Sunday, March 21, 2004


Last week, the New York Times Magazine ran Michael Ignatieff's thoughtful essay on the year that has passed since the war first began. Not surprisingly, NYTM's copy editors entitled it, "The Year of Living Dangerously" (after the 1982 Peter Weir movie).

This week it appears in translation in Le Monde. The title? "How I changed my mind on Iraq."

Oh, really? Igantieff changed his mind? Where do they get that? To me at least, it looked as though he explicitly denied this in the third fucking paragraph:
A year later, Iraq is no longer a pretext or an abstraction. It is a place where Americans are dying and Iraqis, too, in ever greater numbers. What makes these deaths especially haunting is that no one can honestly say -- at least not yet -- whether they will be redeemed by the emergence of a free Iraq or squandered by a descent into civil war.
Oh... wait a minute. I see. Ignatieff talks about having "second thoughts." Their translator Florence Lévy-Paoloni did not render this as doutes but as "changing my mind." Rather presumptuous of her, no? For the example sentence "I'm having second thoughts (about it)," my own dictionary gives "Je commence à avoir des doutes (là-dessus)," (I'm starting to have doubts (about it)).

Who is Florence-Lévy-Paoloni? A highly active English-to-French translator it seems. She's also been available for the publications of other illustrious commentators such as Robert Fisk, Scott Ritter (twice!), Robin Cook, Gore Vidal (despite the spelling error, it's her), Engels and Amos Oz (at least when he spoke out against the war).

What an interesting collection of people! I wonder if she shares their views on the Iraq war? Might she have been tempted to translate Ignatieff's words tendentiously because of this?

Man, they are getting a letter from me!

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