October 29, 2016
This time I decided to read Edward Smith Stanley’s (1799–1869) translation of Homer’s The Iliad. I chose his blank-verse version for the following reasons: it is coherent; faithful to the “simplicity of the great original;” easy to read by my contemporary young colleagues; and it is the work of an extinguished species of cultivated world leaders. The Earl of Derby served three times as British prime minister. 
Today’s readers should take into account this translator’s comment: “I have adopted, not with hesitation, the Latin, rather than the Greek, nomenclature of the Heathen Deities […].” 
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s, Edith Grossman’s, Lionel Giles’, D. P. Chase’s, William Ellis’, Benjamin Jowett’s and S. H. Butcher’s translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
 Cf. Edward Smith Stanley: “Preface”.
[Image: Homer: The Iliad (translated by Edward Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby, John Murray, London, 1865). Kindle Paperwhite Edition.]
October 22, 2016
Samuel Henry Butcher’s (1850–1910) translation of Aristotle’s Poetics is the work of a classical scholar. He was a professor of Greek who also translated Homer and Demosthenes.
He translated Poetics and included it in his work Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Art, with a Critical Text and Translation of the Poetics (MacMillan & Co., London, 1895).
Poetics was also “re-issued separately for the convenience of classical readers” by MacMillan in London in 1895 as The Poetics of Aristotle: Translated with a Critical Text.
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s, Edith Grossman’s, Lionel Giles’, D. P. Chase’s, William Ellis’ and Benjamin Jowett’s translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
[Image: Aristotle’s Poetics (originally translated by S[amuel] H[enry] Butcher, MacMillan & Co., London, 1895). Kindle Paperwhite Edition.
September 3, 2016
This time, I will post about Benjamin Jowett’s translation of Plato’s The Republic. Also the translator of Thucydides, he was not able to complete his work on The Republic, which he had started in 1856, but left it well advanced.
Maybe my younger colleagues — pressed by today’s hurries — will find his introduction too long (about half the Kindle edition), but part of our comparison of these early translations includes the way they were edited for nineteenth century academic purposes. We must keep in mind that Jowett was not only a translator, but also a scholar 
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s, Edith Grossman’s, Lionel Giles’, D. P. Chase’s and William Ellis’ translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
[Image: Plato: The Republic (translated by Benjamin Jowett, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1888). Kindle Paperwhite Edition.
August 13, 2016
I have continued with my classic reads. This time it was William Ellis’ (1730–1801) translation of Aristotle’s Politics.
Ellis’s finished his direct translation from the Greek in 1776, and it was published that same year by T. Payne, B. White and T. Cadell in London. I have read a later edition now available in an electronic version.
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s, Edith Grossman’s, Lionel Giles’ and D. P. Chase’s translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
[Image: Aristotle: Politics (translated by William Ellis, George Routledge & Sons, London, 1895). Kindle Paperwhite Edition.
July 9, 2016
After publishing my previous post, I have continued searching for — and reading —, early translations of old classics. I have called them “milestones” marking the route from handwritten to computer assisted translation.
This post is dedicated to Drummond Percy Chase’s (1820–1902) translation of Aristotle’s Ethics, originally published by Walter Scott Publishing Co., his best known translation. 
What do I find so interesting? Basically, I concentrate on the language of their time, terminology, and their personal style, and also on their great efforts to interpret the author’s thoughts correctly and to be accurate.
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s, Edith Grossman’s, and Lionel Giles’ translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
[Image: Aristotle: Ethics (translated by D. P. Chase, Walter Scott Publishing Co., London, 1890). Kindle Paperwhite Edition.
May 28, 2016
Every now and then, when I have time, I like to read some of those classic translators who have set milestones in our profession. That is the case of Lionel Giles (1875–1958).
I have recently read his translation of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (5th century BC),  and what impressed me most was the knowledge of his trades and the result of his work at a time when he had had no PC, no translation software, no Internet, but just a typewriter, a stack of paper, a few reference books, and a lot of skill.
Our professional resources have certainly changed since then and have been greatly improved. However, they are still not enough. Good craft still prevails.
