Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coming together.

It seems to be at a bit of a standstill. I'm not doing any actual work on the novel right now. I have a date with a friend, the fabulous Anouck Vigneault, to hash out some French-language expressions that I'm not sure about, and then I'll be sending out some copies to friends and relatives, asking them to be on editing duty, looking for... well, for badness. Poor wording, I guess, and incomprehensible passages and bad writing. I'm going to try and make it clear that there's only so much I can do, being only a translator. Even after staring at it for several months, I still find the text pretty lovely. However, that's not to say that everyone will.

On to the problem of the day:

Devanture. As in "Le restaurant du Vietnamien a une devanture tapisée d'affiches de cinéma."
A few examples (I couldn't find any examples that actually had movie posters...):

So does devanture mean that the actual windows of the restaurant are covered? That seems odd, I associate papered-over windows with a location that is either for rent and looking for a commercial tenant, or else just leased but not yet open, being prepared for a grand opening. Not with a restaurant that is open for business. Although this place in the novel is a rather shady operation, run by a drug dealer and with a clandestine poker table in the back, so maybe...?

Liam est peintre à temps perdu.
I know that "à temps perdu" is a French cultural thing, but I don't know what it means.
An example of its use: This photo is a still from Sergio Leone's film Once Upon a Time in America, described by British paper the Independent as "A Temps Perdue of the Jewish American underworld."

So. Peintre à temps perdu. A painter from a forgotten age?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quebecois soap operas?

I know that I'm not really up to snuff when it comes to Quebecois cultural references. I know some rad pop culture stuff... there's Têtes à claques...
Here's an English-language version here. (Who knew that there was English Têtes à Claques? The internet has everything!) And everyone tells me that I should check out Arianne Moffatt because "she'd be right up my alley", whatever that means. But generally, when someone is talking about Quebec public figures, I'm like "uh... who?" And that's why, when I came across this part, I didn't really know what to think.

Je crois maintenant que nous n'avons que les débuts sur lesquels compter. Quelque cinq ans au plus avant que je me fixe devant la télé pour écouter religieusement les téléromans du Bas-du-Fleuve sans décors extérieurs, feignant de ne pas l'entendre m'adresser la parole. 

Loosely:  I now believe that the only things we can count on are beginnings. So there's maybe five more years maximum before I find myself sitting in front of the TV watching Bas-du-fleuve soaps with no outside shots and pretending not to hear when he talks to me.

So now I'm sort of learning about a whole new form of entertainment, the Quebecois soap. Of course there are Quebec soap operas! Why didn't I know about this before? But what does it mean "sans décors extérieurs"? Why specify that? Does it give a certain impression about the show that I'm not picking up on?