Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Good Duke now speaks English! Done, sort of (again)

Back on October 13, I announced on this blog that I had (sort of) finished my translation of  the Chronicle of the Good Duke Louis de Bourbon.  Maybe one more  run-through and I'd be able  to start a new project.

Well,  my collaborator Phil Paine and I have done considerably more than that since October.  The problems we faced as we worked on the remaining trouble spots were really difficult -- which only makes sense if you think about it.

So today's announcement should be limited.  What's done is an acceptable translation from Middle French to modern English.  Truth be told there are a very few spots where figuring out what the best equivalent in Modern English is still uncertain.  Also missing are a short glossary of mostly military terms, a map (maybe) and an introduction that will help non-specialists understand the context of the chronicle.

And there is one big thing that remains to be done; I have to retranslate our rather literal English translation into a modern one.

Why is this necessary?  Well, let me tell you of my own experiences.  About ten years ago, I was teaching late medieval history.  I did my best to find accessible, affordable, translations, or translations that were in the public domain.  There were a few century-old public domain works that might have been fun, but as I looked them over, I realized that they would be very difficult for students of the 21st century to read.  Somebody would have to translate the translation first!

That's what I have to do now.  I'm going to treat the text Phil and I have produced and act like it is the base text, and transform it into a modern work, without constantly going back to the Middle French original (though you and I know that I will be looking closely at that original.

It will be a challenge to keep some of the medieval flavor., to avoid too much exoticism or a very dull 21st century presentation.   OTOH, it should be fun to try.

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