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Sample 3 : Structural Antropology by Claude Lévi-Straus

Important : Dans tous mes échantillons de traduction, j'ai d'abord copié une traduction déjà parue afin de comparer et contraster les multiples choix de traduction disponibles à un traducteur pour le même texte. J’ai mis le nom du traducteur (à moins qu'il/elle n'apparaisse pas dans le texte original) à la tète de leur traduction. A droite vous trouverez ma propre traduction avec, en tête, « Myself ». Si vous lisez les échantillons afin de faire une estimation, veuillez, s'il vous plaît, vous assurer que vous regardiez bien ma propre traduction pour l’estimation , et non pas celle de l'autre traducteur, citée pour comparaison. Il se peut que vous préfériez le travail de l'autre traducteur – au quel cas je ne voudrais pas qu'en me donnant votre commande vous fassiez erreur.

























Texts are in Times Roman font as they would be in print. (My comments are also in Times Roman for the sake of continuity).

Important note: In all my sample translations, I have first copied an existing translation by another translator in order to compare and contrast the different choices a translator can make for the same text. I have put the translator's name (when known) at the top of their translation. You will find this translation in the middle section (light blue background). In the right hand section is my own translation which is headed « Myself ». If you are looking at the samples with a view to evaluating my work, please make sure you are looking at my translation for the evaluation not that of the translation I have given for comparison. You may prefer the other translator's work – in which case I would not want you to make a mistake when commissioning work from myself.

En dessous de me ma propre traduction, vous trouverez sous « notes and comparisons » un décorticage, phrase par phrase des deux différentes traductions. Je vous rappele : la version originale, française, se trouve à gauche (fond jaune), la traduction « pour comparer » est au milieu (fond bleu)) et ma propre traduction se trouve à droite (fond gris). Avant de faire un jugement, je vous demande de bien vouloir prendre en compte ces trois choses : 1. Est-ce que ma traduction adhère fidèlement aux pensées exprimées par l'auteur français ? 2. Est-ce que ma traduction se lit comme une traduction ou plutôt comme un ouvrage nouveau, écrit par un auteur anglais de souche ? 3. Est-ce qu'il y a une lecture rapide et facile de la signification ? Les significations sont-elles un peu floues ? Ou au contraire : précises et bien définies?

Underneath my own translation you will find an in depth, sentence by sentence analysis of the translation with notes on how the two different translations differ. To remind you: The French original is on the left (yellow), the comparison translation is in the middle (blue) and my own translation with notes is on the right (grey). You can leave comments under my notes. In evaluating my own translation I would like you to judge me on three things: 1. Is my translation faithful to the meaning and style of the original? 2. Does my translation read like a translation or does it read like an original work by a native English speaker? 3. How quickly and easily does the meaning register? Are there meanings which are a bit wooly? Or are all the meanings absolutely clear and sharp?

Buy Structural Anthropology http://www.amazon.co.uk/Structural-Anthropology-Levi-strauss/dp/046509516X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374172566&sr=8-1&keywords=structural+anthropology
Buy Anthropologie Structurale http://www.amazon.fr/Anthropologie-structurale-Claude-Lévi-Strauss/dp/2266139312/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374172674&sr=8-1&keywords=anthropologie+structurale

Claude Lévi-Straus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Lévi-Strauss

Buy Structural Anthropology http://www.amazon.co.uk/Structural-Anthropology-Levi-strauss/dp/046509516X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374172566&sr=8-1&keywords=structural+anthropology
Buy Anthropologie Structurale http://www.amazon.fr/Anthropologie-structurale-Claude-Lévi-Strauss/dp/2266139312/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374172674&sr=8-1&keywords=anthropologie+structurale

Claude Lévi-Straus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Lévi-Strauss

ANTHROPOLGIE STRUCTURALE
Claude Lévi-Straus



Plus d'un demi-siecle s'est écoulé depuis que Hauser et Simiand exposèrent et opposèrent les points de principe et de méthode qui, selon eux, distingue l'une de l'autre l'histoire et la sociologie. On se souvient que ces différences tiennent essentiellement au caractère comparatif de la méthode sociologique, monographique et fonctionnel de la méthode historique. D'accord sur cette opposition les deux auteurs se séparent seulement sur la valeur respective de chaque méthode.

