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Source text - French L'œil était dans l'espace et nous regardait tous. Vents, frimas, givre, manteau neigeux : rien
ne peut arrêter son regard perçant, regard d'aigle spatial, de monstre électronique. Il rôde
quand nous dormons. Nous travaillons? Il tourne. Nous nous déplaçons? Il voit nos allées et
venues. Travailleurs des champs, il vous observe. Cortèges de mécontents sur le pavé des
villes, cortèges de vacanciers sur les routes des Alpes, sorties de messes, files d'attente devant
les cinémas ou l'Agence pour l'emploi, boulistes, pêcheurs de truites, amoureux enlacés dans
les coins sombres : il voit tout. Il note tout, il enregistre tout et transmet sur la terre les
images que la terre lui envoie sans le savoir.
Il s'appelle Spot, ce surveillant perpétuel. Satellite lancé par la France, on lui a confié la
mission de fouiller la surface du monde et de la transmettre, via son œil géant et globuleux
qu'aucune paupière ne vient jamais fermer. Chacun de s'émerveiller sur cette merveille de
précision qui, de très haut, voit les plus petits détails de nos paysages…
Économiquement, géologiquement, géographiquement, la légitimité de Spot ne fait pas de
doute. Il n'empêche il y a dans cette ronde de vigile satellisé une redoutable précision, une
(Le Monde, 2 mars 1986 Bruno Frappat)
Translation - English Beneath the eye of the Cyclops
The eye was in space and was watching us alli. Wind, sleet, frost, a blanket of snowii - nothing can stop the electronic monster's piercing gaze, the cosmic eagle's beady eyeiii. He prowls around us while we sleep. While we workiv, he is orbiting. When we move from place to place -hev sees our coming and going. Workers in the fields - he is watching you. Demonstrators marching through city streetsvi, caravans of holiday-makers on Alpine roads, lines of the Faithful filing out from Massvii, queues at the cinema or Job Centre,
trout-fishermenviii, players of boulesix, lovers intertwined in dark corners, he sees you all. He notes it all. He records these pictures which the Earth unknowingly sends him and transmits them back to Earth again.
This permanent overseer is called Spot. This satellite, launched by France, has been entrusted with a mission - to scour the Earth's surface and transmit the informationx received via his giant protruding and unsleeping eye. We can only marvelxi at this wonder of precision which from high above sees the tiniest details of our landscapes.
From an economic, geological or geographical point of view, the legitimacy of Spot's existence is not in question. Nevertheless, the vigil of this orbiting sentinel is frightening in its accuracy, as effective as an inquisition.
(Le Monde, 2 March 1986 Bruno Frappat)
i At a number of points in the text, the SL author uses language which mimics Biblical verses relating to omnipotence. At these points the translator has several options:
* to use traditional Biblical language to directly mimic this effect
* to maintain the style of the Biblical reference whilst using more general and modern language.
I have chosen the second option, in order that the allusions remain for those TL readers familiar with them, however the style is consistent and an equivalent effect produced for TL readers unfamiliar with the allusion. At other points similar allusions are made to Homeric language. Same strategy used here and throughout text.
ii SL metaphor transferred into TL equivalent.
iii Amplification of metaphor to maintain cohesive style.
iv Where SL uses questions here, TL would more naturally use a statement of fact.
v SL third-person referent can be translated in two ways into TL. The translator has two options:
* to use the impersonal third-person 'it', since the satellite is an inanimate object.
* to use the personal third-person 'he'.
I have chosen the latter - since the satellite is personified throughout, this is appropriate in the context and style of the text.
vi SL phrase 'pavé' has particular connotations which are lost in TL. This is compensated by substituting the active for the passive voice at the commencement of the sentence in order to create a more forceful effect.
vii Extremely concise SL style requires amplification in TL. Same strategy used here and elsewhere in text.
viii Order of phrases changed to transfer SL rhythm more effectively to TL.
ix SL term retained as the TL reader can be expected to understand this. Retaining this term also provides valuable French context.
x Whilst SL can use 'Earth' as an object, in TL an alternative object must be provided.
xi SL author uses the same word twice in close succession. The translator has the choice either to mirror this usage or to provide a synonym for one usage of the word. I have chosen the second option as it is more consistent with good TL style.
Other - Institute of Linguists
Years of translation experience: 19. Registered at ProZ.com: Jun 2003.
I am a qualified freelance translator working from French into English and Esperanto and English to and from Esperanto. I translate in all general areas. Additionally, my specialist areas are literature, travel & tourism, policy/strategy, religion, beekeeping and humanities.
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Mi estas diplomita tradukistino kaj tradukas el la franca en la anglan kaj Esperanton kajinter la angla kaj Esperanto.