Over time, blogs, like humans, develop. This one began as a place to practise writing generally, a place where my words would have to be correct and interesting, where I would have to try harder than I do on a scribble pad. That was my reason for beginning.
Within a very short time I saw a second purpose for the blog: as a potential gallery where I could exhibit photos of Egypt that had been packed away for seventy years in my father’s World War Two album. I’d already had the photos scanned (in case of loss), but it was a bonus that they were now ideal for posting to a blog. They form a collection of his own shots combined with others obtained by swapping with fellow soldiers. There is now no way I can find out who the other photographers were, my father having died 33 years ago, so unfortunately I can’t acknowledge anyone, except, I suppose, him, for having carried them back from the Middle East. He didn’t always caption a photo, but this is not a great problem thanks to the wonder of the Internet, where I’ve been able to find similar images and read surprising historical facts and anecdotes about some of the places depicted. I’ll share what I learn, and post some poetry and drawings from his sketchbooks and notebooks which sometimes give a more accurate impression of the sadness of war and separation.
My blog grew its third leg when I had small successes in literary translation, and I needed and wanted to tell the world about them. This was the ideal soapbox to stand on. So my little blog now has a three-fold reason to exist. The books I translate look like this: One of them, George Sand’s Spiridion, was published by SUNY Press in 2015. Read about it on the publisher’s website here where you can also purchase it in a hardback copy, paperback or e-book. Read three quite long reviews of it on Amazon. Here’s a sample from one review:
“I feel that someone needs to point out what an important publishing event this English translation of George Sand’s Spiridion (1839) constitutes. According to translator Patricia J. Worth, the only previous English copy of the novel was a very old and virtually unobtainable edition. Her rendering of Sand’s “Gothic philosophical novel,’ as she describes it, into clear and flowing modern prose is thus a gift for anyone willing and able to take advantage of it. Although not an easy read, and presumably only for those deeply interested in matters of spirituality and human psychology, the work, set completely in a Catholic monastery (and thus portraying absolutely no women characters), offers great challenges and rewards for believers and non-believers alike (a needful disclaimer—I am an agnostic who nevertheless has often found inspiration in the sacred texts and great teachers of all faiths).”
Read a few more reviews on Goodreads, and on Francine Maessen’s blog, all available for free online. Another excellent review is available in the French Australian Review no. 63, but not for free.
Apart from Spiridion, several of my translated stories have made it into literary magazines. To see a list with links, click on ‘Translated Short Stories’ in the menu at the top of this web page.
About my translating life
Two cities have led me to the enormously pleasurable pastime of translating French literature: Brisbane – where I was born in the 1950s and where I spent the first 37 years of my life – and Canberra where I now live.
In the first days of high school I had to choose between German and French, the study of a foreign language being compulsory then (it isn’t now). My father was an unhealthy war veteran, and his father was an unhealthy war veteran. Two world wars in which it was us against the Germans. My family had suffered long because of it all. I chose French.
First came the influence, then came the love. Absolute infatuation. The sounds, the lightness, the form the mouth takes with each word, the music, the history, the stories. At Queensland University I chose French again, but my studies were cut short by child-bearing. Years passed and I moved to Canberra where I started again, this time at the Australian National University. I was shunted into the Art history degree but have never regretted it since a compulsory element was the study of a European language. I chose French. Again. Still in love after all those years. In the undergraduate degree I had a taste of translation, a paragraph here and there. But it was the Masters degree that allowed me to indulge my love of French, of France, of literature.
It’s a unique source of joy to translate a great story into my mother tongue, to share it with readers who never knew it existed. My particular affinity is with 19th-century literature, perhaps as a result of the first adult novel I ever read, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Since then I’ve read a mass of Victorian novels and short stories, including translations. Today I still lean towards them.
But for the Masters degree I was nudged in the direction of reading and translating New Caledonian literature, and I didn’t resist. The Australian state of Queensland and the French territory of New Caledonia are geographically and historically close, divided by a language and a couple of hours of Pacific Ocean. Climate, topography, colonisation by white Europeans and its effects on indigenous populations: all of this is depicted by New Caledonian writers. It was familiar to me, and all I had to do was translate it into English. Claudine Jacques is one of my favourites. I’m enjoying introducing her writing to the world and thereby introducing this small Pacific territory to readers.
Now I translate a little every day and I tutor a little every day, helping migrants to get their mouths around English. In my spare time I research my family’s history, which to my delight allows me to delve into the lives of 19th-century migrants.
I’ve considered making this one blog into two, one for literary translation, one for my father’s World War Two photos. But I can see the connection: I wouldn’t be doing this if he hadn’t done that. And so they’ll stay together.
