Monday, December 20, 2010

A labour of love completed

I have just finished translating one of Elisabeth Rochat’s works in which she examines what is written in the Chinese classics about the different meridians and their points. This time I worked on the 9 points of what she calls Heart Master (called variously also Pericardium, Circulation-Sex or, which I have always liked, Heart Protector). I have translated other things for Elisabeth to include in her Monkey Press books, but this points notebook has been the most difficult by far. First I have had to learn to understand what are very complex concepts, expressed in that most poetic of all languages, French, and then, once understood, work out a way of expressing them in the much more practical language of English. This has involved thinking myself into another idiom and another mode of thought.

Having battled with these difficulties (and at times battle was not too strong a word), I developed a kind of flow, steeping myself happily in this pool of classical thought. And then the translation went more quickly, Points 1 -3 taking what I felt was forever, whilst I seemed to race through Points 4 – 9.  I have now sent the files off to Elisabeth for her to make of them what she will. The translation is eventually going to find its way to the States, where I understand an editor and a publisher are waiting. So my work is done.

One unexpected bonus of doing this translation is that I allowed it to serve as an excuse to join the London Library, claiming to myself that I needed its vast hoard of reference books and dictionaries to complete this work, but in fact just for the pleasure of walking through stack upon stack of books which I am allowed to borrow for as long as I like. For me a luxury indeed, and my own present to myself for having helped, in my own way, to give the English-speaking world greater access to more of Elisabeth’s thoughts.

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