Sunday, September 08, 2013

Translator Elizabeth Tanfield Cary

Some time back, there was an article on the BBC website about Elizabeth Tanfield Cary, a sixteenth century girl who was a writer and translator.

The article notes, “She grew up in the village [Burford Church, Oxfordshire] and wrote the piece - a translation from French of the text of the early world atlas of Ortelius - when she was aged 12 or 13.”

Dr Lesley Peterson is quoted as saying that her translatorial decisions are revealing: “For instance, she was just a little girl, but she was an only child and she was her father’s heir…She met Queen Elizabeth I when she was just a little girl, because her parents hosted the queen at her house. So she has these very strong female role models, and in her translations, every time the original text says something complimentary about a woman, little Elizabeth sneaks in an extra adjective.”

What a fascinating piece of translation history.

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