Translating is tricky.

So, I said I was going to let you know how I got on with translating, and here we go. . .

It is not for the faint hearted, I assure you. In my life I have had to learn English, a little Greek and a little Spanish. I would love to be fluent in all three languages, but I would have to be socialising with a person who spoke fluent English and a person that spoke fluent Greek and a person that spoke fluent Spanish, everyday.

With this in mind, why would I choose to read a book written in French? It was yet to be translated, I had no other option. Armed with two dictionaries, a pc and the limitation that I wasn’t allowed to use a translation app. Where would the process take me?

I will do my best to let you know over the coming weeks, but I had to contact the Publishers of the book to ask if I could share a few words, and I am yet to hear an official response, so with this in mind, I will ensure there is plenty of referencing and clarity that I am not the Author of Le bébé a beautifully written non-fiction paperback written by the incredibly intelligent M. Darrieussecq (2005).

It all started with the blurb:

What exactly is a baby? Why is a baby so rarely discussed in stories? What myths surround the condition of the baby and what exactly is a mother with a preference over men?

Can you imagine the fascination I had?  What a perfect place to research the subject matter, of what exactly is a woman? I am aware that only the female body can produce babies? Do tell me if I have that wrong? I know that science is dabbling with some pretty revolutionary territory in generating life outside of the womb, but they still need an incubator to develop a foetus, don’t they?

Does that mean women are purely incubators in the 21st Century? Haven’t they alwayspexels-photo-259363.jpeg been?

I have a feeling there are going to be so many question marks in this blog, which will begin to annoy me if I don’t attempt to answer them. But this isn’t an academic paper, this is an experiential experimental blogging process.

Personally, I don’t think women are purely incubators. I needed to straighten that out in the first instance. Although, that doesn’t mean to say others who choose to look at subject matter –  rather than real-life social levels of activity – as a norm, don’t!

That is why I chose to read the non-fiction book written by Marie (first name terms, why I dont know!), I wanted to know what she thought. Yes, there are a ton of books about babies written to deliver the facts and sciences offering a physiological perspective; there are a number of websites that talk about pregnancy and birth every day. However, when my children were in my tummy and then newly born, unable to speak nor walk I didn’t have the time to sit reading other peoples opinions on what they did, and in truth I didn’t feel connected in any way or form with the words written. Every idea contradicted another. It was mind-blowing stuff, this creating life and becoming a parent. Anyone claiming otherwise, I would love to chat with to find out an alternate perspective.

Today, I am no longer boggled down with the day to day needs and issues arising from the newborn, toddler, young child, growing child – reality.

Don’t ask me why I was looking for a non-fictional emotional literal response that I may have had connection to, back then, when I probably needed it.  I am so glad I found it in this French non-fiction. A book written in French Language, have I told you yet, I don’t speak French? What makes this tale even more perfect is in the ‘when’ I had to translate the author’s experiences word for word, it was a revelation. It was a phenomenal experience.

  • I now have first hand experience that:  when you concentrate intensively on a subject matter to understand the context, there almost appears a ‘connection’, and it in the almost-connection that I wish to share what happened and what it revealed. You may like it or hate it? That is your prerogative, we all have our own. All I ask from you as a reader is to have an open mind.

Hopefully the publishing company of the book will be open to letting me share a few of the French words, but until that day dawns, I hope you can be happy with my ramblings and teeny-transcripts of text:

Le petit de l’humain : il doit bien avoir quelque chose á chercher, á comprendre là.

(Le bébé, by Darrieussecq:p11,2005)

My translation September 2017:
The little one I see as human, as a good thing to look forward to and plan for, I understand that.

In honesty, I couldn’t tell you if my translation is worthy, however the transcribed words for me symbolised a cataclysmic issue that most of humanity has when they are excited about the prospect of something, without being fully aware of the potential reality – it is an obsession.

If you are a parent, or someone who spends time around lots of young children, can you tell me the flaw in my own translated sentence?  I think it sounds very excitable, do you? But, what could you advise someone who is hoping to have a baby soon, and thinking like this? Take a moment.

Please leave a comment, I would love to know. This translating of a book and discovering the diversity in Cultural responses for a universal subject of both pregnancy and childbirth, hidden behind the French language (to me) is an ongoing piece of research and your input would be dearly appreciated.

I look forward to reading your responses.

Until next week when I will pose yet another question, thanks to Marie. Here is something to think about in the meantime:

Regardant les photos de nous, jeunes accouchées, ma meilleure amie et moi : ce sont les photos de nos mères.

Le lit d’hôpital, la fatigue sur le visage, la lumière.

C’est incompréhensible.

(Le bébé, by Darrieussecq:p13,2005)


J. Spencer, Creative Writing, © March 2018
Proud Ambassador to Psychologies Magazine, participant of the Life Leap Club.


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