Mercredi 3 septembre 2014 3 03 /09 /Sep /2014 22:47

pnb

(French followed by English)

Peut-être que cela n’a pas grand-chose à voir avec la traduction. Et pourtant, si l’on pense la traduction comme une façon d’exprimer son monde intérieur d’une façon qui soit intelligible pour le monde extérieur, alors si, il s’agit de traduction.

   Cette semaine est donc marquée par « La Rentrée ». Et pour nous les français qui pensons qu’un individu n’a pas à être défini par le fait qu’il est doté d’un pénis ou d’un vagin, il flotte dans l’air une odeur nauséabonde digne des pires moments de l’histoire. Personne n’a oublié le niveau des « débats » autour du mariage homosexuel l’hiver dernier. Je ne vais même pas en parler, ce serait leur donner trop de crédit. Mais ce que tout ce foin m’a fait comprendre, c’est à quel point la vaste majorité de la population française n’a pas ne serait-ce que le moindre commencement d’idée un tout petit peu évoluée concernant le concept de genre.

   Aujourd’hui je veux vous parler du rose. A Puteaux (92), la maire a offert de nouveaux cartables aux écoliers de primaire. Hic : les cartables sont sexués. Bleu pour les garçons, rose pour les filles. Et à l’intérieur, un petit cadeau : dans les cartables roses, un kit pour fabriquer ses propres bijoux, dans les cartables bleus, un kit pour monter son propre robot. Croyez-le ou non, en 2014 en France, il y a encore des gens qui ne trouvent pas cela ne serait-ce qu’un peu dérangeant.

   Je détestais le rose quand j’étais petite. Pour moi, cette couleur représentait tous les stigmates de ce que haïssais dans le fait d’être une fille. Je voulais pouvoir courir et grimper aux arbres sans avoir à m’embêter avec des robes et des petites chaussures précieuses. J’avais les cheveux courts parce que je n’avais aucune envie de devoir me les faire démêler par ma mère (et, vu les cris que poussait ma petite sœur à l’heure du shampoing, je savais de quoi je parlais). Je voulais jouer avec des jouets qui m’invitaient à l’action, au lieu de devoir m’identifier à une princesse qui attend son prince charmant. C’était Batman et Mighty Max pour moi, pas Barbie et Polly Pocket. Je n’avais que des copains garçons, et on m’appelait « mon petit garçon » et plus tard « jeune homme ». Mes parents m’ont laissée faire, je crois qu’ils étaient fiers d’avoir une petite fille si indépendante et casse-cou, et ils se disaient que j’avais tout le temps de trouver ma façon d’être moi. Pour eux le plus important c’était que je sois une personne heureuse et équilibrée – et je me rends compte à quel point ils ont été géniaux. Et au final je suis heureuse et équilibrée. Il y a bien eu un moment angoissant un peu difficile à passer, mais une fois que j’ai compris que je pouvais tout à fait être une fille qui aime les garçons à peu près autant qu’elle aime les baggys et le roller et qu’elle déteste tous les « trucs de fille », j’étais une ado de 16 ans tout à fait heureuse. Et c’est parce qu’il faut que les enfants puissent construire leur identité loin de tout stéréotype – qu’il soit raciste, économique ou sexiste – que ce qu’il se passe à Puteaux est effarant.

   Aux Etats-Unis et au Royaume-Uni, certaines universités proposent des chambres universitaires spécialement dédiées aux étudiants transgenres. En France, on en est encore au rose-pour-les-filles-et-bleu-pour-les-garçons. Je t’en foutrais moi, des « Sois belle et tais-toi » ! Permettons aux petits garçons d’aimer le rose, à l’instar de Jason dans True Blood. Permettons aux petites filles de voir plus loin que les accessoires de beauté 

   Et même, vous saviez qu’il existe du porno féministe ? Je me suis commandé un t-shirt qui dit «  I  love Fem Porm ». Et vous savez quoi ? Il n’est pas rose. 

 

***

 

Maybe this doesn’t have much to do with translation. But then again, if you think of translation as a way of making what makes you « You » intelligible for the outside world, maybe it does.

   So its back-to-school these days. And in France, for those of us who believe that individuals are free to live their lives as they choose independently of whether they were born with a penis or a vagina, these early September days have a definite hint of Inquisition / Middle Ages / WTF. Maybe you’ve heard about the appalling « debates » which were going on in France last winter, when the French government  was about to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage. I’m not even going to go down that lane, its just not worth it. The real eye-opener for me was that it made me realize how very little French people knew of the issues approached by what Anglo-Saxons have coined « gender studies ».

