake of it, the F/M does have a few footnotes; not a whole lot, but I specifically remember the ABC/Abaisse pun being explained). I'll see if I can find a fairly cheap copy sometime, then.
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:13 am

Thanks for the rec! I'm considering adding to my Brick collection (and also to a protege's collection too), so I'll keep an eye open for the Donougher translation. What's the cover image?
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:22 am

Oh, good! I've always preferred Penguin for my classics, and I always felt that the Denny was a weird misstep for them. Glad to hear that the Donougher restores their position.
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Acaila
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Re: So, Let’s Talk About Translations

Postby Acaila » Sat May 03, 2014 11:40 am

This is the cover for the Donoghuer Image

After years and years, I am finally the proud owner of a lovely Wilbour hardback! :D And just because we were early for our dinner reservation and went into the bookshop next door!
They had a new version of the Hapgood in hardback too which I resisted while I am pretty broke and have the ebook version. And particularly relevant here, the new Hapgood didn't have a translator mentioned. So I was sitting in the middle of Blackwells, trying to get this thread up on my phone so I could figure out which version it was! :D Thanks Havvy!
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"


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