This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Jean Sibelius, the great Finnish symphonist, an anniversary in which I participated in two different ways. Firstly and modestly by attending a concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen play the 4th and 7th symphonies of the great man. Secondly by completing the translation of a huge and remarkable biography of Jean Sibelius by Marc Vignal, written in French and published in France by Fayard.
Now coming back to this specific page, which was prompted by Joseph Hayes of Inked-In when he mentionned to me he would be interested in seeing a blog posted on writing English in a non-English speaking city: I live in
It may surprise readers to know that most French people speak English to some degree and some very well. However, it’s rare that they use it and often only when forced to. This is for complex reasons, but essentially it’s all a question of culture, by that I mean the almost inbuilt culture acquired from our parents that conditions the functioning of each of our individual and collective minds.
After living in
So let’s get back to writing English in
So what am I doing in the middle of all that? That’s a good question. As you can see from the forgoing there is a big demand for translations. So that is where one of my few talents are employed – the most recent example of my work is the translation of a biography of Jean Sibelius written by Marc Vignal and published by Fayard. This work is 1,176 pages long and quite technical since it not only deals with the life of the composer, the history of the Nordic region of
Just one point concerning translation work: this is fairly poorly paid in France, there is a plethora of expats and students willing to work for almost nothing, so I wouldn’t encourage anyone to jump on a plane in the hope they could survive on nothing in The City of Light (the title of a book I have been writing for too long now). The days of George Orwell (Down and Out in