French embraces the abstract much better than English

You find translation is a different skill from just reading something in a foreign language and understanding it says George Miller

Translator George Miller explains the process of turning French-language novels into English ones, in conversation with The Connexion

In-demand translator George Miller (pictured above) has worked out he has translated close to a million words for Le Monde Diplomatique’s English-language edition over the years.

French author Delphine de Vigan told Connexion she is lucky to have a translator like Mr Miller who knows her style well and gives an accurate portrayal of her work. His latest translation of her book Loyalties was published in January.

He studied French at Oxford, and spent many years working as an editor for Oxford University Press and Granta Books.


How did you get into literary translation?

I studied French at university and then went into publishing so I wasn’t using my language professionally, but I kept it up by reading and visiting France.

When I was working at Granta, I had a book which I really wanted to publish and I needed to do it quickly but I did not have a translator so I thought I would do it myself.

It was following 9/11 and was about Al-Qaeda and their sympathisers in Paris written by an Algerian journalist, Mohamed Sifaoui, who had infiltrated those circles undercover and was writing about their beliefs. The book was doing well in France. So I thought, ...

To read the remaining 85% of this article, you need to either

Subscribe now to The Connexion and benefit from access to our archived articles since 2006

Print + Digital 3 month subscription

Pay every three months. Our most flexible subscription.

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

Print + Digital 1 year subscription

1 year of great reading in print and online

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

Digital 1 year subscription (Our best value offer)

1 year of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

Digital 3 month subscription

3 months of great reading online *no paper*

Automatic renewal, cancel anytime

More articles from Interviews
More articles from Connexion France
Other articles that may interest you