And before I go, I’ll explain the blog title, Sounds like wish. It’s a phrase I say to speakers of non-Latin-based languages, migrants I tutor in English, who are confused when I say or write my name, Patricia. I shorten it to one syllable, Trish, and say ‘sounds like wish’.
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65 Replies to “About”
Great, I love French! Are you interested in French cinema too?
While I’m better with a book and don’t often watch films of any kind, I do have a few favourite French films which I watch just to hear the language. ‘Rouge’ is one I’ve watched several times. I also love the story in this film.
I’ve only seen one French language film, Amelie, and I loved every minute of it!
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me such a beautiful comment… Your photos are stunning, the black and white ones especially blow my mind! Breathtaking!
Thank you Sophie for all your comments. I’ve loved the photos in my father’s album since I was a child, and I’m tickled by this blogging way of showing them to others. And it’s a better way than looking at the album, because most of the photos are very small, 3 x 2 inches, but enlarged on screen we see all the detail and can better understand the story.
Now about your photos: I am stunned by their beauty. My favourites this morning were on Every. Drop. Counts. Such great work, Sophie!
Thank you for your letter!
I love your pics of the unusual things!
I´ll write back soon!
What a surprise! Thanks, Desiree, for reading my blog. I hope I’ve inspired you to write one, too!!
I didn´t know that it was your birthday last week! You could´ve told me;-)
I sent you a letter back already on Friday.
Hi Desiree, Thanks for looking at my blog again! I’m really impressed.
I don’t think about my birthdays before the day, only afterwards, and only if it was good. I’ve had too many birthdays… I had some pretty good photos that I took on the birthday weekend, so I thought I’d explain it when I put the photos in the blog posts.
Thanks for writing to me – I’m looking forward to getting your letter.
just wanted to stop by and say hello. this is such a great ‘about’ page.
thank you for visiting in my corner of the blogosphere. much appreciated.
Thanks for your kind words. I searched your blog to remind myself of what I had ‘liked’ and then I saw that amazing photo of the snowy road. It was so pretty and yet I’m glad I’m not on that road. I like your writing, too.
Hi Trish. Your ‘about’ page encourages me to do something about mine… Like you, I have a name which got shortened over time. With many of the French having slight pronunciation “issues” with certain English words, my name got reduced to a number, “8”, like in “six, sept, huit.” With the arrival of the digital age, I grew into it. Thank you for your kind comments. I sometimes tack away from pressure, so when I get things stowed aboard, I’ll be back.
Yes, I can understand the French pronouncing Whitt like huit because they pronounce Trish like triche. Cheat… So when I’m with the French, they and I prefer Patricia. They claim it’s a French name, which helps to close the cultural gap a little.
You’ve got me chuckling; I’ll have to follow you. Fun seeing the world through a foreign culture, isn’t it? Do tell us about your experiences in New Caledonia, unless you agree with the French saying ” live happily, live quietly” (more or less). There are times when I know I should keep my trap shut.
New Caledonia is a beautiful Pacific island with all the ingredients for a relaxing holiday, which I had the first time I went there. The second time I went, I was with a student group so we learnt about the politics (!) and the division between the Kanaks and the French. We went to the north of the island, inhabited mainly by Kanaks. Few French tourists venture up there; same for most of the permanent southern residents. N-C has a unique situation in the English-speaking Pacific, making the French a sort of outsider. I speak French so I communicated with some authors from New Caledonia and Tahiti when I was studying translation and have had a N-C short story published. The Kanaks want to be independent of France and that affects everyone’s mood. But it’s certainly beautiful, even mysterious in a tropical way.
Trish, PJ is called Patricia in France as well, because our friends there just can’t get PJ as initials.
This reply never appeared on my comments page; I feel terrible about not replying before. That’s wonderful you’ve been twice. Being politically related, we in Tahiti have always kept an eye on New Caledonia, but I’ve never had the chance to visit. There are reports on the state radio about all the French overseas territories and departments, but I often miss them. In the annual Pacific Film festival here, there are shorts and features on N-C, so I know a little,but it’s not like being there. Sorry again for the mix-up, and a double thank you for your comment.
Tell PJ that she’s a fantastic photographer. Though we have the same name, we don’t have the same photography skills.
Cool, thanks for replying. Sometimes WordPress goes a bit haywire – I had a week when new posts stopped arriving by email, then they mysteriously began again.
I know about a couple of Tahitian authors. I studied a novel once: “L’île des rêves écrasés” by Chantal Spitz. It was a real eye-opener about nuclear testing and also vahinés. She violently resists the notion of the vahiné. I communicated with her by email and found her very pleasant. I’ve also done a translation workshop with Moetai Brotherson on his novel “Le roi absent”. He’s a big quiet guy, but perhaps that’s because he’s Tahitian. In the front of my novel he wrote: À Patricia, parfois les mots d’une langue s’envolent si loin qu’ils traversent les océans. Sigh.
