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geoffw
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 Message 401 of 1317
16 January 2013 at 5:38pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

No problems! The French are really lovely people, but Paris can be a bit like Manhattan sometimes—most people
are perfectly nice, but there are some unfortunate and memorable exceptions.


Putting it this way makes me less terrified of visiting Paris (not that I have immediate plans to do so again), having
lived in Manhattan before. I was constantly meeting wonderful people in NYC and very rarely finding myself
frustrated with anyone. One simply needs to accept that there's a certain amount of "roughness around the edges"
that shows up in daily life, go with the flow, and not take anything personally. Mangling of English may be far more
easily tolerated there than mangling of French in Paris, however.
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kanewai
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 Message 402 of 1317
16 January 2013 at 7:46pm | IP Logged 
Yes, tell us more about your scanner! I love seeing the pages from BDs, and will
certainly be imitating you as soon as I figure out how to do it without cracking the
spines of my books.   My collection is smaller, but there are some unique BDs I have that
I'd love to share.

As for Paris & environs, I agree: I found people almost uniformly polite and easy to get
along with. The only exception was the big Left Bank tourist zone running from Champs de
Mars to the Latin Quarter.
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emk
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 Message 403 of 1317
16 January 2013 at 10:13pm | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:
Yes, tell us more about your scanner! I love seeing the pages from BDs, and will
certainly be imitating you as soon as I figure out how to do it without cracking the
spines of my books.   My collection is smaller, but there are some unique BDs I have that
I'd love to share.


I found all sorts of plans at the DIY Book Scanner site. A good starting point is the Bargain-Price Book Scanner plans.

Basic ingredients:

1. A digital camera.
2. A sheet of glass to hold the page flat (price: about $2).
3. Something to hold the book open at a 90 degree angle. Stacks of heavy books work.
4. A couple of really bright lights.
5. A steady hand.
6. Correct white balance settings on your camera and some photo correction software.

For BDs, the trick is (4), the lights. The DIY Book Scanners were mostly designed for black-and-white text, and you can get okay results with a bright desk lamp. For BDs, which are large and full of illustrations, you'll need something a bit brighter and more even.

I'm currently using two 70-watt halogen floodlights with "bubbly" lenses:



These aren't perfect, but I get OK results if I set them well back from the book at a low angle from the page. To get more even lighting, I probably need to either move the lights well back, or hang them about a meter above the books, as in the bargain plans.

This is still very much a work in progress. But it already produces better images than my regular scanner, and it's much gentler on the books. Here's the raw output:



Not bad at all, but I still need to work on the lighting.
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emk
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 Message 404 of 1317
17 January 2013 at 1:26pm | IP Logged 
First, I'd like to apologize for the lousy scans today. These were some of the first books I ran through my improvised "scanner", and I hadn't yet gotten all the bugs out.

5 BDs in 4 days, day 3: Two classics

Today we have two classic BDs. Both of these are enormously popular in France, and both have been turned into movies and merchandising empires. You can find them on the shelves on French speakers throughout the world, and you can buy them in a huge number of languages, including Latin.

Let's start with Tintin. This page comes from Coke en stock. As always, Tintin has just escaped from one crisis (being shot at by a patrol) and has fallen into another (being strafed by airplanes):



As sillygoose pointed out, there are some downsides to the Tintin books. Captain Haddock's alcoholism can be downright alarming, and the endless imbecility of Dupond and Dupont gets old quickly. On the other hand, as this page shows, you're going to keep reading as Tintin lurches from one catastrophe to the next. And every once in a while, you'll run into a page where Hergé outdoes himself, and the story has a moment of brilliance.

View on Amazon.fr

Today's other classic, of course, is Asterix. It's always been my favorite of the two, because it's witty and clever, and because you can enjoy it at multiple levels. If you're a child, it's a fun story with lots of humor. But if you're an adult, you'll find jokes about Latin, about government agencies, and about all sorts of other odd things. (The translations of Asterix are generally excellent, and replace all the puns and jokes with something that works in the target language.)

Let's start with with page 1 of the first book, Asterix le gaulois:

(edit: larger image so the text is legible)


Even on the very first page, it's all there: Gaulish pride, clobbered Romans, jokes about Latin, and—of course—two classic French heroes.

View on Amazon.fr

So we've done science fiction and cooking humor and classics. Tomorrow, we'll wrap this up by revisiting a BD that I've already mentioned, but this time I've managed to get a scan.

Edited by emk on 17 January 2013 at 3:39pm

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songlines
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 Message 405 of 1317
18 January 2013 at 7:08am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

Today's other classic, of course, is Asterix. It's always been my favorite of the two, because it's witty and clever,
and because you can enjoy it at multiple levels. If you're a child, it's a fun story with lots of humor. But if you're
an adult, you'll find jokes about Latin, about government agencies, and about all sorts of other odd things. (The
translations of Asterix are generally excellent, and replace all the puns and jokes with something that works in
the target language.)


There was an excellent article (or interview?) that Anthea Bell wrote (or had), over a decade ago, on the
challenges of translating Asterix.
While trying in vain to find it again, I stumbled upon this more recent
(2005? 2006) article by her, available (only, it seems) via the Internet Wayback Machine. It seems to be part of a
British Council series on the Art of Translation: Anthea Bell on
Asterix
.
Unsurprisingly, the "downloadable text file" link no longer works, so you'll have to click on each of the
successive six parts to get the full article, but it's absolutely worth it. A few highlights:

After the intro, there's a bit of background on Asterix, Goscinny, and the publishing history of the series.