Structural Anthropology
By Claude Lévi-Strauss

Translation : Claire Jacobson

More than a half-century has elapsed since Hauser and Simiand formulated and contrasted the principles and methods which seemed to distinguish history from sociology. These differences stemmed primarily from the comparative nature of the sociological method, on the one hand, and the documentary and functional character of the historical method, on the other. While the two authors agreed on the contrasting nature of these disciplines, they diverged in evaluating the respective merits of each method.

Structural Anthropology
By Claude Lévi-Strauss

Translation by Myself (Chris Parkinson)

It is now more than half a century since Hausser and Simiand laid out and juxtaposed the principles and methods which, according to them, show just how the two disciplines of History and Sociology differ one from the other. It is perhaps interesting to remember that these differences arise mainly from the fact that the sociological method is more concerned with comparative interpretations while the historical method is more concerned with being a complete representation – the consensus version. The two authors were in agreement concerning this difference, with their only disagreement being on the respective merits of each method.

Que s'est il passé depuis lors? Force et de constater que l'histoire s'en est tenue au programme modeste et lucide qui lui étais proposé, et qu'elle a prospèré selon ses lignes. Du point de vue de l'histoire, les problèmes de principe et de méthode semble définitivement résolus. Quant à la sociologie, c'est une autre affaire : on ne saurait dire qu’elle n s'est pas développée; celles de ses branches dont nous nous occuperons plus particulièrement ici, l’ethnographie et l'ethnologie, se sont, au cours des trente dernières années, épanouies en une prodigieuse floraison d’études théorique et descriptives : mai au prix de conflits, de déchirements et de confusions où l'on reconnaît, transposé au sein même de l'ethnologie le débat traditionnel – et combien plus simple sous cette forme! - qui semblait opposer l'ethnologie dans son ensemble à une autre discipline, l'histoire , également considérée dans son ensemble. Par un paradoxe supplémentaire on verra que la thèse des historien se trouve reprise textuellement chez les ethnologues, par ceux-la mêmes qui se proclament les adversaires de la méthode historique. Cette situation serait incompréhensible si l'on n'en retraçait rapidement l'origine, et si, pour plus de clarté on ne posait quelques définitions.

What has happened since then ? We must acknowledge that history has confined itself to its original modest and lucid program and that it has prospered by adhering to it closely. From the vantage point of history, problems of principle and method appear to have been definitely resolved. What has happened to sociology, however is another matter. Those branches of sociology with which we shall be particularly concerned with here, ethnography and ethnology, have during the last thirty years, produced a great number of theoretical and descriptive studies. This productivity, however, has been achieved at the price of conflicts, cleavages, and confusion which duplicate, within anthropology itself, the traditional and far more clear-cut dispute that set off ethnology as a discipline separate from historisme. Just as paradoxically, the historians' theories have been taken over literally by anthropologists, and particularly by those anthropologists who proclaim their opposition to the historical method. This situation will be more easily understood if we briefly trace its origins and, for the sake of clarity, sketch some preliminary definitions.

What has happened since then ? Its plain to see that history has stayed with the modest and clear programme ascribed to it and that it has flourished with this approach. As far as history is concerned, it would seem that problems of principle or method have been solved for good. Sociology is quite a different kettle of fish. No one could say that it has not come on in leaps and bounds. The branches of sociology with which we are particularly concerned here, namely ethnography and ethnology, have blossomed over the course of the last thirty years - with a veritable flowering of theoretical and descriptive studies – but it has been at the price of conflicts, rifts and misunderstandings  - with this old debate, so clear cut in its traditional guise, being brought into the very centre of ethnology, with ethnology in all its forms apparently being set in opposition to that other discipline, history in all its forms . A further irony is that we find the historians' thesis being taken up word for word by the very same anthropologists who profess to be critics of the historical method. In order to understand this seemingly incomprehensible state of affairs we need to give a brief outline of how it originated and clear up a few definitions.