   Today I want to talk about pink. There is a suburban town near Paris where last Tuesday, the day when kids went back to school for « la Rentrée », the Mayor (a woman) has been giving out new school bags. Only thing is, the schoolbags are gender defined. And heavily so. There are pink ones for the girls, and blue ones for the boys. The Mayor is feeling generous, and the bags enclose a little present: a DIY set to make your own jewellery / a DIY set to build your own robot – guess who gets what. Believe it or not, in 2014 in France, some people still don’t see what’s wrong with that.

   I used to hate pink when I was little. To me, it was like wearing the stigmata of everything that was so uncool about being a girl. I wanted to run around without being encumbered by frilly skirts and flimsy shoes. I wanted to wear my hair short so it wouldn’t get all knotty and my mum wouldn’t have to comb it out (by the looks of what my younger sister went through, it was painful). I wanted to play with toys which promoted action instead of sitting around looking pretty. I was Batman and Mighty Max of course, never Barbie and Polly Pocket. My friends were all males, and I was used to being called a « boy »and later on « young man ». My parents let me be, proud of raising such an independent and fierce little girl, and trusting that I would figure it out at some point. The most important thing for them was that I grew up to be a happy, balanced individual – and I love them for having that presence of mind. And I did grow up to be a happy, balanced individual –ultimately. There was a definite moment of panic when I wasn’t sure where I belonged, but once I understood I could perfectly well be a heterosexual girl who wears baggy pants, spends her weekends on rollerskates and hates everything which is dubbed « girly », I was a very happy 16 year old. But what if I had chosen to be a transgender, someone who crosses the borders of biological sex to create their own personal identity, one not defined by whether they pee sitting down or standing up (having said that, I know a man who pees sitting down, and his masculinity is none the least for it)? If that had been my choice (if I had felt like that choice was an available choice), I would want to live in a society which respects me.

   In the USA and UK, some universities have separate dorms for Trans students. In France, we’re teaching little girls to sit tight and be pretty, while little boys conquer the world. F*** that! Let’s have boys admit – like Jason in the show True Blood– that they like pink. Let’s have girls build robots. And did you know there was a thing called « Fem Porn » ? I’m getting a t-shirt which says « I ♥ Fem Porn ». And guess what ? It isn’t pink.  

 

Liens / links:

http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2014/09/01/a-puteaux-les-cartables-c-est-bleu-pour-les-garcons-et-rose-pour-les-filles_1091496

http://www.welovegoodsex.com/

Par Lucie
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Vendredi 25 janvier 2013 5 25 /01 /Jan /2013 20:16

Hé oui, à l'heure qu'il est vous êtes peut-être actuellement dans votre bar favori, profitant des dernières minutes de l'heureureuse avec l'envie de vous adonner à la viture, ou peut-être êtes-vous sur le point d'échanger votre tenue vendredisée pour un pyjama (mais d'ailleurs !), et si vous faites de la gestion de projet en traduction, il y a des chances que vous soyez en train de maudire un libre-lance qui vous a fait perdre quelques heures de votre samdim.

Ces mots au sens clair-obscur, situés quelque part entre le « je pourrais le dire mais personne ne me comprendra » et le « pas moyen c'est trop la honte », ont été imaginés par un comité de linguistes français réunis au sein d'un site collaboratif, le WikiLF, avec pour leitmotiv de participer à « l'enrichissement de la langue française ». Le but : nous mettre à contribution pour inventer des alternatives aux mots « franglais » que nous utilisons tous les jours, et  à terme les faire adopter  par le  Journal officiel par le biais de la Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie, la très officielle FranceTerme. Au delà de l'aspect ludique (certains diront ridicule, mais pour ma part j'adore inventer de nouveaux mots et je trouve donc la démarche amusante), ce que ce wiki évoque c'est non seulement la rigidité du français vs la plasticité de l'anglais (un thème déjà abordé sur ce blog à travers le prisme de la musique pop ici), mais également les relations ambigües entre la langue française et la langue anglaise. La fin de cet excellent article des InRocks résume bien l'affaire : il y a problème quand le mot vient de l'anglais, mais pour les mots issus des autres langues, nous sommes soudainement plus tolérants. La faute à une langue qui, à force d'être trop maléable, est devenue dans l'inconscient collectif la langue d'une «hégémonie culturelle », d'une mondialisation qui passe autant par le Coca que par la « langue de Shakespeare » (expression exaspérante). Reste que si l'invention d'un nouveau monde passe par l'invention d'un nouveau langage, on est mal barrés.

