Translating & Interpreting

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Speaking Memory

Speaking Memory

How Translation Shapes City Life
edited by Sherry Simon
also available: Hardcover eBook
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Writing between the Lines

Writing between the Lines

Portraits of Canadian Anglophone Translators
edited by Agnes Whitfield
also available: eBook Hardcover
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The Fate of Bonté III

The Fate of Bonté III

by Alain Poissant
translated by Rob Twiss
also available: Paperback
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Excerpt on Translation by Rob Twiss

A service for my son, Marquis, a service with singing, that’s what it will be, replied the Welder. No quavering. No crying. This is a man who knows exactly what death is worth, thought the priest, who got up and brought back the form.

What was the name, again?

The man looked away. The priest had to repeat himself.


The church had set three rates, the priest explained. The Welder said that what he liked in church was the singing. He wanted singing, lots of it. The whole choir, in the nave and in the loft.

They set a date. Marquis’s funeral would be held on Saturday at two o’clock in the afternoon. There would be twenty minutes of singing from the Introit to the Libera me.

The priest set down his pen and adopted the focused air of a confessor. The time had come to exercise his ministry, which consisted in reviving souls and presenting them to the Lord, the good and the sinful. Talk to me about Marquis, tell me what kind of Christian he was, so that I can write his eulogy.

Burnt faces lose a great deal of their natural ability to be expressive. They appear sculpted by nefarious hands. The cheeks are grafted onto the jaws. The glands atrophy so that the dry air irritates the eyes, which close in pain. The eyebrows disappear. The lips stay tightly clenched around the teeth. The words that come out of such a face are malformed and are seen as much as they are heard.

The Welder turned towards the door as if he were leaving. He stood up as if he were leaving. He nodded his head as if he were leaving. Then he sat back down, devastated.

What do you want me to say? He’s dead. He could have died a lot older than he did. He could have died a lot younger, too. You don’t get to decide. And if you do decide, people say you couldn’t handle it. What kind of a man was he? A man like any other. A man like me. A man like you.

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