Translations in Honor of Ongoing Revolutions: A Weekend Link Post

Zachary Luke Fraser has made available his draft translation of the first chapter of Alain Badiou and François Balmès Of Ideology for readers of AUFS. He’s making it available in part to give us all a preview of the book’s contents, which will be published in full with as both a print book and as an open access electronic book, but he’s also making the draft available to crowd source your suggestions for anything that looks as if it could be translated differently. For those moments where your help may be welcomed look for text in square brackets. Feel free to leave any comments here and they’ll be forwarded on to Zachery.

Daniel Whistler, co-editor of After the Postsecular and the Postmodern (Amazon: US, UK; Book Depository), has also made available a number his draft translations of Schelling and others on his webpage. You can also find a number of book reviews, unpublished articles (like the relationship of Schelling’s work on Kierkegaard), and his doctoral thesis on Schelling’s symbolic language.

Update: I meant to include a link to these translated excerpts from the work of Mario Tronti (h/t Alberto Toscano), whose work I mentioned in a recent post. In the last comment of that post a commenter points us to yet another translation, this time of Houellebecq’s book on Lovecraft [warning: PDF] by Robin Mackay.

12 thoughts on “Translations in Honor of Ongoing Revolutions: A Weekend Link Post

  1. Thanks for making this available. It’s interesting to see a translation in the making, so to speak. I love all the comments, especially stuff like “As Chinese Constitution clearly states in Article 2…” and the translator’s panicked “Cannot find this in the Constitution!”

    I have a quick question – is the use of “;” in English similar to that of the French? I find that French do use “;” in places where English just goes for “,” – what’s the rule there? In Russian, “;” separates more or less clauses that are full sentences (and could be easily replaced with a period)…

  2. Usually “;” in English is reserved for connecting two related sentences that would otherwise have to be separated to prevent a run-on.

  3. Thanks, Mikhail. I hadn’t entirely expected it, but I’m glad Anthony put it up in its raw state, panicky comments and all. I hope I didn’t slip into any improper semicolon use. I’m usually a tyrant about that sort of thing. (Maybe I used it to break up a list? Sometimes, when the items of a list are more complex than simple nouns, or short adjective-noun combinations, and especially when the items include commas, themselves, a semicolon can be used to separate them instead of a comma. That’s the only other valid use of a semicolon that I’m aware of in English writing. Anywhere else one occurs, it should be replaceable by a period, in principle.)

    The problem re: the Chinese constitution is still an open one. Anyone else have any luck finding that missing Article?

  4. The editor’s notes to Adorno’s lectures are funny: quite often after some ‘quote’ or paraphrase Adorno gives the editor has had to note “source cannot be traced”. Adorno clearly misremembered quite a lot.

  5. Maybe it’s not the current but the previous version of the Chinese Constitution?

    Yes, this. Given when that Badiou & Balmès are writing (1976) I assume they have the 1975 Cultural-Revolution-era revision of the constitution in mind, where the phrase is indeed to be found in Article 2 (introduced that year). (It persisted into the 1978 iteration [pdf!], but was dropped (I believe) in the 1982 revision, as one might expect given Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.) Here’s the 1954 Constitution (which the 1975 revision replaced), for completeness’ sake.

    It’s not really the greatest moment of Chinese state policy to be specifically promoting, but that’s a whole other issue.

  6. It’s fun to be offered a chance to comment on translation; I hope my comments may be useful.

    My inpression is that (first sentence) “consacré à” means “dedicated to” — it doesn’t really have the religious overtone of the English phrase “consecrated to”.

    mirror image [symétrique-équivalent]: “mirror image” includes a notion of reversal which doesn’t seem to be intended here. Maybe “symmetrical analogue”? (Though I agree it’s much clunkier.)

    “Machinated” is not a word in English (in my opinion).

    I should note that I haven’t read this text in French, and I am not a native French speaker. I may have more to say later, when I have another chance to look at the translation.

  7. The French, minus the first two pages, is available online here.

    “Readers of Figaro, behold!” is a much more normal locution than the translation suggests. “His readers in the Figaro see him engaged in …” or more literally “For his readers in Figaro, there he is…”

    “it’s clear enough that all around him we find subjects machinated into the conviction”: the French has “que”: “we find *only* subjects”

    “the revision of the feudal tax all fell to the ground”: I think this means “the revision of the census of lands”.

    “denied that he had failed; “to establish a new order in the world”, as Luther demanded,is the “mandate, the power and the right of God, as it is now that of the lords.” — believed that in order “to establish a new order in the world” it was necessary, as Luther required, to have “the mandate, the power, and the right from God, which the lords now have”

    “the exploiters shatter” -> “the exploiters to shatter” (or “the exploiters want to shatter”)

    “every layer of gloss” -> “a whole layer of glosses” (glosses in the sense of explanatory comments)

    “its political finality” -> “its political purpose”

  8. “in the grip of the party” would have to be “dans la prise du parti” (and I don’t know if it would be expressed like that). “dans la prise de parti” is more like “in the taking of sides”. “prendre parti” shows up later in this sense.

    “it is exactly what it looks like” -> “it is exactly what is visible”

    “stripped of every ambiguity by these great lines of demarcation” -> stripped of all ambiguity in its main lines. (i.e., there might be some small ambiguities left).

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