Quote:
..Several English-language publishers initially turned the series down, on the grounds that it was too
French to cross the Channel successfully....
.

The Pictorial Element: Fascinating discussion of the translation of page 35 of Asterix the Legionary/Astérix
Légionnaire
(I don't suppose you could do a scan of the relevant image, EMK?), in which the illustration has
both an in-joke with another illustrator, and a reference to
The Raft of the Medusa, which it parodies.

Translating Names:
Quote:
Names: the books to date contain some four hundred proper names of people (and some place names),
nearly all of which have had to be changed in translation, since they are not really names, but comic spoofs on
names made up out of French words in the original.


This section's particularly useful for people like me who don't have enough French to "get" all of the wordplay in
the names. Nice summary on the different suffixes chosen for the different cultural groups.

Translating Songs; Translating Puns: As can be expected, puns are a real challenge.

Accents:
Quote:
Accents are also a problem. The French are familiar with a Belgian accent; we have no way of
reproducing one in English, although we can do a German accent. The French version of a British accent is
extremely difficult to translate into English, and has been done with a dated upper-class-twit style of English in
Asterix in Britain and elsewhere. To date, policy has been not to try substituting British regional accents for
French regional accents — and for Belgian and African accents, for instance — but instead to substitute extra
jokes for those accents not readily imitated in English.
.

A couple of final quotes, if I may, - and this next one's particularly for you, EMK, with reference to your comment
about Asterix being enjoyed at multiple levels:

Quote:
Olivier Todd, in an article in L’Exprès, once wrote that French parents gave their children the Tintin
books and then borrowed them back, while they read Asterix before passing the albums on to their children...


And a paradox:
Quote:
...Paradoxically, translation of the text, if it is to be faithful to the spirit of the original, has to be very
free, indeed unusually free, where the letter is concerned. The reason for this is that the French text is crammed
with puns, wordplay and verbal jokes of all kinds, which will not translate straight. Often the task is one of
adaptation rather than ordinary translation...


Apologies for posting such a long piece in your log, EMK. - I hope you don't mind. Enjoy the article!



Edited by songlines on 18 January 2013 at 7:59am

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Quique
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 Message 406 of 1317
18 January 2013 at 9:47am | IP Logged 
songlines wrote:
The Pictorial Element: Fascinating discussion of the translation of page 35 of Asterix the Legionary/Astérix
Légionnaire
(I don't suppose you could do a scan of the relevant image, EMK?), in which the illustration has
both an in-joke with another illustrator, and a reference to
The Raft of the Medusa, which it parodies.


Voilà!



This was the very first Asterix book I ever read! (in Spanish)
It was a special edition for a local bank, that was gifted to its customers. I was 4 years old at the time! While I knew how to read, I just was too small to understand it, but I enjoyed it in a very basic level.

Quote:
Apologies for posting such a long piece in your log, EMK. - I hope you don't mind. Enjoy the article!

I found it extremely interesting. Thanks for bringing it up!
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emk
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 Message 407 of 1317
18 January 2013 at 1:34pm | IP Logged 
songlines wrote:

And a paradox:
Quote:
...Paradoxically, translation of the text, if it is to be faithful to the spirit of the original, has to be very
free, indeed unusually free, where the letter is concerned. The reason for this is that the French text is crammed
with puns, wordplay and verbal jokes of all kinds, which will not translate straight. Often the task is one of
adaptation rather than ordinary translation...


Apologies for posting such a long piece in your log, EMK. - I hope you don't mind. Enjoy the article!


Thank you for the article on Asterix! Don't worry about the length. It's a marvelous addition to this week's theme.

And as for that paradox about translation, I think it's much more generally true than most people believe. Anything which has charm, or wit, or style is going to be difficult to translate. I've seen this in both directions, now, since I enjoy reading translations. Usually the only way to preserve the style is go for a very loose translation of the content, and the only way to exactly preserve the content is to kill the style.

Quique wrote:
This was the very first Asterix book I ever read! (in Spanish)
It was a special edition for a local bank, that was gifted to its customers. I was 4 years old at the time! While I knew how to read, I just was too small to understand it, but I enjoyed it in a very basic level.


And this is one of the secrets of extensive reading in a second language: If you're willing to appreciate things like a child, you can enjoy materials that are far above your level. Thank you, Quique, for the extra panels!
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emk
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 Message 408 of 1317
18 January 2013 at 1:48pm | IP Logged 
5 BDs in 4 days, day 4 : Moi René Tardi, prisonnier de guerre au Stalag II B (book 1 of ?)

We've already seen the the front cover and a single panel of this book, but today I managed to scan a full page. This is a ridiculously oversized BD, way too big for my flatbed scanner, and almost impossible to light evenly on my DIY "scanner".

This is the true story of the author's father, who drove a tank in World War II, and who was captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp. Here is the arrival of the war, for which the French were curiously unprepared. The story is a conversation between father and son, overlayed on drawings of the war:



This is probably the hardest BD I've posted so far, because it uses lots of World War II-era slang and military terminology. But if you're interested in the history of World War II, it's an excellent book, full of all kinds of details on France and the war. And it's hard to complain about 180+ text-heavy pages. Just one warning: It's a cliff-hanger, and there's presumably a second book on the way, but they don't mention that anywhere on the cover.

The author, Jacques Tardi, recently refused the Légion d’honneur.

View on Amazon.fr


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