Friday, April 10, 2009

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” Samuel Johnson, English author, 1709-84

I’m published again but for the first time in French. I’ve written an article on sun path diagrams. (Read my blog about the subject, in English). Julie, a good friend of ours, is the deputy editor of the bi-monthly magazine, La Maison Écologique and she’d said yes to my proposal of an article. She sent me a list of criteria: how the article should be set out and a word count, etc. I started writing it in English, with the idea of putting flesh on the bones before translating it but soon found myself “mid-Channel”, linguistically speaking, and decided to just get on with it in French, or rather my version of French.

Quite obviously, I needed to have it checked over and emailed it to Kristen, who lives in the Averyon, a native French speaker who also speaks impeccable English. His kind assessment of my attempts at de l’écriture française was that it was comprehensible to a French speaker who spoke English, i.e., through his knowledge of English grammar, he could see through my mistakes to what I was trying to say. I’d asked him not to completely re-write the article, rather to leave it easily understandable but with my English accent still present.

I sent this corrected version to Julie, who delicately asked if I’d mind if she re-worked the article a touch, as it didn’t all sound like proper French: oui, bien sûr, I replied.

I’m pleased with the final article, and it’s recognisably my article, but almost all the words have changed. Despite this, they’ve generously paid me for it but I’ve decided not to give up the day job for the moment. I have another article coming out in an English magazine this month, which I’ll announce when it hits the newsstands, “Extra, extra, read all abaht it!”

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