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Second ProZ.com Translation Contest 2007

ஃபிரன்ச் to ஆங்கிலம்


Finalists:7

Source text:

        La mort de Jean-Baptiste fut la grande affaire de ma vie : elle rendit ma mère à ses chaînes et me donna la liberté.
        Il n'y a pas de bon père, c'est la règle ; qu'on n'en tienne pas grief aux hommes mais au lien de paternité qui est pourri. Faire des enfants, rien de mieux ; en avoir, quelle iniquité ! Eût-il vécu, mon père se fût couché sur moi de tout son long et m'eût écrasé. Par chance, il est mort en bas âge ; au milieu des Énées qui portent sur le dos leurs Anchises, je passe d'une rive à l'autre, seul et détestant ces géniteurs invisibles à cheval sur leurs fils pour toute la vie ; j'ai laissé derrière moi un jeune mort qui n'eut pas le temps d'être mon père et qui pourrait être, aujourd'hui, mon fils. Fut-ce un mal ou un bien ? Je ne sais ; mais je souscris volontiers au verdict d'un éminent psychanalyste : je n'ai pas de Sur-moi.
        Ce n'est pas tout de mourir : il faut mourir à temps. Plus tard, je me fusse senti coupable ; un orphelin conscient se donne tort : offusqués par sa vue, ses parents se sont retirés dans leurs appartements du ciel. Moi, j'étais ravi : ma triste condition imposait le respect, fondait mon importance ;  je comptais mon deuil au nombre de mes vertus. Mon père avait eu la galanterie de mourir à ses torts ; ma grand-mère répétait qu'il s'était dérobé à ses devoirs ; mon grand-père, justement fier de la longévité Schweitzer, n'admettait pas qu'on disparût à trente ans ; à la lumière de ce décès suspect, il en vint à douter que son gendre eût jamais existé et, pour finir, il l'oublia. Je n'eus même pas à l'oublier : en filant à l'anglaise, Jean-Baptiste m'avait refusé le plaisir de faire sa connaissance. Aujourd'hui encore, je m'étonne du peu que je sais sur lui. Il a aimé, pourtant, il a voulu vivre, il s'est vu mourir ; cela suffit pour faire tout un homme.


Entry #730 - Points: 51 - WINNER!
Martin Cassell
    Jean-Baptiste’s death was the defining event of my life: it left my mother a slave, and gave me my freedom.
    There is, by the nature of things, no such thing as a good father. Don’t blame men, though: blame rather the rotten bond of fatherhood. There’s nothing finer than making children: and no greater injustice than having them! Had he lived, my father would have lain full over me, crushed me. Luckily, he died very young: while around me every Show full text

Viktoria Gimbe
Sounds like a human being is speaking! This one gets my vote!
Nicholas Ferreira
Beautiful! You struck an excellent balance between fidelity to original and proper expression in English. Great job!
Martin Cassell
Thank you for those kind comments. Sartre's rather bare style is a challenge: I feel I caught the tone reasonably, at the expense of consistency in reproducing the style, but to paraphrase: «il n'y pas de traduction parfaite, c'est la règle» ...
Marian Vieyra
Awesome ability to transfer tricky French into flowing English.
Entry #528 - Points: 17
Paul Hirsh
Jean-Baptiste's death was the big break of my life: it enslaved my mother and gave me freedom.
A good father doesn't exist as a rule; this is not to belittle men, but only the business of fatherhood, which is rubbish. Making children is fine; but having children is a sin! Had he lived, my father would have leant on me with all his weight and would have crushed me. Luckily he died young; and I cross life's river alone, despising those invisible father-figures who ride astride their sons all their Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
Very nice translation. Flows well, and really catches the attention of the English reader. Well done!
Entry #704 - Points: 12
Anonymous
      
       Jean-Baptiste’s death was the major event of my life: it condemned my mother to her chains and gave me my freedom.
       That there’s no such thing as a good father is the rule. There’s little point in blaming men for it when it’s paternal ties in general, frayed and worn as they are, which are at fault. There’s nothing better than making children, but having them – now that’s Show full text

Entry #604 - Points: 5
linguafex
Jean-Baptiste’s death was the biggest event of my life: it enslaved my mother and liberated me.
There’s no such thing as a good father, that’s a given; don’t blame men; blame the paternal bond, that’s what’s rotten. Making babies, nothin’ better; having them, that’s the sin! Had he lived, my father would have lain down right on top of me and crushed me. As luck would have it, he died young; surrounded by Aeneases carrying their Anchiseses on their backs, I go from one shore to Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
Good job on this translation. You captured the informal register of the original very well in your translation, no easy feat...!
Entry #510 - Points: 2
enowtakuem
      The death of Jean-Baptiste was the major occurrence in my life: mum got bucked down to her chains, and it gave me freedom.
       As a rule, no good dad exists; no grudge should be held against men but rather for the rotten paternal relationship. To bear children – nothing is that comparable; but to possess them, what an iniquity! Had it been he lived, dad would have laid over my entire body and crushed me. Luckily, he passed Show full text

Entry #548 - Points: 2
Marian Vieyra
Jean-Baptiste's death was the biggest event of my life -  it returned my mother to servitude and gave me freedom.

There is no such thing as a good father, that's the rule.  Let's not aim this grievance at men but at the rotten paternal bond.  There is nothing better than making babies but having them, what an outrage!  Had he lived, my father would have lain on me, spread-eagled and would have crushed me.  Luckily, he died young.  In Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
I like this translation. Good comprehension of original to transmit same idea in English.
Entry #570 - Points: 1
PMMeddings (X)
The death of Jean-Baptiste was the great event of my life : it put my mother back in her shackles and gave me my freedom.
        There is no such thing as a good father, as a rule ; the fact that this grievance tends not to be held against these men, but against the bond of fatherhood, is rotten. Producing children, and nothing better ; actually having them, what an iniquity! Had he lived, my father would have sat on me with all his weight and would have Show full text

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