TranslationSeptember 7, 2014
I am not a traditional translator in the sense that it isn’t the book that is important but the overall project. A good example is my first major translation, L’Abolition by Robert Badinter. It wasn’t so much that I thought Americans absolutely needed to know this book; yes, it is a stunning narrative and an important chapter in European history, but the details are so rooted in the French culture of the 1970s that it doesn’t resonate with many non-French readers.Rather, I undertook this project because I felt that America absolutely needed to know M. Badinter, one of the under-appreciated figures of the 20th century who has worked valiantly to end the death penalty and is one of those rare statesmen respected across the political spectrum. Ultimately, with the help of the book office, we able to translate M. Badinter’s book into French and organize an American speaking tour for him …
This is the start of an essay on books I hope to translate that I wrote for the My French Library project that was launched by the cultural branch of the French embassy in the United States. To read the rest of the essay, you can visit the site *here*.
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