September 30th is International Translation Day. What better time to share a few excerpts of my favourite francophone texts that I have translated over the years? These particular snippets were ones I used in my literary translation courses, each presenting numerous types of challenges to the translator.
The first is from a short story by Haitian writer René Depestre who writes about the stunningly beautiful Isabelle Ramonet, or Tata Zaza, whose beauty is not lost on her nephew.
Aunty Zaza, the Carnival Queen
She had only just turned thirteen when the folks in Jacmel started talking about her beauty. Three years later some people from Port-au-Prince came and took her away to make her a Carnival Queen. During the parade, men and women from the capital gave themselves over to wild and frenzied admiration of the queen. Isabelle Ramonet’s entire being was a spectacle. It said to people: take a…
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