I’ll tell her, Trish. Thanks.
Hi Patricia. I’m being cheated, “trisher.” – Your comments keep getting hidden somewhere on or off my screen, so I’m glad to rediscover you. Ah, I’m glad you’re reading up on Polynesia; probably means you’ll sail in someday.Yes, times are changing, alas, and yes, Chantal does devote a lot of energy into breaking down myths; I see her about now and then, but haven’t been presented… Fascinating about the translation workshop — I’ve done some simple stuff over time, but getting the idioms right is a real mental chore. Congratulations on doing something stimulating and valuable to all of us. Keep in touch.
Thanks for the like and comment on my Collections post- Silver Coins for Uri.
Love how you teach your name and will check out your blog too.
Trisha, thank you for visiting my blog! Three babies in one year was a lot, but every mother with three boys, no matter their ages, are special! Sounds like you are through the hard part with their ages being in their twenties. So nice to meet you. And what a fascinating job! Look forward to more.
And thanks for reading my blog posts, too. I’m always really pleased when someone reads an old post that I’ve all but forgotten, including this ‘About’ page.
I was looking at your avatar image, it is a very lovely photo!
What a nice thing to say! An 8 year-old girl took the photo. In fact, I have a drawing of her on my blog – Amelie is her name.
I have seen it, it’s lovely!
Just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I hope this will be welcome news for you. If you prefer not to accept the award, I certainly understand, but I hope you will visit the other nominees, and they will visit you, just the same. To see more about the award and accepting this nomination, please visit my post at http://wp.me/p2ekZU-E4. All the best!
I just found, in my spam folder, a nomination for the Beautiful Blogger Award by The Retiring Sort (http://theretiringsort.com/2012/09/28/taking-care-of-business-some-thank-you-notes/). In response, seven random things about myself:
I fail at feminism.
I succeed at handwriting.
I don’t like to talk.
I like to listen.
I hate it when my sons are hurting.
I want to go to France. Again.
I want my translated work to be published.
Forgive me for not nominating others. But I thank you very much for liking my blog.
Hey Trish! Am a fan of your “About” page! what a sweet way to talk about yourself!
and you know what… there’s a book I just L-O-V-E reading over and over again in French and can’t seem to find it either in english or in spanish. I know you don’t do spanish… and it seems that the book was once translated but is now unavailable in print, for a reason unknown to me : it’s SUCH a great book.
Have you read “La Nuit des Temps” de René Barjavel? That’s the one.
Sometimes, I think about giving it a go into english but since it’s my second language, I know I shouldn’t… If you ever give it a go yourself, can we do something together?
Tell me what you think!
oh… and I truly enjoy your pictures too!
Hi Jul’, I love your suggestion about translating ‘La Nuit des temps’ but I’ve just found it available on Amazon as ‘The Ice People’. It’s still in print. Mais n’hésitez pas à me suggérer d’autres titres que vous aimez.
Is it really? because I once ordered it on Amazon and it never was delivered… and said afterwards that it was not in print… I’ll have to check again!
I’ll have another idea! 😉
You might be right; after checking again, I see Amazon has only 3 copies that are ‘new’, but they are very expensive, which is suspicious. They might be copies that have been on shelves for years. That is, since it was last in print. I’m interested in reading it to see if it would be difficult to translate.
I read some of the 45 comments on Amazon and noticed that many people wish it was available in English. Others recommended they look for a used copy. So, perhaps your idea is a good one. I’ll see if I can get a library copy from somewhere.
do you live in Mexico? I could lend you mine! 😉 If you have any trouble finding it in french, tell me, I could have someone to send it to you directly from France!
I live in Australia. I’ve just searched all Australian libraries and have found copies in French and English. And there seem to be a large number of used copies available on the internet for just a few dollars. So I’ll be able to find one somehow, though it will take a few weeks because there are none in Canberra, apparently.
Libraries have english copies! I’m stupid not to have thought about searching in libraries! But, when you want to give a gift… anyway, I’ll be happy if you keep me posted on that subject and definitely more so if you end up translating it again ’cause I’ll be one of the first buyer of your edition! 😀
I’ll let you know when I’ve read it. There’s a ‘Contact me’ form on this blog where you could send me further messages by email. It’s a great idea which we might be able to work on together.
all right, then!
Trish, there are some beautiful French books in open library and many are out of copyright. http://openlibrary.org/ I have been looking at the Fairy Stories but there are many topics.
Thanks very much for this suggestion. I’ve just looked at the site and it seems a great place to find untranslated works.
