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order of words when we find that the nature of the French language absolutely repudiates it; but before submitting to this necessity, we must strenuously endeavour, by every means which our syntax affords, to preserve the customary forms of the English language.
§ 5. In order to aid the inexperienced in this task, we shall give a few examples of translation, embracing the most important cases :
1. That illness proceeds from your not eating.
Cette maladie vient de ce que vous ne mangez pas. 2. Iinsist upon your going to the sea-side.
J'insiste pour que vous alliez au bord de la mer. 3. I remember it without your telling.
Je m'en souviens sans que vous me le disiez. 4. He laughs at my not being able to speak French.
Il se moque de ce que je ne puis parler Français. 5. The learning anything speedily requires great application.
Pour apprendre quelque chose promptement, il faut une grande application. 6. Greater virtue is required to bear good fortune than bad. Il faut une plus grande vertu pour supporter la bonne fortune que la mau
vaise. 7. From idleness arises neither pleasure nor advantage.
La paresse ne produit ni plaisir ni avantage. 8. Had he been more prudent, he would have been more fortunate.
S'il avait été plus prudent, il aurait été plus heureux. 9. Let all your thoughts, words, and actions be tinctured with modesty. Que toutes vos pensées, vos paroles, et vos actions soient empreintes de mo
destie. 10. Those only are truly great who are really good. Ceux-là seuls sont vraiment grands qui sont vraiment bons; or, Il n'y a de
vraiment grands que ceux qui sont vraiment bons. 11. These two things caanot be disjoined: a good life and a happy death. Voici deux choses qu'on ne peut séparer : une bonne vie et une heureuse
mort. 12. ..... Fling away ambition ;
By that sin fell the angels.-(Shakspeare, Henry VIII.)
Repousse l'ambition ; cest par ce péché que sont tombés les anges. : 13. The more difficult a thing is, the more honourable.
Plus une chose est difficile, plus elle est honorable. 14. How wonderful are the works of God !
Que les ouvrages de Dieu sont admirables ! 15. It is with the diseases of the heart as with those of the body.
Il en est des maladies du ceur comme de celles du corps. 16. Should that happen, what would you do?
Si cela arrivait, que feriez-vous ?
§ 6. In many cases, where the English language employs the passive form, the French prefers the active, preceded by the indefinite pronoun on.
1. It is believed that the queen will arrive next week.
On croit que la reine arrivera la semaine prochaine. . 2. We have been told that your father is in London.
On nous a dit que votre père est à Londres.
§ 7. If the sentence is more precise and the subject personal, the French, instead of the passive, makes use of the reflective verb.
1. True pleasure is only to be found in the paths of virtue.
Le vrai plaisir ne se trouve que dans les sentiers de la vertu. 2. Old friends are preserred and new ones are procured by a grateful disposition. Les vieux amis se conservent et les nouveaux s'obtiennent par l'amabilité du
caractère. 3. Great merit is often concealed under the most unpromising appearances.
Un grand mérite se cache souvent sous les dehors les plus désavantageux.
§ 8. Frequently also the reflective verb is employed in the impersonal form. 1. Many years have elapsed.
Il s'est passé bien des années. 2. Great preparations are going forward.
Il se fait de grands préparatifs.
$ 9. We have urged the necessity of finding the correct expression, and of preserving as rigorously as possible the place occupied by each word, since this is the only way of conveying exactly the writer's thought ; for, without accuracy, true translation cannot be said to exist. If, for instance, the author wishes to be concise, and your translation renders him prolix, you misrepresent him. If he wishes to be copious in order to please or instruct, and you suppress certain details, or rather a porion of his ideas, you misrepresent him still more. In a word, the translator should never substitute his own taste for that of his author; he is not his critic, but his interpreter. If, therefore, the words and the turn of thought employed by the author express his meaning as aptly in French as in English, they ought to be left unchanged, and we should never forget that a literal translation is the best, provided it accord rigorously with the genius of both languages. The text of the writer is a drawing, which ought to be rendered faithfully by reproducing it stroke by stroke ; translation ought to be nothing but a faithful copy. All addition or suppression leads the reader into error.
§ 10. A single example will explain this better than many precepts.
Here follows a passage from Miss Edgeworth, with a translation recently published in Paris :
“My dear, honest children," said she, “I am very glad you told me all this; I am very glad that you did not buy either the plums or the blanket with this guinea; I am sure it is not honestly ours; those who threw it to you, gave it by mistake, I warrant; and what I would have you do is, to go to Dunstable and try, if you can, at either of the inns, to find out the person that gave it to you. It is now so late in the evening, that perhaps the travellers will sleep at Dunstable instead of going on the next stage ; and it is likely that whosoever gave you the guinea instead of a halfpenny, has found out their mistake by this time. All you can do is to go and inquire for the gentleman who was reading in the chaise.”
