Do we have a thread for SlackerInc yet? Maybe we should

Well clearly you’re not googling it write. Without even googling it myself, I am absolutely confident that I am write, because I took an introductory course in psychology twenty years ago, and I’m pretty sure we either discussed the affect or I read about it in a magazine sense.

I think all the emojis don’t have the same impact that the smilies did when at the same size. So that makes it harder to insert them seemlessly as textual commentary with the same impact

On the other hand, if they are on their own line they are larger, and you can really see all the details. I think that on its own line the facepalm is just as good as the old smackie


Okay. Whatever you say.

Well, I don’t know French, so I’ll have to take your word for it

What’s French for whooosh?

I figured that’s what it was, but didn’t want to offend anyone by saying that.

Who would you offend? And besides, it’s the Pit!

L’eooje, by the way (French for whoosh).

I know it’s the pit. I try to be careful.

One little comment and BAM! Shit can turn ugly quick.

Thanks :slight_smile:


Ugh, puns. My favorite Doper tradition. Your insults don’t have much effect on me, but those are like garlic or holy water!


I read a few pages of The Hobbit when I was a kid and gave up. I’ve always preferred hard sci-fi to high fantasy (although I did like the show Game of Thrones, despite not reading the books, until it went off the rails in the last season or so).

You do you, then. All I know is that my translations flow much better than the others (including bestsellers and classics, in most cases) I see. I don’t advertise my “stealth editing”, but the results speak for themselves and have, as I say, been much appreciated.

Keep in mind though that I am translating literature. If I were doing technical manuals or even just plain nonfiction, that could be a whole different deal. But I’m not seeking out those kinds of jobs for precisely that reason–it’s not my forte or my best “value add”.

Oh, sweet Jesus…

(Thanks again, @codinghorror!)

Never mind.sorry

Literature is exactly the kind of translation where you shouldn’t be improving on the original text. There wouldn’t be much problem if you did make a technical text more coherent. But the job of a translator of literature is to preserve the flavor of the original. If you are “improving” it, you are doing a re-write, not a translation. If your clients are appreciative of your changes, I would guess that they ae not very experienced writers. You really don’t seem to understand the goal of translation. Everything you’ve said about it implies to me you are an amateur.

Just for reference, folks: Our eldritch face-palm smilie looked like this:

(Courtesy of Giraffe, who maintains it at his place too.)

The current one, as others have noted, looks more like someone playing peek-a-boo, and doesn’t convey much of a facial expression. The old vB one (which I believe was custom-drawn by a Doper just for us!) clearly shows the intended emotion which, by definition, is what an emoticon is supposed to do!

I’ve made several thousand dollars from my translations over the past year. I had to declare this money on my taxes. I’m not getting filthy rich from it (so far), but I think that makes me a professional. :stuck_out_tongue:

I strenuously disagree that hewing exactly to the literal meaning of a literary work “preserves the flavor of the original”. But hey, we need an illustration. Who better than Proust? I translated this just now to show you guys, but I think I’ll save it as a kind of “spec script” to offer to publishers who may wish to undertake translations of this or other classics in the public domain.

First, the original French:

Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure. Parfois, à peine ma bougie éteinte, mes yeux se fermaient si vite que je n’avais pas le temps de me dire : « Je m’endors. » Et, une demi-heure après, la pensée qu’il était temps de chercher le sommeil m’éveillait ; je voulais poser le volume que je croyais avoir encore dans les mains et souffler ma lumière ; je n’avais pas cessé en dormant de faire des réflexions sur ce que je venais de lire, mais ces réflexions avaient pris un tour un peu particulier ; il me semblait que j’étais moi-même ce dont parlait l’ouvrage : une église, un quatuor, la rivalité de François Ier et de Charles-Quint. Cette croyance survivait pendant quelques secondes à mon réveil ; elle ne choquait pas ma raison, mais pesait comme des écailles sur mes yeux et les empêchait de se rendre compte que le bougeoir n’était pas allumé. Puis elle commençait à me devenir inintelligible, comme après la métempsycose les pensées d’une existence antérieure ; le sujet du livre se détachait de moi, j’étais libre de m’y appliquer ou non ; aussitôt je recouvrais la vue et j’étais bien étonné de trouver autour de moi une obscurité, douce et reposante pour mes yeux, mais peut-être plus encore pour mon esprit, à qui elle apparaissait comme une chose sans cause, incompréhensible, comme une chose vraiment obscure. Je me demandais quelle heure il pouvait être ; j’entendais le sifflement des trains qui, plus ou moins éloigné, comme le chant d’un oiseau dans une forêt, relevant les distances, me décrivait l’étendue de la campagne déserte où le voyageur se hâte vers la station prochaine ; et le petit chemin qu’il suit va être gravé dans son souvenir par l’excitation qu’il doit à des lieux nouveaux, à des actes inaccoutumés, à la causerie récente et aux adieux sous la lampe étrangère qui le suivent encore dans le silence de la nuit, à la douceur prochaine du retour.

