Et tout le reste est littérature

16 Mar

I’ve been pondering in my latest post in French about the concepts of technical translation and literary translation. Most of my work is neither technical, nor literary, but editorial. Some people will argue that any translation published in a book is « literary translation », while all the rest is « technical ». I disagree. Transcreating an advertising tagline, translating or summarizing a news article, subtitling a documentary about the life of a rapper is NOT technical translation. I’d feel like a fraud pretending that I have the same skills as a former engineer specialised in patent translation. On the other hand none of this is literary translation either and while translating a manga, a comic book or a graphic novel  qualifies as literary translation in my opinion, I’m still fairly new at it. For all these reasons, as I wrote a few days ago, I can never think of a proper answer when people ask me if I’m a technical or literary translator.

Anyway, funnily enough, yesterday, the lady sitting next to me at the « Rencontres de la traduction », an event around translation on the sidelines of Paris book fair, saw on my badge that I was a member of SFT, the major translators’association in France, and not of ATLF, the French literary translators’association and immediately reacted: « Oh that’s for technical translators, right?! » To which I answered that SFT was open to all translators.

I have a lot more to say about the Rencontres, including a translation fairy tale, but work is piling up, so I’m saving this for a later post, hopefully sometimes today.

Stay tuned…



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