Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Simenon - 1 Book, Two Titles, Two Translations


It so happens I have two English language editions of Georges Simenon's M. Gallet décédé (1931): Maigret Stonewalled published in 1963 and translated by Margaret Marshall and The Late Monsieur Gallet published in 2013 and translated by Anthea Bell.

Here are the first few paragraphs in each edition - poor photography aside, here is a reminder, if one should be required, of what translators do.


6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Karen - Yes, indeed. Translators are essential aren't they? A well-done translation can make all the difference in a novel.

David P. Simmons said...

Equally important is how a lousy translation can ruin a novel.
I found the few English translations of the Maigret stories I had read in French to be too British for my American understanding and taste. This is why I'm looking forward to the new versions by Penguin.

Hardik Sahani said...
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findingtimetowrite said...

Yes, yes, exactly! I'm sure I've been put off certain writers (Dostoyevsky, for instance) because of poor translations and then rediscovered them thanks to good translations. Very under-rated skill, and I think that translators' names should appear more prominently on the cover of books.

medusaurelia said...

Good point, Karen,

I felt in love with Harry Hole after reading "Phantom" in Don Bartlett's English translation (yes, I started from the end), and then felt disappointed when I met him again in the Catalan (my native language) version of "The readbrest".

Little Grey Doll said...

I too suspect that at least one recent novel has been "lost in translation" for me. It's an act of faith to put yourself in the hands of the translator... for both writer and reader. How do we know if a translation fits the writer's vision? Unless they are able to work as a team of course. At the end of the day the translation needs to read well... and they don't always.