Justification for my choice of translation and comparison with Claire Jacobson's 1963 translation

Lévi-Strauss
Plus d'un demi-siecle s'est écoulé depuis que Hauser et Simiand exposèrent et opposèrent les points de principe et de méthode qui, selon eux, distingue l'une de l'autre l'histoire et la sociologie.

Claire Jacobson
More than a half-century has elapsed since Hauser and Simiand formulated and contrasted the principles and methods which seemed to distinguish history from sociology.

Myself (Chris Parkinson)
It is now more than half a century since Hausser and Simiand laid out and juxtaposed the principles and methods which, according to them, show just how the two disciplines of History and Sociology differ one from the other.

*Jacobson has followed LS's construction and has simply translated « écoulé » by « elapsed ». « More than a half-century has elapsed » This follows word for word the original and could almost be a machine translation. It reads perfectly well in English nevertheless. I have opted to ignore the French construction and replace it with a more « Anglo-saxon » construction (in line with my « style » principles outlined elsewhere). Style

*Jacobson has translated « exposèrent » by « formulated ». Are « exposer » and « to expose » « faux amis ». Yes and no. They are used in similar contexts and have similar meanings. However, if you used « exposed » in this context it could have the meaning in English of « exposed » in the way the News of the World exposes whereas LS means « laid bare » which I could have used but chose instead to use « laid out ». Jacobson's use of « formulated » for « exposèrent » in my opinion is wrong. She has clearly understood that « exposed » in this context would be a mistranslation but she has gone for « formulated » which sounds as if Hausser and Simiand came up with the principles and methods themselves when in fact they are only describing an existing state of affairs.

*Jacobsen has chosen « contrasted » for « opposèrent ». Are « opposer » and « to oppose » faux amis “? You could for example translate « opposing points of view » by « des points de vue opposés » However, if you used « opposed » here, it would sound as if these two authors were in opposition to the methods they outlined which is not what LS means. I used « juxtaposed » rather than “contrasted” although I would not claim it is better. Does it give a slightly better sense of putting one set of methods up against the other ? Perhaps.

*« selon eux » = « according to them ». For once, I have used a literal translation where Jacobson has not. She has written « which seemed to....... » I suppose from the context it is fairly obvious that the meaning is « which seemed to them to... » but I think she should have put it in nonetheless to make the meaning quite clear.

* Jacobson has used « ...distinguish history from sociology .» for LS's « ...distingue l'une de l'autre l'histoire et la sociologie. » Are « distinguer » and « to distinguish » faux amis ? They mean the same thing and are used in similar contexts. In this context “distinguished” is used in the way you would use for example “he cannot distinguish right from wrong” but I would prefer “he cannot tell right from wrong”. I have therefore kept true to my principle of using simpler, Anglo-saxon words where possible. I have used a paraphrase containing “differ” which has allowed me to use “one from the other” in order to keep the sense of LS's “l'un de l'autre”. Lévi-Strauss was an accomplished linguist, speaking good English, Portuguese, Latin and Ancient Greek to my knowledge. (He may have spoken other languages) and he wrote some articles in English. However, he was not a native speaker of English. If he had been would his English language have been a little bit ornate and flowery, always using the latin word/construction rather than the Ango-saxon ? I believe his English would be as concise and simple as his French.

Lévi-Strauss
On se souvient que ces différences tiennent essentiellement au caractère comparatif de la méthode sociologique, monographique et fonctionnel de la méthode historique.

Claire Jacobson
These differences stemmed primarily from the comparative nature of the sociological method, on the one hand, and the documentary and functional character of the historical method, on the other.

Myself
It is perhaps interesting to remember that these differences arise mainly from the fact that the sociological method is more concerned with comparative interpretations while the historical method is more concerned with being a complete representation – the consensus version.

*LS has used a very elegant construction in French to separate the sociological method from the historical method. He has just used a comma. (Beautiful French!) You could not do this in English. A typical example of how concise French can be . Jacobson has had to use “on the one hand..............on the other” to translate this.