 

 

Liens :

Dix mots que les allergiques au franglais rêvent de vous faire adopter

WikiLF

France Terme

 

Et merci à Emilie (qui se reconnaîtra j'espère) :)

Par Lucie
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Samedi 17 novembre 2012 6 17 /11 /Nov /2012 10:05

 

  humans are dead

 

     Let's face it. If you're a translator these days, there are certain things you can't run away from. One is your boyfriend coming to you and proudly telling you that he's having a great time reading the "Game of thrones" book you got him in English, that he just downloaded an automatic translation app that he can use when a specific sentence eludes him and he's on the train to work (i.e. he doesn't have you as his personal human dictionary at hand). Handy for him (and for you too, really, as your own reading isn't interrupted by questions of "what does that word mean?" every other minute). But deep down -as a person whose daily sustenance depends on the act of using your unique (and thoroughly human) brain to coherently assemble in one language a string of words which was originally put together in another language -what you really want to do is bellow a terror-filled "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!" whilst making Vade retro Satanas signs to the man you love.

Of course what I'm getting at here, the thing that YOU dear translator peer, cannot escape, is MACHINE TRANSLATION: a step beyond "computer-assisted translation", not really robots (at least not yet) but nonetheless the definite future of translation -and of just plain communication- in a globalised, stingy economy, which regards human input as expensive bullshit, something which can just be discarded so that the company's numbers can go up.

We all have funny stories of translation gone beserk. There are many blogs, websites and Facebook groups out there (check out Traductions de merde if you're fluent in French) which prove that translation is not just a matter of replacing one word by another and that free machine translation tools are pretty much useless. It takes something that a machine on its own will never have, no matter how much artificial intelligence you give it, and that is skill: the aptitude to identify an issue and to raise a question and then call to mind a number of solutions based on your experience and your knowledge, using your best judgement to make the right choice, taking into account not only language rules and context, but also the time budget you have for your translation. A translator makes such choices every millisecond, anticipating the impact the solution he chooses for that specific word or sentence will have on each and every one of his coming choices, narrowing down the list of possibilities until he can hear the translated text being read out in his head, every word falling perfectly into place, as if that were the only translation possible, and he knew it all along. Translating, to me anyway, often feels like a gigantic game of treasure hunting, a quest where, when you found the graal -i.e. the translation which to you sounds perfect- you feel like a goddess.

But let's be honest: the kind of text we translate or review everyday rarely make us feel like we belong to some Pantheon of language workers. Most of the time, it's more like we're the street sweepers of language, pushing foulness and garbage down the sewage of "globalised communication" (basically a fancy word for allowing merchant A to sell his products not only in consummer-land A but also in consummer-land B, and C, and D, etc.). There lies the difference between a noble and dignified literary translator and a lowly and plain "technical" translator. The other difference is that unless you're a very talented actual writer (for that is what it takes to be a real literary translator), chances are you are not getting any money. I know it for a fact: I tried for a while, realised I was a crap writer, and then I saw where the jobs were and I sold my soul.

Of course I'm being dramatic. I moved "up" now and am not doing as much translation as project leading (which basically involves a lot of fiddling about with recalcitrant translation softwares, soothing moody Project Managers, downloading and uploading material, conjuring up linguistic instructions that will both make the client and the translator happy, writing and reading emails, with the odd translation and proof-reading jobs here and there), but I'm still a dealer of words, and for that I'm thankful. And I really do like my job, in the end. Which is why I'm worried, and feel threatened, by machine translation. Because there's another side to the funny gibberish that comes out of the rear-end of Google translate. I'm really beginning to suspect that these free translation solutions are just baits to make people turn to translation agencies: the sheer unreliability of what they produce makes potential clients realise that if they're even just a bit serious about prospecting on a globalised scale, they need a real translation budget. So they go to translation agencies, and if they're aiming real big they go for the big ones. And what the big ones are doing, is using the good stuff that comes from the technology of machine translation to increase their margins.