Just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I hope this will be welcome news for you. Some people choose not to participate, others enjoy the opportunity to visit new-to-you blogs and to be visited by new-to-you bloggers. To see more about the award and accepting this nomination, please visit my post at http://sharechair.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/brief-intermission-to-share-a-bit-of-blog-love/
Thanks very much for the nomination. I’m very grateful. I recently wrote 7 random things about myself in response to another award, so I’d like to pass this time. But I’m so glad you enjoy reading my posts and looking at my old photos.
I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award”.
If you wish to accept the award, and display the badge, please visit:
Hi Allison, thanks very much for nominating my blog. I’m so pleased you enjoy looking at it. However, I’ve previously listed 7 things about myself in response to another nomination and would not like to talk about myself any more. I’m very grateful, though.
I understand – it really is the worst part of the whole thing!
Julie, I finished reading ‘La Nuit des Temps’ and liked it. I discussed a possible new translation with another literary translator, but he believes the publisher would want to resurrect the existing translation if there’s enough demand, rather than pay for a new one. But thanks for the recommendation. I’ll leave it with you.
I’m happy you liked it! too bad then than our english-speaking friends can’t read it if they can’t find an old version. Thanks for checking back with me!
Hope we can share other books recommendations.
My father was in the Middle East during WW2.
No photos and very few stories. It was an experience he tried [unsuccessfully] to forget.
I get what you’re saying. My father never forgot, and it made him miserable until his final breath. Actually, miserable is too kind a word.
Love the image you have as your banner for your blog. Reminds me of Italy. 🙂
Thanks. I love it too. It’s a colourful narrow street in Collioure, France. I took that photo six years ago, but I was in that street again just last week.
Hi Trish! I’m passing on the Liebster Award to you. I’ve really enjoyed your blog, I hope you can enjoy the award as well. You can follow the guidelines here: http://thedavinciapprentice.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-liebster-award/ Have a nice day!
Thanks very much Sharynni for the award. I’m really grateful that you read my blog and like it. I see that there are conditions for accepting the award, but it’s not at all my thing to talk about myself. I did it once, some time ago for an earlier award, and will leave it at that. Thanks again.
hi trish, sounds like wish!
I have so enjoyed reading your blog. I found you through another site called “East of Malaga” in Spain .You are inspiring me to do something similar…I especially loved the “first liners” and your love of the French language!
Please keep inspiring me. Any advice greatly appreciated.
Thanks Marie. If you do something similar, please keep me posted! Do you have a blog?
Wish you wouldn’t keep turning down all those thoughtful awards, Trish. We enjoy those personal confessions! Some of the best parts in any book is learning about the creator, and this page is no exception. I join the others in looking forward to seeing your stories and hearing about your hard-copy publishing. Peace and happiness to you.
Salut Huit, Thanks for the compliment – your comment is my award. While I’m here I’d like to ask if you know of any good Tahitian short stories in French that have never been translated into English. You might remember I’ve read some of Chantel Crozet’s work, which I liked. If you ever think of any titles that English readers would relate to, and get something out of, please let me know. Trish
Hey, beautiful name of the blog, so poetic! I love it!
Thanks for the compliment!
Hi Trish, my name is Ron Bruce, I’m married to a Trish as well.
I came across your story via google (what else…)
I’m an active 78yo and live in Kuranda North Queensland.
My great grandfather, Robert Bruce arrived in Australia in 1855 with his wife Helen and 2 children.
He lived as a baker at Braidwood NSW and had 6 children with Helen and another 7 with Margaret.
Ive got 2 children, two more step children and 6 grandchildren.
One of my daughters is the famous equestrian, Georgia Bruce (google her)
I liked your website – are any of your ancestors from Braidwood NSW?
Hi Ron, I’m surprised to hear from a Ron Bruce, because, as you probably noticed on my blog, my father’s name was Ron Bruce. (His middle name was Ernest, after his father). I currently live in Canberra but grew up in Brisbane where most of my family still live. I know Braidwood well, but only to pass through on the way to the beach! My ancestors are almost all from Queensland, including the Bruces who went straight to Brisbane from Scotland. Thanks for liking my blog. Trish
So interesting to stumble upon your blog this morning. I started mine for different reasons as well, but it has taken on a life of its own, I guess that’s what blogs are for really. I just posted about my own father who was stationed in the Middle East as well during WW2 and was a photographer for the army newspaper Stars and Stripes. I think you will find his photos interesting and some familiar. I have also started a flickr album. Cheers.
Thanks for reading my posts, Julia. I had a look at some of the photos in your flickr album. It was good to see some of the sites from my own father’s album. A few years ago I took his album to a photography studio and asked them to scan every photo – they were easy to remove and reinsert, held down only by photo corners. It was a big job but I’m glad I did it. I’ve posted most of them on my blog, with the exception of sad ones of dead men. Good on you for grabbing your photos and scanning them when you realised these one-off images could be lost.
I have so many more that need to be scanned. Hundreds infact. I think the solution is to do what you have.