*The idiomatic « On se souvient.... » is a tricky one. We need to go into this quite deeply so bear with me here. It can mean « I recall /you recall/we recall” all at the same time in English. LS means here, I think, that he remembers and that you also may remember and possibly we experts and/or non-experts may remember. “on” in French is impersonal. The meaning is deliberately vague so that you could interpret it as meaning one or two or all three of the above meanings. In English, we usually use “you” for the French “on” in this kind of context (meaning people in general) . In English « You will (recall) remember... » or (more idomatic) « You will no doubt (recall) remember.... » is a little bit presumptious because we may very well never have heard of these two authors and if Lévi-Strauss is implying we should have we may feel a little inferior and Lévi-Strauss would not want that. On the other hand, « You may perhaps recall... » sounds a little supercilious, as if LS is doubting whether his readers are as well read as he is - something LS would never be guilty of. If you have read “Tristes Tropiques” or seen interviews of Lévi-Strauss (many of them now on Youtube), you will know that Lévi-Strauss was a warm, courteous, friendly, unassuming, diffident man, never interested in point scoring. (Or at least that is his public personna). So the subtext of “on se souvient”, is “You may already be aware of these two authors and be aware of this stuff – so please bear with me if I spell it all out and perhaps remind both myself and you the reader of it again.” Jacobson has avoided the difficulty by simply leaving this bit out but I think to do so is to lose Lévi-Strauss's friendly solicitude which I think is important to render if possible. I could use « One recalls........ » but in English it would be a rather archaic, pompous way of saying “I recall”, something you might expect a Regency fop to say. It is not an everyday, idiomatic expression in English the way it is in French and it sounds a little odd, like the way the queen uses « one » for « I », . In the end I have opted for “ It is perhaps interesting to remember ...” which I think captures LS's diffidence and something of the impersonal sense of “on se souvient” although I'm afraid I have been guilty of adding a few extra words in order to get this nuance.

*I have used “arise mainly from” where Jacobson has used “stemmed primarily from”. Both mean the same. “Blanc bonnet/bonnet blanc” as the French say although once again I think that Jacobson's is slightly more in the “flowery” register. Jacobson has used 29 words to translate LS's 22. I have used 39! But I translated a nuance that Jacobson simply deleted. An example of having to use extra words to translate the complete meaning.

*Jacobson has, once again, stuck a little closer to the French to translate “caractère comparatif” . She has translated this as “...comparative nature...”. To my ear, this sounds a little wooden and vague in English. I prefer my “...more concerned with comparative interpretations...” which I think is a proper translation of the meaning.

* Jacobson has translated “monographique et fonctionnel” by “...the documentary and functional character...” where I have used “... being a complete representation – the consensus version.” Quite a big difference! “Monographique” in French means a complete representation of something. I don't think Jacobson's “documentary” is right here (did she bother to look up “monographique”?) because documentary could equally well apply to sociology which does have to be based on documentary evidence after all even if sociologists may be more selective about which documents to use than historians in order to illustrate a thesis. Does she mean documentary in the sense that historians use documents or does she mean historians document the events of the past. Its all very woolly whereas LS's meaning in French is perfectly clear. “Fonctionnel” translates into “functional” here.......... or does it? Is this another case of “faux amis”. Fonctionel/functional have similar meanings in both languages but “fonctionnel” has an extra meaning in French: “to do with the state”. Does LS mean “functional” as in “utilitarian”? He could also be thinking of the mathematical “linear function” which is represented by a straight line on a graph. In France, there is “La fonction publique”, in other words the public sector, for example, “les emplois fonctionnels” : “public sector jobs”. So this could add a nuance of “official” as in “official history” with a hint that sociology in contrast might be a bit potentially subversive because much more concerned with interpretation. He may also be using “fonctionel” in the sense of “linear”. All three meanings could fit this context here. So here is the dilemma, do we risk putting words into LS's mouth by translating this extra nuance which LS may never have meant or do we err on the side of caution. Does LS mean “functional or utilitarian” as in stripped down – no frills? Does he mean “linear”? Does he mean “official” as in the official record for posterity? If he means more than one of these, how much weight should we attach to each interpretation? I think the “functional” meaning as in “utilitarian” and “linear” is already implied in my “complete account” (for “monographique”) so I will not risk adding even more words by using the actual word “functional” or “utilitarian”. On the other hand I have stuck my neck out by translating what I think may be the nuance or even complete meaning of “fonctionnel” with “....– the “consensus version” which I think nicely gives the idea of historians continually beavering away at building a co-operative work, with each trying to add a few more pieces to the common edifice. Even if I have misinterpreted him, I don't think he would be displeased (if he was still alive) at this extra layer of meaning, if it is indeed extra.

