Janet Shirley M.A.Oxon.
Translator of medieval and modern French.
Member of the Translators' Association and of the Society of Authors.
I hope you find this site interesting. I've put it together so that you can see what sort of translating work I like doing, and if any of you can come up with interesting suggestions - or commissions! - for further work along the same sort of lines, so much the better.
The originals of almost all the books referred to here were written at different times from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries and I have translated them as carefully as I can. They do not, repeat not, tell us what did actually happen at any given date, but they do tell us how those people saw themselves and their world, how they thought it was, how they wanted it to be.
Truth, says Terry Pratchett, is the soap you can't get hold of in the bathwater of history. Add the scrubbing brush of translation and there's nothing much left but bubbles. Still, I really have tried. Check out some of the excerpts and see what you think.
My other interest is in writing fiction for children aged eight and upwards. Look at Children’s Fiction for more about this.
In 2012 I had the pleasure of translating just under 90,000 words of the Life of Blessed Alix Le Clerc, a sixteenth century woman in the then independent duchy of Lorraine who was one of the founders of the Congregation of Our Lady, a body whose members, Canonesses of St Augustine, are dedicated to prayer and to the setting up and running of free schools for girls - an idea which in Alix's time many people found shocking. Today's Canonesses do this work all over the world.
The next Harry story, LUCY DRAGONFLY, is now available in paperback and on Kindle. Lucy and Harry do a good deal of travelling, at sea and on foot, and there are some nice maps.
There's a third book in this series in my mind, but it's too shapeless yet to describe. All I am sure of is that Great Aunt Rose is due for an 80th birthday and being a thorough nuisance.
Recently I have been working on a translation of the Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d'Angleterre , written soon after 1220 by a Flemish author whose name we do not know, the Anonymous of Béthune. He covers events from the first Norse invaders of Normandy down to his own time, King John, Magna Carta, and the French invasion of England in 1217, and does so brilliantly. He has a matter of fact straightforward style, and includes a good deal of dialogue, so that readers feel they know how King John and his queen spoke to each other when they were annoyed. The Anonymous did not like John (who did? he rode away from battle without telling his troops he was going), but does try to do him justice; he was generous to his household and gave them lavish gifts on feast days. My translation is not available yet but Routledge will be bringing it out next year.
Dauntless the slughorn...