"Mes braves enfants," dit-elle, “combien je suis contente de ce que vous me dites là! Que vous avez bien fait de n'acheter ni raisins ni couverture avec cette guinée! Je suis certaine qu'elle ne vous appartient pas ; elle vous a été donnée par erreur. Il faut aller à la ville, et, en vous adressant à toutes les auberges tâcher de retrouver la personne à qui elle appartient. Comme il est un peu tard, les voyageurs se sont arrêtés au prochain relais, et à cette heure celui qui vous a donné la guinée, s'est sans doute aperçu de sa inéprise. Votre premier soin doit être de vous enquérir du voyageur qui lisait dans la voiture."
$ 11. Let us now compare this translation with the text, and see how far the French conveys the English.
Why suppress dear? Could it not have been rendered mes chers, mes braves enfants ? The grandmother, touched by their conduct, is not content to call them as usual her dear children, but stops to add honest, which bears upon their act of probity. If dear is omitted, this gradation is lost.
Miss Edgeworth makes the good old woman say, twice over, I am very glad, and this is not unintentional. By repeating the
same words she means to make the children better understand how pleased she is with their conduct. It is therefore wrong in the translator, in order to avoid this repetition, which doubtless appeared to him bad taste in French, to fancy himself obliged to render the second I am very glad, by Vous avez bien fait. Moreover, he has employed an exclamatory form which is not in the English sentence.
Plums often mean, it is true, a kind of dried raisins that are frequently used in puddings, but the plums spoken of here are simply English garden plums, prunes in French; and this is proved by what Anna previously said to her brother : Why, Paul, you know the fruit-woman said she would give us a dozen plums for a penny. If the child meant raisins, she would not have said that they were sold by the dozen at a fruit-stall. Whoever has lived in England knows that raisins are to be found at the grocer's, who sells them by weight.
The suppression of the article before raisins and couverture entirely alters the sense. The question is not, in fact, of plums or blankets in general, but of some particular plums that the children had coveted and of the blanket that Paul had seen at Dunstable.
We find next, I'm sure it is not honestly ours translated by Je suis certaine qu'elle ne vous appartient pas. Why render I'm sure by Je suis certaine? Is not Je suis sûre just as good ? Did Miss Edgeworth write I'm certain? Why therefore change her expression? What is gained by it? The author has also put, It is not honestly ours, and the translator says, Elle ne vous appartient pas, without giving honestly at all.
We in vain seek in the French for Those who threw it ;-1 warrant ;–What I would have you do ;—Instead of a half-penny.
We cannot see why To go to Dunstable is replaced by Aller à la ville.
In saying, To go to either of the inns, the grandmother wishes it to be understood that there are only two inns with which she is well acquainted, and which a little further on are called The Dun Cow and The Black Bull. The translator in making her say, Vous vous adresserez à toutes les auberges, allows the reader to suppose that there are a great number of inns, which would render the
search impracticable to the children, and particularly so at the night-fall.
La personne à qui la guinée appartient is not the translation for The person who gave it to you. We will grant that the translator has wished to avoid repeating the verb donner, which occurs a little before ; but, while avoiding this repetition, he falls into another, for he has just a few words previously used the verb appartenir. Why then deviate from the author, who has assuredly had some reason for the repetition ? Now this reason we find in the age of the grandmother. She is an old woman who naturally likes to repeat things, and who, in the present instance, wishes to impress her words upon the minds of the children.
Il est un peu tard may be said of an hour of the day; here, on the contrary, it is already the end of the day, and this is what the author has intended to express by in the evening. It is, therefore, this idea which must be conveyed; and, moreover, nothing would have been easier than to say, Comme la soirée est déjà fort avancée.
The travellers will sleep at Dunstable instead of going on the next stage, means, Les voyageurs coucheront à Dunstable au lieu d'aller jusqu'au prochain relais. The translator in writing Les voyageurs se sont arrêtés au prochain relais, says quite another thing, and completely misunderstands the passage ; for the old woman would never send the children to a stage perhaps ten miles off.
The translator should not have displaced by this time, which was so easy to retain at the end of the sentence.
Votre premier soin bears no relation to the idea, All you can do ; and, finally, we do not see why gentleman is translated by voyageur, and chaise by voiture.
$ 12. Here is the same extract translated according to the principles we have laid down
“Mes chers, mes braves enfants,” dit-elle, “je suis très-contente que vous m'ayez dit tout cela ; je suis très-contente que vous n'ayez acheté ni les prunes ni la couverture avec cette guinée ; je suis sûre qu'elle ne nous appartient pas honnêtement; ceux qui vous l'ont jetée, l'ont donnée par mégarde, je vous le garantis ; et ce que je voudrais vous voir faire, ce serait d'aller à Dunstable et de tâcher, si v en vous adressant à l'une ou à l'autre des deux auberges, de découvrir la personne qui vous a donné cette guinée. La soirée est maintenant si avancée, que peut-être les voyageurs coucheront à Dunstable au lieu d'aller jusqu'au prochain relais ; et il est vraisemblable que celui qui vous a donné la guinée au lieu d'un sou, s'est aperçu