In recent years theories about translation have proliferated. Yet surprisingly little has been written about what it actually feels like to be a translator: to spend one's days devoted to the words of another. Bernard Turle's Diplomat, Actor, Translator, Spy seeks to address certain prevailing translation theories, but above all to give a sense of the true task of the translator a daily grind that is anything but abstract. Through twenty-six alphabetically organized recollections, anecdotes, fantasies, and dreams, he vividly conveys what it is that drew him to becoming a translator, evoking the delights as well as the frustrations of his chosen profession.
The original French text is included in an insert.
Bernard Turle’s list of over one hundred translations is resolutely hterogenous, including as it does works of art history (by Harold Acton, Bernard Berenson, Rudolf Wittkower), British essays, biographies, novels (by Lytton Strachey, Cyril Connolly, Anthony Burgess, Barbara Pym, Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, Alan Hollinghurst), and works from around the globe, particularly in recent years from India and Pakistan (V. S. Naipaul, Sudhir Kakar, Siddharth D. Shanghvi, Mohammed Hanif). From among American authors he has translated W. M. Spackman, John Edgar Wideman, and T. C. Boyle; from South Africa he has translated Andre Brink, from Australia Helen Garner, and from New Zealand Christine Leunens. He has won the Prix Coindreau and the Prix Baudelaire for translation. He has written several librettos for musicals, including Sorbet! Sorbet!, Variations provençales, and La Randonnée dérandonnée, and he is the author of Bombay Mix, Mumbai Max as well as of Une heure avant l’attentat.
Alphabet Bulimia Competition Contradiction Diplomat Espionage French Gender and Personal Pronouns Hindi Imitation Juggling Kaleidoscope Line of Beauty Metaphor Nonsense Orient and Occident Physical, All Too Physical Quiberon Repetition Refuge Savant or Not Time Une Chaise, a Chair Voice Where, When, Why? X Y (Generation) Z for Zorro
Afterword on the translation and images Dann Gunn Colophon