Deuil Interdit (The Closers in the original version) brings Harry Bosch back to the Los Angeles Police Department after a three-year retirement. Among other things, I learned in the opening chapter that the French word for badge is badge.
Elsewhere, the police chief asks Harry if he had heard talk of the décret dit de consentement (roughly decree — that is, of consent) under which the department now operates. The term has the air of something the translator thought needed explaining to French readers, and I presume it means consent decree. This raises an interesting question: When translating legal and other technical terms, how does one strike a balance between fidelity to the original sense, and comprehensibility to readers in the target language?
(Michael Connelly's French translator, Robert Pépin, will be a member of my panel on crime fiction and translation at Bouchercon 2009.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2009