Lévi-Strauss:
D'accord sur cette opposition les deux auteurs se séparent seulement sur la valeur respective de chaque méthode.

Jacobson:
While the two authors agreed on the contrasting nature of these disciplines, they diverged in evaluating the respective merits of each method.

Myself (Chris Parkinson):
The two authors were in agreement concerning this difference, with their only disagreement being on the respective merits of each method.

*Jacobson has put: “... agreed on the contrasting nature of these disciplines...” where she could have simply put “...agreed on this difference..” Why? It has the effect of making the sentence just that little bit heavier where LS is beautifully light and concise. We know what they are differing about. LS has not seen fit to restate it in so many words. Why has she? Jacobson: “Diverged/evaluation/respective” all in close succession – it is all a bit indigestible is it not? I think my version is much closer to LS's lightness of touch. In English you usually try to avoid using the same word twice in one sentence. One usually chooses a synonym for the second word. I have used “agreement/disagreement”. I have done this because I like the symmetry of the implied: on the one hand/on the other hand, and the way that the reader's emphasis will naturally fall on the “disagreement”. I did that quite unconsciously by the way when I wrote the sentence – I am justifying my choices with hindsight. So its not all endless deliberation when translating.

Lévi-Strauss:
Que s'est il passé depuis lors? Force et de constater que l'histoire s'en est tenue au programme modeste et lucide qui lui étais proposé, et qu'elle a prospèré selon ses lignes.

Jacobson:
What has happened since then ? We must acknowledge that history has confined itself to its original modest and lucid program and that it has prospered by adhering to it closely.

Myself (Chris Parkinson):
What has happened since then ? Its plain to see that history has stayed with the modest and clear programme ascribed to it and that it has flourished with this approach.

*prospèré/prospered: do they mean the same in both languages and more importantly do they have the same meaning in this context? Jacobson clearly thinks that they do. Prospered contains the idea of getting rich. I have an image of fat and contented historians. Is this what LS means? He probably does. Perhaps a gentle dig at historians. I used “flourished” which I think has slightly less mercantile connotations although the two words are very close in meaning: ie. “the arts flourished”/ “the arts prospered”. Its probably something to do with my allergy to using similar words to translate.

*Jacobson has used the word “adhering”. I have used a different construction in my translation but just to contrast our different styles, I would have used “sticking” instead of “adhering”. We all know what “adhering” means but it just takes that extra nano-second to mentally register the meaning when compared to “sticking”. The two words mean exactly the same thing, there is just a difference in register. Sticking also has the resonance of “sticking to your guns” which is very apt in this context. With lots of Latinate words in a sentence in English I think you end up with a lot of stodge and stuffiness. We do not have the strict rules of grammar which the French have zealously policed over the centuries to make their sentences full of words of Latin origin beautifully light and airy in the hands of an author like LS.

*Lucide/Lucid. According to my Collins/Robert, the words have similar meaning in both languages. I think however that “lucide” is more commonly used in French daily language than English. For example, it is used of someone in the sense of regaining consciousness. “il est lucide” = “he is conscious”. I could be accused of “dumbing down” by using “clear” for “lucide” but clear is exactly what LS means here so, once again, I am going for Anglo-saxon rather than Norman.

*Jacobson: “We must acknowledge”/ Myself: “Its plain to see” I prefer my simple, idiomatic translation.

Lévi-Strauss:
Du point de vue de l'histoire, les problèmes de principe et de méthode semble définitivement résolus.

