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When your tits go up your throat.. one of the stupidest translations ever:

February 12, 2013

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The much acclaimed translator of Sartre into English, Stuart Gilbert, has, in the definitive Penguin edition of Sartre, a scene from the play “Huis Clos” in which the air-headed female character Estelle tries to seduce the only available man around, Garcin:

 

ESTELLE: “My poor darling! Look at me. Please look. Touch me. Touch me.” (She takes his hand and puts it on her neck.) “There. Keep your hand there.”

 

On her neck? One would think she is asking him to finish her off by strangling… In fact, Sartre’s French original goes very sensually like this:

 

ESTELLE: “Mon chéri, mon chéri! Regarde-moi, mon chéri! Touche-moi, touche-moi.” (Elle lui prend la main et la met sur sa gorge.) “Laisse ta main, ne bouge pas.”

 

In Sartre’s very “châtiée” French language, “gorge“, especially when it is “dénudée“, designates exclusively a woman’s chest and breasts. Estelle takes the idiot’s hand and puts it on her naked breasts. In Stuart Gilbert’s ignorant and prude British translation, the cold bitch asks the man to strangle her. He took “gorge” literally for “neck”!… Is it possible to transpose a text in a way that could be more wrong than that?

Also, the poor Brit probably would take “soutien-gorge” (bra) for one of those neck braces, or cervical collars, used to support a patient’s broken neck and head…

… especially after you strangle her…

 

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2 Comments
  1. De ce o femeie care s-ar vrea strangulată, ar spune, în mod repetitiv chiar „touche-moi, touche-moi” sau „touch me” și nu „strangle me, kill me”? Suferea de laringită? Când o femeie ia mâna unui bărbat șoptindu-i (tandru sau nu) „touch me” și-o pune pe-o țâță, nu pe gât, ba chiar pe țâța aia care șade pe inimă, s-o simtă și să se știe că și femeile au inimă 😉 Asta spune și didascalia lăsată de Sartre, fin psiholog, de altfel, nu doar textul/contextul.

    Excelentă ilustrarea cu Libertatea lui Delacroix…acolo se vede un foarte frumos gât “dénudée”!

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  1. Diplomatie (2014) – un huis clo-clos care funcționează… |

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