Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Please Welcome Translator Julie Rose

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Julie Rose
with Julie Rose

We are pleased to welcome back translator Julie Rose to Omnimystery News.

Julie visited with us last month, when we discussed her translation from French to English of the cli-fi thriller The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson (Le French Book; October 2013 ebook formats).

We invited her back today to tell us "What Thriller Addiction Has To Do With Translation".

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I'm a thriller addict. This has a lot to do with being a translator. I work very consciously and intensively on language and nuances of meaning all day; at night, I want something I can lose myself in completely, pumping adrenalin and madly turning pages, almost without thinking — though a good thriller writer will always expose parts of the world you don't know about and get you thinking, anyway. And I only read good writers. Language matters, always. But with a really good thriller, the emphasis is on the thrill.

I have mostly translated intellectually demanding non-fiction by some of France's most important thinkers. But I've also translated Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Most people don't think of that great book as a detective story, but it is, and a very fine one. Translating it was a quite unique experience and has to be one of the major highlights of my translating career so far — of my writing career, I should say, since I rewrote it, of course.

Victor Hugo's interest in the real world was encyclopedic and forensic in its exploration of detail. That, combined with his social awareness and spiritual and emotional depth, make his great masterpiece as potent as ever. I loved translating it, but it took three years and was horribly intense.

But back to my addiction. I love well-written thrillers, and when I first read The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson, I couldn't put it down. It's stylish and fast-paced, with beautifully orchestrated action — like a sophisticated manga — and it's written by a man who knows exactly what he's doing. Bernard Besson worked at the top in French intelligence and with the police; he knows the milieu, he's very convincing. And his tale of environmental catastrophe feels truly timely.

Translation is about getting into an author's mind and then expressing his work through my own language and cultural context. Precision is key, as is inventiveness. You need that to embody someone else's voice. Voice encompasses a whole work, from personality to meaning. ‘Hearing' the other person's voice, profoundly, viscerally, and dredging an answering voice up from out of the depths is the joy of the job.

There are side effects to the job, though. For Hugo, I was worried about losing my hair and becoming fat, which Hugo did at the time he was writing it. I had to almost go into a trance-like state to be able to sustain the work. For The Greenland Breach, the descriptions of some of the geological phenomena unleashed as the ice melts — they are truly stunning — left me wrung out but with a renewed sense of mission. The translation itself needed to be detailed — there is a lot of information in there — but also spare, with all the fat trimmed off, so as not to get in the way of the movement.

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Julie Rose has translated some of France's most highly prized writers, both classical and contemporary and is best known for her critically acclaimed translation of Victor Hugo's masterpiece, Les Misérables. Rose has always been an avid reader of crime fiction.

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The Greenland Breach by Julie Rose

The Greenland Breach
Bernard Besson; translated by Julie Rose
A Cli-Fi Spy Novel

The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the Unites States brace for a tidal wave. Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Larivière, his karate-trained, steamy Eurasian partner, Victoire, and their computer-genius sidekick, Luc, pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the heart of an international conspiracy. Off the coast of Greenland, a ship belonging to the French geological research firm Terre Noire is in serious trouble. The murder of an important scientist jeopardizes evacuation. Is it related to the firm's explorations? Is the rival Canadian-based scientific and economic development corporation, Northland Group, involved?

On land another killer is roaming the icy peaks after researchers, while a huge crevasse splits Greenland apart. What are the connections? In the glacial silence of the great north, a merciless war is being waged. Global warming and subsequent natural disasters hide international rivalries over discoveries that will change the future of humanity.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  iTunes iBook Format  Kobo eBook Format

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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