Jacobson:
From the vantage point of history, problems of principle and method appear to have been definitely resolved

Myself (Chris Parkinson) :
As far as history is concerned, it would seem that problems of principle or method have been solved for good.

Jacobson has translated “... définitivement résolus..” by “...definitely resolved...”. This is wrong. This is what we call linguistic interference. She has been too influenced by the French structure. In English you would say “the problem has been solved” not “ the problem has been resolved”. Resolved means decided. “résolu” does mean decided. However, here, in this context, it quite clearly means “solved”. You would not say “the problem has been decided”. (You might say “we have decided on a solution to the problem”) Also, “définitivement” does not mean “definitely”. Definitely means something which is clear cut. “Définitivement” has the sense of no going back whereas a definite decision could easily be reversed in favour of a less definite decision or another, different, definite decision.

Lévi-Strauss:
Quant a la sociologie, c'est une autre affaire : on ne saurait dire qu’elle n s'est pas développée; celles de ses branches dont nous nous occuperons plus particulièrement ici, l’ethnographie et l'ethnologie, se sont, au cours des trente dernières années, épanouies en une prodigieuse floraison d’études théorique et descriptives : mais au prix de conflits, de déchirements et de confusions ou l'on reconnaît, transposé au sein même de l'ethnologie le débat traditionnel – et combien plus simple sous cette forme! - qui semblait opposer l'ethnologie dans son ensemble a une autre discipline, l'histoire , également considérée dans son ensemble.

Jacobson:
What has happened to sociology, however is another matter. Those branches of sociology with which we shall be particularly concerned with here, ethnography and ethnology, have during the last thirty years, produced a great number of theoretical and descriptive studies. This productivity, however, has been achieved at the price of conflicts, cleavages, and confusion which duplicate, within anthropology itself, the traditional and far more clear-cut dispute that set off ethnology as a discipline separate from history.

Myself (Chris Parkinson):
Sociology is quite a different kettle of fish. No one could say that it has not come on in leaps and bounds. The branches of sociology with which we are particularly concerned here, namely ethnography and ethnology, have bloomed over the course of the last thirty years - with a veritable flowering of theoretical and descriptive studies – but it has been at the price of conflicts, rifts and misunderstandings : where we see brought into the very heart of ethnology, this old argument, clear cut in its traditional form, whereby anthropology in all its forms appears set in opposition to that other discipline, history in all its forms.

*Whoa! One big paragraph/sentence from LS – broken up by colons and semi-colons. You have to be very confident in your abilities as a writer to pull this off. (It is not possible in English.) You can see why he was made a member of the Académie Francaise. Jacobson and myself have both used 3 sentences to render LS's one big sentence. I'm reminded of Salieri in “Amadeus” describing the beautiful architecture of Mozart's writing: “Take away one note and the whole piece is diminished”. (“Supprimez une seule note et le tout s' éffondre” in the French version)

*“Quant a la sociologie, c'est une autre affaire” Jacobson has translated with “What has happened to sociology, however is another matter.” Slight mistranslation here. “Quant a” means “concerning” or “...as far as sociology is concerned....”, not “ what happened to”. She has written “another matter” for “une autre affaire”. She has played safe. “c'est une autre affaire” is much more idiomatic, ie. a common locution, in French, than “is another matter” is in English. (Probably because we also have the alternative idiomatic expresssion that I have used). For added emphasis in French you can say “c'est une toute autre affaire. I feel totally justified therefore in using my very idiomatic, almost colloquial, “quite a different kettle of fish”. Also, “c'est une autre affaire” is quite emphatic in French. So if you are going to stick with “its another matter” I think you should say “its quite another matter” which sounds to my ear much more like a common locution in English.

*“….on ne saurait dire qu’elle n s'est pas développée...” Literally “..you could not say that it has not developed...”. Jaccobson has baulked at this and simply missed it out. I have gone for “No one could say that it has not come on in leaps and bounds.” which I have made into a self-contained sentence. “..come on in leaps and bounds..” is very idiomatic. Jacobson describes LS's writing as “vivid”. I am sure that if he was a native English speaker, writing this same article in English, he might have reached for exactly the words I have used so I feel totally justified in translating the meaning rather than the words, especially as the reflexive verb “se développer” gives a sense of dynamism that “to develop” does not have and “to develop itself” would be an incorrect translation.