For the truth is out there: there are tools which, combining human constructed dictionaries, boolean-type datas, binary code, intricate algorhythms and God knows what else, are actually terrifyingly good. They often need a rapid check -a bit of a past tense here, less of a pronoun here- but are totally understandable (and just as cold and hard as the nail on my big toe, but that's another story). Of course it doesn't work for every type of content (and certainly not for literature), but it DOES WORK. We'd be fools to pretend otherwise. Like a grown adult pressing his hands on his ears, whilst shutting his eyes tight and shouting LALALA at the top of his voice. You don't want to be that person.You need to look the thing in the eye. We, as translators, need to adapt. That is what species do to survive.

Because we're not going to change the way the economy works (and by that I mean that a company, in order to keep employing people, must make profit) our evolution must come from education. There's a lot of client-education to be done, as we have to convince people that what we do is a delicate art which requires proper retribution to be done well, and not something that anyone with a computer can do (it would make a great subject for another post), but we must also re-think the way we teach translation in universities. We need to get to know our enemy. Let's start off by actually telling translation students about post-editing and stop treating it as a taboo. If you're not familiar with the concept, post-editing is the human stage of a real machine translation process, whereby the translator reads and corrects what the machine has come up with. It is fairly new (in that it has been going on for less than a decade I believe) but I was never told about it in school, and I graduated 18 months ago from a nationally recognized translation course. I'm being told that some students in other schools these days are being told by their teachers to tell potential employers that they flat out refuse any post-editing jobs. That's just like shooting a bullet in the head of your carreer as a translator. Honestly, you might as well just go and do something else: there is no way a young and inexperienced translator would enter a translation agency's pool of resources with that attitude, believe me.

Of course post-editing is a task different from that of translation, mainly because you are paid so little for it that you can't afford to spend ages on it and therefore have to make as little changes as possible. And sometimes you lose, and everyone loses, because the machine produced crap, which you spent too much time trying to make better, but without receiving half the money you would have got for it if you'd done the translation in the first place, and the client gets a translation which is ok-ish (but he often doesn't care, and carries on displaying the usual contempt of the business-inclined individuals for the intricacies of language). And sometimes you don't lose as much, because the translation you got was good, you only had to do a bit of fine-tuning, and you managed to balance your time budget -what you have lost is a certain pride in your profession, but that's another story (again).

If we want to be able to be proud to be translators through at least the next 20 years, we need to tell translation students about the different technologies behind machine translation, and start off by teaching them computer programming, for there's a lot of that involved. If we leave it to computer geeks to decide how translation works, no wonder the price to be paid is the quality of language content. That's our area of expertise. I know we are the ones who turned to words in high school in part because we loathed numbers, but we have to make an effort.  The only outcome of us not wanting to see the truth and keep fighting those who enforce machine translation upon us is that we'll be left out of the one positive aspect of globalisation for our kind, and that is the intensification of information flows. It's our chance! We need to take hold of it, make machine translation what we want it to be, in order not only to protect ourselves but also protect the integrity of all the languages in the world. We need to accept machine translation, just as we accepted long ago with Internet that the translator in his ivory tower who writes on a typewriter using a paper dictionary and taking all the time he needs just no longer exists.

Just like any other mass production system, translation has become an economy with a high division of labour, whereby the clients hand the work to the agencies, which then appoint Project Managers who dispatch the work onto various resources, each one being assigned a very specific task. Often the freelance translator is at the very bottom of the food chain. And as such, he or she -let's not forget that for many women being a freelance translator is a way to combine holding down a job and being able to go pick up the kids when school is over- is the most likely to disappear completey. Now, I'm not a freelance translator, some of you may even think I've gone over to the Dark side, but I'm still a translator, and as such I know that post-editing is far from satisfying. I just really don't think we ought to fight the tide here, lest we should drown from exhaustion. What we mustn't let happen is for the computers and their programmers to rise on top of the translation hierachy, in a position where they can make the decision of what is acceptable language-wise and price-wise. Because machine translation doesn't necesarly mean there will be less jobs in translation. There will be less jobs for old-school failed-writer type translators (and I don't mean to offense anyone). But if we handle it well, there will be just as many jobs for computer savvy terminologists, people with linguist project-manager profiles, highly specialised translators, reliable reviewers and efficient post-editors. The future of translation belongs to us, the humans. And no, we're not dead.

 

Featured : screen-shot from the Flight of the conchords' song "The humans are dead". And sorry for the bad David Guetta reference in the title. Obviously I was trying hard not to use the F word. And I could translate this article, but it's Saturday I can't be asked, so you'll just have to put it through Google trans. In fact, I'm going to do that right now.

