Marion Cole is French and British. She has worked, and still does, for publishing companies and independent authors. She has translated books for both children and adults. One example of her work: she has collaborated on the translation of the long-running Star Wars Collector Comics issues, for the French publishers, Editions Atlas.
“What I enjoy in Literary Translation is that there is a certain freedom, sometimes requiring imagination, and sometimes poetry, which can be a real translation challenge!”»
One needs to really grasp a text when translating it; both its form and content, its rhythm, vocabulary, style, syntax, and so on.
Various questions arise: should the translator focus on form or content, meaning or style? Ideally, I’d love to transcribe every single aspect of a text perfectly. But things aren’t so rosy. One has to make choices. The good thing about choosing is that it incurs some subjective injection into the text. Indeed, I choose to focus on this aspect because I think it is important, necessary, or for poetic, or any other, reason. But this subjectivity can be a real burden too! Which should I choose? Am I not going too far? A literary translator may feel both free and trapped by this very same aspect!
When possible, I like to interact with the author, to make sure I have really understood his/her text fully. Also, it’s always interesting to chat with authors about their choices, and final decisions. Plus, you can check sources, make sure you have understood what he or she wanted to express, swap drafts, like a literary ping-pong game or modern day correspondence.
Ideally, the best way to translate is when time is not a problem. The ability and opportunity to take one’s time is primordial, although rare nowadays, when everything is due for yesterday… Take your time to grasp the text and its subtext, time to think about it, time to choose, time to translate and research, time to let it stand, time to go back to it, time to interact with the author, time to edit it, time to proofread, time to re-read and finally time to let it mature.
But, as is often the case in this whirlwind of a world, time is scarce!