* “...épanouies.....floraison.....” I have translated with “... blossomed...flowering....” an exact translation of the French. Once case where there is no need to shy away from a literal translation. Jacobson has used for this “ produced a great number” which is not at all “flowery” for once (Geddit?)

*“.....au prix de conflits, de déchirements et de confusions....” Jacobson has written: “...at the price of conflicts, cleavages, and confusion...” I wrote: “.... at the price of conflicts, rifts and misunderstandings...” We are both agreed on “at the price of” and “conflicts” so no problem there. “ ..déchirements..” Jacobson has translated with “cleavages” and I have translated with “rifts”. Déchirer means to tear. The French talk of “le déchirement d'un couple” - when a couple splits. I think “splits or rifts” is the right word. When you talk of one trotskyst splinter group breaking away from another (Think “Judaean People's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in “The Life of Brian”) you generally talk of a split, or a rift, not a cleavage. LS's “..confusion..” here does not mean confusion in English (even though it fits the context). Its a false friend. It means “misunderstandings” as in “il y a confusion” - “there is a misunderstanding”.

*Jacobson, so careful usually to stick to LS's structure has really gone out on a limb with this long sentence. Her translation is very convincing and plausible, so much so that I looked at my own translation with a view to revising it. Then I studied the original text very carefully and realised that she has over- interpreted what LS is saying. She is saying the conflicts and rifts within anthropology are mirroring the old conflicts and rifts between anthropology and history. (Ethnology and anthropology are fairly interchangeable in this text in an English translation by the way – LS himself says that in Anglo-saxon countries the word ethnology has fallen into disuse and is now largely replaced by anthropology.) This is not quite what LS is saying here. He is saying that there are conflicts and rifts in anthropology caused by arguments which are similar to the old debate between sociological methods and historical methods. He is saying that it is a similar argument. He is not necessarily saying that the conflicts and rifts are similar. For all we know there may not have been conflicts and rifts with the old debate. It might have been a very civilized, polite debate, finishing with a consensus on what constitutes the respective methods. LS goes on to clarify in succeeding paragraphs the paradox whereby some anthropologists who profess to be enemies of the historical method are actually quoting verbatim its arguments in an anthropological context.

Lévi-Strauss:
Par un paradoxe supplémentaire on verra que la thèse des historien se trouve reprise textuellement chez les ethnologues, par ceux-la mêmes qui se proclament les adversaires de la méthode historique. Cette situation serait incompréhensible si l'on n'en retraçait rapidement l'origine, et si, pour plus de clarté on ne posait quelques définitions.

Jacobson:
Just as paradoxically, the historians' theories have been taken over literally by anthropologists, and particularly by those anthropologists who proclaim their opposition to the historical method. This situation will be more easily understood if we briefly trace its origins and, for the sake of clarity, sketch some preliminary definitions.

Myself (Chris Parkinson):
A further irony is that we find the historians' thesis being taken up word for word by the very same anthropologists who profess to be critics of the historical method. In order to understand this seemingly incomprehensible state of affairs we need to give a brief outline of how it originated and clear up a few definitions.

*“...reprise textuellement...” This is an idiomatic expression in French and it calls for a translation into an equivalent idiomatic expression. That expression is “word for word” or “to the letter”. I think Jacobson's “....taken over literally...” is a literal translation and its weak.

*“....Par un paradoxe supplémentaire...” Again, this is idiomatic and calls for an equivalent idiomatic expression. Both Jacobson and myself have done this. As usual, she has stuck closer to the French construction.

*Jacopson's “... this situtation......” is a perfectly reasonable translation of “...cette situation...”. However, if we imagine once again that LS is a native English speaker, I think he would be more likely to use “.... this state of affairs....” which is more idiomatic.

To contact me about a translation, email: frenchintoenglish5@gmail.com (I don't take phone calls because they break my concentration when working.) Emails are often answered within half an hour.

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