Mary: I think the translator definitely plays a big part in it; I readily acknowledge that because I do not read in French, Russian, or a number of other languages, I am at a translator's mercies. That is why I am so very picky about what translations I read. I have been known to spend up to $14 for my classics and have never downloaded an absolute freebie, because they tend to be the poor copies. Sometimes even the English works of the free copies have mistakes in them, sections that have been left out, etc., so I always go with sound versions from reputable publishing houses.
Before I read any work in translation I spend not just a few hours, but usually a number of evenings researching dissertation papers on the book in question, reading different opinions as to which translation is reputed to be the very best. Who captures the feel of the author's dialog? The tone of their prose? Who sticks the closest to their verbiage, but still manages to write a readable work? I read parallel samples and compare them; some languages, such as German and Italian, I am well versed enough in to be able to tell a good quality translation from a poor one, even if I prefer not to read an entire work in the original language, so my task is pretty simple, but in others, I rely on scholars to help me in my choices.
So I guess you could say that in some measure, yes, I like Denny's word choices for Hugo's verbiage. But what I said above about novel structure and the symbolism of the garden scene in the midst of the battle, that was pure Hugo.
posted 11 months ago. ( permalink )