Thursday, May 3, 2007

Translation of AUTUMN IN PEKING by Boris Vian; as well as Brigitte Bardot




Paul Knobloch, my faithful brilliant translator did an amazing presentation last night at Cal Long Beach. Basically he showed examples of his work and compared it with the original French text by Boris Vian. In detail, he talked about word choice, and how to deal with various phrases in Vian's work. Translating Vian is very very difficult. Due to Vian's play with words and images. As you can gather I am very much impressed with Paul's presentation and his work for me. Remarkable!

Finding the right person for the right job is also a skill, and lately I have been really good at it. Paul and I connected to not only our love for Vian's work, but also a love for Vian's time and Paris circ. late 40's and early 50's.

For me it is amazing to throw one self into another era to study the lives and the works of its citizens. To be a great translator you have to be a fantastic writer. There is no way around it. You can't cheat on this. Also one has to get into the head of the writer you are translating. And not only that, but you also have to be aware of the situations and particular desires of that era or time that the book was written.

My small role last night was to give a brief introduction to the world of TamTam Books. I told the audience (mostly academic teachers or their students) that I first became involved in TamTam due to my first trip to the cinema with my Dad.



He took me to see Roger Vadim's "And God Created Woman" with Brigitte Bardot. It is without hesitation that I can say Bardot was the most important woman (besides my Mother) in my life. I feel seeing Bardot on a big screen set me for life. Therefore lead me to a life as a publisher and a lover of French pop culture. It has been an adventure of sorts, and as the years pass, the passion gets more intense.

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