Translations from Occitan to English
I have been translating Occitan literature seriously since 2010, after gaining a Distinction and Dean’s Commendation for the MA in Translation at the University of Exeter. Having just published an English-PEN-funded translation of Bernat Manciet’s 1964 novella Lo gojat de novème (The November Boy), I am the editor and principal translator of Grains of Gold, a prize-winning anthology of 1000 years of Occitan literature (Francis Boutle Publishers, 2015) and translator of Aurélia Lassaque’s Solstice and Other Poems (2012).
My passion for Occitan dates to 1996 during a period of employment near Béziers. In 1999, in Barcelona, I began the long journey of discovering the language and its beautiful literature (modern and medieval). My M. Phil (Bristol, 2005) was a sociolinguistic and literary analysis of two nineteenth-century writers: Antoine Fabre d’Olivet and Victor Gelu. Subsequent research led me to the symbolic value of Dante for later Occitan literature, while my MA dissertation was an examination of early-nineteenth-century English translations of medieval troubadours. I have published various articles and chapters on Occitan-related matters, including Dante, pseudo-translation, literary reception and wine.
Extract of Translation of Bernat Manciet’s Lo gojat de novème (The November Boy)
There was one youth, however – we’ve forgotten his name, or perhaps never knew it – and every year that the good Lord sent, he would stay with us for a few days. He arrived by bus, at night, setting off again during the week, on foot, along the road to Arengosse. I believe our cousin Hazà, the doctor, had brought him one evening to the Barralh, I don’t know when – our house the Barralh, which is now sold due to the inheritance. This boy was tall and pale, with sunken eyes deep inside their sockets. He wore a raglan coat and a lavallière knot or ascot tie. I only ever knew him wear the one. What’s more, he spoke only French and was one of those blonds that you rarely saw here back then, except perhaps Lafitòi and me, and a few girls. He barely looked at me, ever.
Upon arrival he took off his grey buckskin gloves, apologized for coming so late, paid my mother numerous compliments and then stood with his back against the chimney, not saying a word. Because of him we all had to speak in French, so the dinner was pretty silent and our old cousin who lived at the Barralh smiled more daintily and modestly than usual, by the light of the candlesticks she always kept nearby. There were a few more airs and graces between us and as soon as she nodded her head we understood that the meal was over.
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