Par Lucie
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Jeudi 25 octobre 2012 4 25 /10 /Oct /2012 15:10

The world's worst typos, by The Guardian

Rule nbr 5698: never cut prices on the reviewing stage

 

Thanks Julie L.

 

Par Lucie
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Jeudi 29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /Mars /2012 08:15

 

 DSC02815

French, then English

 

  Vous l’avez compris : j’intellectualise tout.  C’est comme ça, je n’y peux rien. Là je me suis faite faire un tatouage, et j’ai besoin d’expliquer pourquoi, alors accrochez-vous. Mon tatouage, c’est la marque de mon esprit sur mon corps. C’est refuser la distance qu’impose une certaine vision de la sacralité du corps. Ce corps qui est mon véhicule d'exploration du monde et qui est si évidemment mien, je choisis de le reconnaître en le marquant à vie d’un symbole que mon esprit a choisi. Le but ? Mieux l’habiter, mieux me l’approprier. Mon tatouage consacre l’union de mon corps et de mon esprit. Je le regarde et il identifie ce poignet comme étant le mien non pas uniquement parce que cette main au bout est à moi mais parce qu’il est marqué d’un symbole auquel j’ai réfléchi, qui fait partie d’un processus intellectuel qui m’appartient et qui fait de moi la personne que je suis. Je le regarde et je me souviens de tout ce qui fait que je suis moi. Je le regarde et je me souviens des circonstances dans lesquelles je l’ai fait, et rien que ça me donnera le sourire toute ma vie. Je le regarde et j’en suis fière, car je suis fière de qui je suis. Et c’est en cela que c’est mon bouton d’activation : le voir et savoir qu’il est là me donne instantanément la confiance en moi et l’energie pour me dépasser, autant physiquement qu’intellectuellement.

 

You’ll have got it by now, I can’t stop myself from intellectualizing everything I do. So now I got my tattoo, and I need to explain why. Let’s see if I get my point accross to you. When you think about it, having a tattoo done is pretty much branding your own body with something that your mind came up with. I see it as a way of refusing to consider your body as some sort of sanctuary, ie something sacred that should be left untouched. It’s my body, and I chose to recognise it as such by marking it with a symbol that means something to me. In that way, my tattoo binds my mind -my spirit- and my body together. I look at it and instantly I know that the wrist on which it is imprinted is mine, not only because that’s my hand moving down there, but because it bears a mark which means something to me -which I thought about a lot, in a way that makes me so characteristically me. When I look at it, I am remembered of everything that makes me. When I look at it, I remember the circumstances I did it in, and that alone is enough to make me smile for the rest of my life. I am proud of my tattoo because I am proud of who I am. And that’s why it’s a power button : seeing it and knowing it’s there instantly gives me the confidence and the energy I need to give my physical and intellectual best.

 

Par Lucie
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Introduction

Bienvenue dans un capharnaüm de la traduction. Vous y trouverez de tout, puisque « tout est traduction ». Un postulat qui me permet de parler de tout mais jamais de rien, avec une préférence pour les langues, les cultures, les joies de la traduction et Bruce Springsteen.

 

"Tout est traduction" ("translation is everywhere"): a posh French way of giving some coherence to this blog. Let's say it's about translation as a way of life, with a good sprinkle of Bruce Springsteen.

Forum

Partagez vos expériences de traducteur ici !

Share your experiences as a translator here!

Recherche

Images & photos

  • Climb
  • Bees
  • Capture d'écran JAZZ
  • Sous-titreurs Luchon

Liens pas utiles

Parce que des fois on en a marre de traduire, des liens vers des blogs et des sites tous tenus par des copains talentueux dont je fais la promotion.

 

These will take you to the blogs of my extraordinarily gifted friends. 

 

 Fat Box, des vidéos tour à tour drôles, poétiques ou impressionantes, toujours avec le bon goût d'un mec super.

 

 The Inventory of my Mind, poèmes à couper le souffle d'un autre Eurostar humain.

 

Morgan, la pop délicieuse d'un grand ami. C'est lui qui fait tout et il le fait sacrément bien.

 

Jazz le film, le site du court-métrage de la relève.

 

Les boulettes de Kéké, un blog consacré aux spécialités culinaires sphériques en tous genres et tenu par un traducteur technique cher à mon cœur.

 

Divers

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