Writing in Translation and Translation in Writing
Those of you scholars, researchers, and writers who do not have to deal with the issue of translation in your scholarship I’m jealous of your privilege and luxury:-)
It has become an intellectual tradition for me whenever I have to write an essay or write a new book in English, I have to translate from the French to English. The majority of my interlocutors and conversation partners wrote exclusively in French (most of their writings are still not translated in English) and are from the Fracophone world including Francophone Caribbean and Africa.
With all honesty, I do not like to translate from one language to another. When I was doing my MA in French language and literature at the University of Louisville, I did not enjoy translating medieval French texts to contemporary French. One of the pivotal moments that marked my academic life happened when we as a class had to translate excerpts from the beautifully well-written poem “Roman de la Rose” (a 13th century French text) ( Romance of the Rose) to modern French. I was both happy and terrified: happy because the poem is beautifully narrated the intersections of the art of love, female sexuality, and gender dynamics; terrified because of the enormous task that was before me.:-)
We also translated Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech to contemporary French. I enjoyed that mental exercise.
Yes, Jesus saved me from my French Translation class. I passed it with an A and successful graduated with a Master’s degree in French Literature. And I left Louisville, Kentucky like a happy man. I do not miss the cold, but love the snowy season. LOL