Word order

The German language comes with a handy guide for word order: Time, manner, place. In other words, you should write, “Yesterday morning (time), I travelled by bus (manner) to school (place).”

French and English, of course, have no such rules, but French does have the strange habit of putting time at the start of the sentence, no matter the impact it has on actual events. And translators tend to stick to this word order.

But one of the things I admired about Lazer Lederhendler’s translation of The Lake was how natural his word order sounded in English. Partly because he constantly inverted sentences and shifted the date and time away from the beginning.

So now as I translate Eric Dupont’s Bestiaire, I’m finding myself playing around with word order more than usual.

Sentences like Au troisième tour, toutes les filles de la classe se rangèrent du côté de Julie Santerre are increasingly becoming Every girl in the class got behind Julie Santerre in the third round.