Re: RARA-AVIS: Derek Raymond Reissues

From: Karin Montin (
Date: 21 Apr 2006

I believe that Raymond wrote all his work in English, and so it's the French that's the translation.

As Etienne mentioned, Sick Transit is a pun impossible to keep in French. Titles are often one of the hardest things to translate. They can be hard to come up with, even in the original language. In translation, you have to aim for something catchy that will grab readers by suggesting something about the book's content; in the case of a play on words that doesn't translate in a straightforward way, you can sometimes substitute another one.

For instance, I've translated two books. They are about as far removed for this list's topic as you can get, but they're the only first-hand examples I have. Les grands d鳯rdres (Marie Cardinal) came out in English as Devotion and Disorder. The editor and I tossed around about fifty ideas before agreeing on that. Great Disorders just wouldn't work. Le temps de la diff鲥nce (Luce Irigaray) could be literally translated as The Time of the Difference, which is pretty meaningless. The publisher decided on Thinking the Difference--not my choice.

Getting back to noir, Piano barjo is at first glance a catchy, rhyming, slangy title. But after I read the book, I realized it was actually a kind of pun, as well. As Etienne explained earlier, barjo means crazy. One of the main characters plays piano in a bar. His name is Bart. And guess what? The bar owner's name is Jo. There's no way to keep all those layers in an English title. At least, I don't think so.


At 12:16 AM 21/04/2006 -0400, Mark Sullivan wrote:

>Boardy wrote:
>"[Serpent's Tail]'re also putting out Nightmare In The Street, which I
>presume is a collection of short stories."
>Actually, it's the 1988 novel that Raymond wrote in between the initial
>Factory trilogy and I Was Dora Suarez, previously published only in
>France, in French. The English translation of the first chapter, with
>the same title, was published in the first Fresh Blood anthology in
>1996. It's been a long wait for the full novel in English. Thanks for
>letting me know it's finally imminent.
>Here's hoping they also publish his other French-only novel, Le Soleil
>Qui S'Etient (which even my rudimentary French knows doesn't literally
>translate to Sick Transit, the English title I've seen attached to it).
>Then I'll have all of his post-Sabbatical novels.
>How are his pre-Sabbatical novels? I have several, but have only read
>Crust on Its Uppers.

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