My translation:

For many years, it was my habit to retire early. At times, no sooner had the candle gone out than my eyelids closed so quickly I did not even register having fallen asleep. Then, maybe half an hour later, I’d awaken with the impulse that it was now time to go to sleep; I felt I ought to put down my book (that I thought was still in my hands) and blow out the light; while sleeping, I hadn’t stopped pondering what I had just read, but those reflections had taken a rather strange turn; it seemed to me that I myself was one and the same as the subject of the book: whether that subject be a church, a string quartet, or the rivalry between Francis I and Charles V. This belief survived for a few seconds after waking; it did not strike me as objectively unreasonable, but it weighed like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from realizing the candle was not lit. Then this notion quickly began to become unintelligible to me, as after reincarnation do the memories of a previous existence; the subject of the book became detached from me, I was free to apply myself to it or not; I immediately regained my eyesight and was astonished to find around me an enveloping darkness, gentle and relaxing for my eyes, but perhaps even more so for my mind, to which it appeared as a thing without cause, incomprehensible, something truly obscure. I wondered what time it was; I could hear the train whistle which, however far away, resounded like forest birdsong across the distance, making plain the vastness of the deserted countryside through which a traveler hurries to the next station; the dirt road he is taking will be etched in his memory by the intensity of feeling he owes to the new places he visited, to the novel activities he engaged in, to the recent conversations and the sweet sorrow of parting under unfamiliar lamplight that still haunt him in the silence of the night, to the anticipated joy of his return home.

With my other authors, I might have been pretty tempted to break up the run-on sentences. But this is Proust, after all; so although I took some other liberties, I left nearly all the commas and semicolons intact.

If I were doing this “for real” (for pay), I’d set that aside and look at it again with fresh eyes in a couple days. But it’s a pretty good first run at it if you ask me.

For a point of comparison, here’s a typically plodding, overly literal translation from Amazon:

Egads. :grimacing: Can anyone seriously argue that the Amazon translation better “preserves the flavor” of, well, anything? Even if you don’t speak a lick of French, you can see that mine flows better, reads more like actual literature (which is what it’s supposed to be!), and no essential meaning is lost (nor is any truly unwarranted meaning added).

I disagree. You can compare them to see which reads better. If you’re interested in reading Proust in translation, but you don’t speak French, that’s what you have to do anyway.

ETA: Or for that matter, if you are interested in reading translations of any author in any language you don’t yourself speak fluently.

How exactly can us non French speakers see any of that?

Trust me, the Amazon translation is very literal. If you get something important conveyed to you there that you think I shouldn’t have left out, voila.

I’m already regretting not having more time with my paragraph, BTW. I think I prefer “turn in early” to “retire early” in the first sentence. Oh well.

I just noticed that preview includes a little bio of the translator, Lydia Davis. She’s a MacArthur Fellow (which means she got a half-million bucks from one of their so-called “genius grants”), and was named a “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. Her essay on close translation of Proust appeared in the April 2004 issue of the Yale Review.” Sheesh! I’d like to read that essay, because I think her translation suuuucks. Apparently “close translation” is the term for what I called “plodding” and “overly literal”? Hard pass from me on “close translation”, then!