Voyage au bout de la nuit by Yuriy Kornev
Translation into a foreign language of the work of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, the author known as really difficult to translate, is always considered as a milestone in the evolution of contemporary translation. In our article, the question we ask is how foreign translators achieve to render in other languages this Celinian French so vivid, violent, and horrifying by its rudeness and vulgarity. Searching an answer to this question, we have tried, using the example of the Russian translation of Céline’s first novel Journey to the End of the Night performed by Yuriy Korneev, to describe the obstacle course that a translator carries out in order to make an adaptation of the original text. Working over Céline’s masterpiece, a translator begins his work by studying the original style of the author in order to understand the nature of work on the language and catch on the effect muchsought by Céline. The restitution of the orality effect is a fundamental part of the stylistic work gone by the translator. Thus, in our article we draw on the major difficulties of translation that are: the “little music” of Céline formed on the basis of the choice of words to play on phonemes, the sounds and the rhythm of the sentence and onomatopoeia; the semantic matching between the two languages, using the same images and ideas association; transposition of regional and popular accents; translation of slang, scatological and offensive terms; spatial and temporal dissimilarities with the culture of today; plays on words and allusions, etc… Thus the translator working on a Céline’s novel is constantly coping with many difficulties that are sometimes really impossible to overcome, so that the translation is “swaying,” becoming sometimes too soft and neutral, sometimes too brutal and repugnant.