Novelist and translators discuss/Autorin-Übersetzer-Gespräch in Straelen

The novelist (also lawyer, and daughter of a translator) Juli Zeh has been having a discussion with her translators at the Europäisches Übersetzer-Kollegium in Straelen. One can’t be sure whether the press got it right, but the Rheinische Post reports:

1. Chinese has no word for gesunder Menschenverstand (common sense). (One has one’s doubts):

“Man macht sich beim Schreiben keine Vorstellung davon, dass der Begriff des gesunden Menschenverstandes in anderen Sprachen nicht existiert”, sagt Juli Zeh. “Menschen können nur das denken, wofür es auch ein Wort gibt. Es fehlt nicht nur das Wort, es fehlt die ganze Idee dazu. Welt wird erst durch Sprache definiert.”

2. There are several terms for gesunder Menschenverstand in English. Juli Zeh prefers The Healthy Mind.

Doch die Auswahl an Übersetzungen für den Zeitungstitel “Gesunder Menschenverstand” ist groß: The Common Sense, The Healthy Mind oder Logic Dictates. “Mir gefällt The Healthy Mind” sagt Zeh. “Das passt zu meiner Idee.”

The healthy mind? Mens sana in corpore sano?

3. The novel (it was a play originally, I think) is called Corpus Delicti. The many legal terms are particularly hard to translate into other languages, so rponline quotes the Belgian translator Hilde Keteleer. She translates for Belgium and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands there are no Schöffen (lay judges). So she takes the Belgian term Hof van assisen and the Dutch will have to put up with it.

(Wikipedia says this Court of Assize consists of three judges with a jury of twelve, but that’s just by the way).


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