Janet Shirley M.A.Oxon.

Translator of medieval and modern French.
Member of the Translators' Association and of the Society of Authors.

e: janshirley@french-translator.co.uk


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.

Recent Work

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.

Lucy Dragonfly by Jan Shirley 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...

Lucy Dragonfly by Jan Shirley
The Inquisitors Guide translated by Jan Shirley
Song of Roland translated by Jan Shirley
Garniers Becket translated by Jan Shirley
Moroccan Myths and Legends translated by Jan Shirley
Chronicles of the Crusades translated by Jan Shirley
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue translated by Jan Shirley
Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale translated by Jan Shirley
Little Polar Bear translated by Jan Shirley
Valley of the Kings translated by Jan Shirley
The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem translated by Jan Shirley
Vendee translated by Jan Shirley
A Parisian Journal translated by Jan Shirley
The Capture of Alexandria translated by Jan Shirley
Daurel and Beton translated by Jan Shirley
The Song of the Cathar Wars translated by Jan Shirley
Krenn and the Great Ring of Berren written by Jan Shirley
Harry Bone-Thief by Jan Shirley