What should a translator do?

Richard Watkins

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I have a problem and I would like to know what others think.

At the moment I am translating Vigniaux "Horlogerie Pratique" (Practical Watchmaking). It describes how to make a verge watch from scratch and then goes on to discuss how to repair quarter repeaters.

My problem is that some parts are obviously out of order, presumably added as afterthoughts. For example, having spent about 300 pages explaining how to make a verge watch, Vigniaux adds a section on how a watch works and how to disassemble, clean and assemble it! But if the rest made sense these parts are totally unnecessary.

So: Should I reorganise the book so that the order makes sense, or leave it as it is?
 

FDelGreco

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Anyone who reads 300 pages on how to make a verge watch obviously knows how to disassemble and clean one, and of course how one works. I would put all that stuff in an appendix for reference.

Frank Del Greco
 

To uhr billon

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Guten Tag,
I read your post. May I give you my thoughts about this problem.

There is a "must" to translate every word, chapter etc. written by author Vigniaux if it concerns this book "Horlogerie Pratique" and you title it like this.

But I think you are allowed making a book translation "with the following qualification" , insert a description of the parts you will drop (below the book title or similar).

Or title:
Horlogerie Pratique
abstracts of the book Horlogerie Pratique by Vigniaux
translation by .....

Write a preface and substantiate your decision.

I hope you understand my "Steffen Pahlow" English,
greetings and success Steffen
 

Steven Thornberry

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To me, it seems more appropriate to leave it in the order as received. Presumably, you will, in any event, write an introduction that will explain what Vigniaux apparently has done. The understanding reader should have no trouble following the text in Vigniaux's order.
 

beorn

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I think this depends on your motivation for producing the translation.
If you wish to preserve an accurate reproduction purely for the history of
it (and for an academic audience), then leaving the original order may well
be appropriate. But if that were the motivation I think you wouldn't be
asking the question.

My suspicion is that, if the current organization is as odd as you suggest,
it is likely accidental anyway and a re-organization could be explained
cleanly in the translator's preface/notes, as others have suggested. I have
read at least a couple of your translations, and I intend to read more.
My preference would be to have as logical a layout as possible for the reader;
I feel this would help getting the translation read completely by more
people, which I would guess is more of a goal than reproducing all of the
quirks of the original publication.

How does this compare to your Berthoud/Auch "How to Make a Verge Watch"
translation?

- Beorn Johnson


PS. And thanks for all of your work!
 

Richard Watkins

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A vague reply.

My translations are never literal. If they were they would be unreadable; what might be good French is often bad English, and vv. And yes, my main motivation is to try to produce something that an English reader will, if not enjoy, at least find straight forward. And, of course, if I find errors I will correct them.

Vigniaux is difficult for several reasons and reordering it would not be easy; but difficulty should not be an excuse! And yes, leaving the order unaltered is in some ways the best.

I will meditate on the opinions you have given. There is plenty of time because I have to go through at least 2 more drafts before it will be reasonable.
 

Neeth

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Mr. Watkins,

These are just my thoughts. As has been previously stated, you can make a case for doing it either way. I don't know whether it would work to keep the original order and insert a break and a note that you feel pgs. --- to --- would be in a better order if inserted here and keep them as the author wrote them, or to change the order and possibly include a note that the following pages that you have in italics were at the end of the original text.

May I include my encouragement in this task you've set yourself.

Ken Wollard
 

movement2009

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Dear Mr. Watkin,
I would like to let you know that no matter how you work it out, I admire and respect all your works. I think the issue is no a big problem for readers who really want to learn something from your books. Without your translation, I even have no chance to open my eyes!!!
I got your Berthoud's How to make a verge watch, excellent!
Can't wait to see your coming Vigniaux.

KK Au
 

Richard Watkins

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First, thank you for the positive feedback.

Second, sorry, but you will have to wait! It will be a while before it is finished. I have to go through at least 2 more drafts to refine the English, fix any errors and correct the plates (which have some problems).

I have tentatively decided what to do; basically a compromise which should work OK. I'll keep most of the book as is and add a few "reading suggestions" where I think they might be useful.
 
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