By the way, Giles also translated The Analects of Confucius (1910), Tao Te Ching (1921), The Book of Mencius (1942), The Life of Ch’iu Chin (1913), and The Lexian Zhuan (1948).
 Sun Tzu: The Art of War (first annotated translation by Lionel Giles), Luzac & Co., London, 1910.
 For more about excellence in translation, you may find my posts about Paul Carus’, George Chapman’s, Gregory Rabassa’s and Edith Grossman’s translations into English in the ‘Literature’ section of this blog’s “Categories” menu.
[Image: Sun Tzu: The Art of War (fifth century BC, first annotated translation by Lionel Giles, Luzac & Co., London, 1910), Kindle Paperwhite edition.]
April 30, 2016
In April, we always check the results of the year’s first quarter. This time, we worked on travel guides, cookbooks, and business and sports books. However, one of my most rewarding subjects was translating into English the new entries—and proofreading them in the Spanish-English vocabulary—of the new edition of Diccionario Primaria Lengua Española Anaya Vox, an elementary school dictionary which I have worked before.
This volume includes—plus other aspects—more than 13,000 entries, more than 23,500 definitions, and a vocabulary with the translations into English of all the entries in Spanish.
It is a gratifying project destined for the education of Spanish-speaking school children.
[Image: Diccionario Primaria Lengua Española Anaya Vox, Larousse Editorial, 2016.]
February 20, 2016
Relations with clients are a frequent subject on this blog. It has to be that way because they are the foundations of the professional activity of freelance translators. Therefore, they deserve our attention. However, when they are not totally harmonious, they need to be treated more carefully.
Positive, fluid and particularly fair relations, present no difficulties. They simply follow their normal course.
What needs a certain degree of alertness is when there is an imbalance that proves to be extremely favorable to a client and might end up in an abusive situation against us. Then is the time to—and to take the chance to—say no.
We basically say no when clients, at the same time, pretend to pay low tariffs, demand extremely short final delivery dates for our finished work, present poor original texts, and frequently delay their payments.
[Image: Domenico Ghirlandaio: St Jerome in his Study, fresco, 184 × 119 cm (1480).
January 23, 2016
I think that posting about this kind of situations is a good experience to share with those younger colleagues who have recently started working on this profession. Because some prospective clients still do not have a clear understanding of the real value of a translation. Or maybe they do.
Last week, I answered a phone call from one of those possible clients. He asked if I could copyedit a text he had translated himself. Naturally, I refused in a most friendly way, just as other translators had done before, as he himself told me.
I have never known about this person’s qualifications to translate, but I guess they must be scarce when he thought it necessary to ask a professional translator to check his style. It is not clear to me either why he did not call a professional to translate his text in the first place.
However, what I do know is why translators refuse this kind of jobs. It is a question of both professional trade and price. Firstly, it has to do with our trade. If someone thinks he or she can translate, that is just fine. Deep down in their minds they guess they do not need a translator. What they think they really need is a copyeditor. Secondly, it has to do with prices. If someone translates his or her own text to save paying a higher price for a translation—and pay instead a much lower price to copyedit a text he or she is not sure of and turn it into a well done job—, translators know this and will not accept to depreciate their work.
[Image: Albert Durer: Der heilige Hieronymus im Gahäus / Saint Jerome (patron saint of translators and interpreters) in His Study, 1514, engraving.]
December 26, 2015
In 2015’s last post, I’m evaluating this year’s work. Just as I expected, subject diversification, more than specialization, is still the best formula to continue overcoming the economic crisis.
I’m including a list (in alphabetical order) of the subjects we have translated or edited this year: advice for amateur photographers, advice for travelers, botany and gardening, children’s literature, cooking and nutrition, cosmetics, essay, fitness, lecturing, management, novel, nursing, publishers’ catalogues, school dictionary, self-help, travel guide, and walks.
 Cf. “2014’s Translating and Editing Subjects,” December 27 2014.
[Image: Giovanni Bellini: St. Jerome (patron saint of translators and interpreters) Reading in the Countryside, 1505, oil on canvas.]