“Police are not treating the case as foul play” I read in an online newspaper. Foul play somehow amused me. I hadn’t come across the expression for a long time. It reeks of Sherlock Holmes. From Sherlock to Shylock and the pound of flesh no-one wants to pay.
In Shakespeare I find:
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Was that allowed, even in His day? Is there a name for writing in a mixture of two or more languages?
Marseille turned out to be an astonishing city, with lots of shops and sea air. In parts it seems quite similar to Paris, but with people who give the impression they don’t mind you being there.
The film festival was a wondrous mixture of pellicules. Some were moving, some left me indifferent and some made me want to vaporise the author with a Martian heat ray. I can be quite categorical at times. If I don’t like something I tend to think it shouldn’t be allowed to exist, until I remember that people can have different tastes and mine doesn’t necessarily hold good for the known universe.
I was laughing with the team about the fact that the previous year no fewer than two out of the four films whose subtitles I converted into English had very long sequences of spiders playing with flies stuck in their web – an apt metaphor for the subtitle translator, thought I. The audience is free to stand up and walk out of the cinema, but the translator has to watch every frame. Just as we are sometimes the only people who REALLY read what we are translating because translation requires a grasp, a take on what is intended. Skimming doesn’t cut it.
English subtitles are required for the films entered in the international competition. The format was two lines of 35 characters each. It’s not a question of straight forward translation because the eye reads at a slower pace than the ear deciphers so the words have to be summarised if there is a lot of dialogue.
Naples is the last city
to hang out sheets on balconies.
There was washing on the balconies opposite my town centre hotel window. We subtitlers discussed this and someone said there were gated communities in America where hanging washing outside is prohibited.
tabula rasa. Guenon – this is a female monkey and a French surname but I could not establish a connection between the two.
Imbroglio - This word came to mind as im-brogue-lio but in fact the “g” is not supposed to be pronounced.
“Word History: The history of today's word has been through a bit of an imbroglio itself. It was borrowed recently from Italian. It is related semantically to embroil, taken from the French embrouiller "to tangle, confuse", a cousin of Italian imbroglio. In fact, in Old English, broil meant "to brawl". It only began to surrender that meaning in Middle English when French brûler "to burn" was borrowed and converted into broil, now with its current sense of baking.”
In primary school my two problem words were foliage – I picked it up as foilage and couldn’t get rid of the pronunciation for a while – and rogue – which I imagined was pronounced “rogg-ewe” until I heard it spoken for the first time at the headmaster’s daughter’s birthday party and realised I was very wrong.
The headmaster taught me to fold a letter.
There was a film about pigs flying and the French translator was flummoxed – quand les poules auront des dents is the rough equivalent. And there was a brilliant title for the narcissist, a lady who had stuck a camera down her throat to film her vocal chords and called the film something like "pictures of my voice going round in my head".
There was tango in front of the Opera House and on Tuesday nights tango in the alley in front of the Gymnase Theatre. The shoes are absolutely fascinating… I tried to draw them - the result was painful.
When I recently went to visit Sylvia in Graz, she took me to her tango club, and I spent a pleasant evening foot spotting – ankle spotting. Dietmar suddenly announced that the music had slowed down and I could try, and before I knew it I was “walking” a tango. It is a great feeling. The people in the Graz club travel to cities like Berlin or Barcelona to tango in the street.
Coincidentally, today, Thomas, who set off from Lombez with Phebus to walk sur les traces du rideau de fer is at Sylvia’s house in Graz.