Matters and Hatters

Jost Zetzsche, aka @jeromobot, has just published a book, without a co-author this time, entitled Translation Matters, available on Amazon. My TwitFeed told me this last night, which necessitated my putting the record straight immediately:

I had to do this more to keep my name clean than anything else. TranslatorLand is such a big place that although I have read quite a few articles over the years in the Translation Journal and the Tool Box Journal, I have never rubbed shoulders with the author, yet I have sent him two tweets in the space of six hours, and have learned in the meantime that we were born in the same year.  I read Jost Zetzsche’s articles because he writes well. I do not say that too often.

Apart from one presentation in June, given in Portuguese, not much that I have written on translation matters has made it to my blog in 2017.  The feverish compulsion to do so was lacking. That may well change soon.

I am happy to report that the day before last I spent in bed nursing the ‘flu. Yes, the ‘flu, and not a cold. Yesterday, I was mainly just feverish and managed to finish off a little translation for a friend, but did not catch the obvious error in “moveable and immovable property”. I shall let her fever-proof that version before issuing another, which I am stubbornly only giving her as a PDF because the formatting in Word is complex, and if she fiddles with it, she is bound to mess it up.

Having put myself on light duties meant that I could spend more time than is conceivably healthy confirming that I was right: the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne did not have any children, possibly because they were only ever engaged, and then only for three years. She stayed in mourning for him for six years after he coughed up his final tuberculotic cup of blood, and married someone else twelve years after his death, after which she had three children.  John Keat’s younger brother George, who married someone with the complementary name of Georgiana and went to America, had eight children (of which one was called John Henry). My source did not tell me what happened to the male children, although, apparently, the descendants of four of the female children number as many as 500. Do not ask me why this deserves a mention.  I thought it odd too.

I discovered from Joanna Richardson, one of Fanny Brawne’s biographers that two years after John Keats died, Fanny began learning Italian, and “and translating short stories from the German, eventually publishing them in various magazines.”  Ah, a dabbler! I tell you all this because the other night I was reading Keats’s poetry for the first time in a while and laughed out loud. It was a poem I used to love which, suddenly, I have no patience for. I duly reported this on Facebook, and a friend who lives in Zambia said that the people on the farm next door to theirs are descended from John Keats.  A good story, I suppose. Their ancestor might be the John Henry fellow. Perhaps via bush telegraph I shall get specifics in due course.

All this, and more, I read in my feverish state last night.  I awoke at three in the morning. My head was filled with translation-related thoughts, bits of what I have said and other people have said in recent weeks, what I have written and what other people wrote months and years ago, all swirling about persistently in multilingual confusion as I awoke. Finally! At last! Things are back to normal.  Seriously, that’s what I had always regarded as normal, until my beloved died nine months ago. At least it is coming back now, and I can get back to curbing my tendency to ramble on.

©2017 Allison Wright


5 thoughts on “Matters and Hatters

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    1. No. Perhaps I did not write that part very clearly. What I meant was now that thoughts are swirling around in my head again, I can get back to rambling on in my usual fashion – and *curbing my tendency to ramble on*, i.e. cutting out as much guff as possible before publishing the blog. Or, briefer still: Yay, I can write again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Although I know that German is Jost’s mother tongue, my compliment is based solely on the impression of his writing I have had for years. Indeed, he writes better in English than many an English native in my view.


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