A first status update

A Big Week

I have just completed a slightly manic week in which I have managed to produce rough drafts of all 12 issues of Internationale Situationniste.. There’s a lot more work to be done before they are ready for general consumption – however in the meantime if anyone is interested in obtaining a pdf copy of any of the issues in draft form just contact me via the comments.

What I’ll Be Aiming For

I thought that now I’ve reach the end of the initial stage, that it was an opportune time to explain how I intend to approach this project.

The goal I’m aiming for is to have each issue completely translated into English, and formatted as closely as I can manage to the French originals. Obviously there will need to be at least some compromise.

Because of the amount of work involved in finalising each issue, my plan at the moment is to make the individual pdf issues available one-at-a-time, probably at the start of each month.

In this case the beginning of August would see the “publishing” of a ‘final draft’ version of Internationale Situationniste 1, and if I am able to keep to the schedule Internationale Situationniste 12 will be available in July 2014.

I will personally be considering each issue as being in a ‘draft’ stage right up to the end of the project – and as I get the resources or feedback to allow me to improve on each I’ll attempt to do so and reupload the revisions.

So please be forgiving of the quality of the first few issues in their initial released state – I’m assuming that after a few months time I will have a better grasp of the correct layout – and will revise the earlier issues to reflect it.

Translations

At present only 5 issues are completely translated (1, 3, 4, 6 & 7), and due to my own lack of ability to add to the number of accurate translations (or indeed, even to read much French!), I only have the option of making use of the translations currently available. At present there are surprisingly few texts which remain untranslated, but it is a not insignificant number. So unless the work is, through good fortune, coincidentally done by others before I happen to be completing the relevant issue, some of the issues will remain incompletely translated.

Thankfully Anthony Hayes (via his blog Notes From the Sinister Quarter) is still actively making his own new translations available. I will be incorporating these as they become available. However, there may still be gaps remaining as I come to “publish” each issue and I am weighing up what to do in this case.

My initial thought (and what I have done in the current drafts) was to simply include the French text to function as a placeholder – though on reflection I realised that it adds nothing to the goal of the project.

So what I am experimenting with is putting together a non-literal “translation” (using Google Translate, my own limited knowledge of the French and a Collins French-English dictionary) that at least gives the gist of the text. Thankfully the vast majority of the untranslated texts are the more ”newsy’, less theoretical ones from the journal – and I believe that even when read in an inaccurate translation, they couldn’t lead to any meaningful distortion of the core ideas of the Situationists.

I have already tried my hand at 4 texts – and have been pleasantly surprised at how readable they have turned out (unlike the initial output of Google Translate!) and on checking against the original French how much they at least seem to reflect the original meaning.

At the moment my plan is to use these in the placeholder role in my drafts, with the intention of replacing them if real translations become available. Should I get to the point of “publishing” an issue and the text is still unavailable in translation, I’ll decide at that point what to. Any feedback on this point is welcome. Actually, thinking now, I think I’ll even take the decision to make the “translations” available on this blog – at the very least they may act as a goad for others to correct them!

Layout

All of my work up to now has been done on an iPad(!) – so the next stage for each issue is to move them across to a laptop to enable me to use more sophisticated software to allow me to more closely match fonts and layout.

Also at present all of the images I have used are simply clipped from pdfs of the original documents (available from Ubuweb). So as I work on each issue I will be replacing each of them with my own scans. I have have access to 5 originals of the journal as well as the Van Gennep facsimile – so I’m quite confident that my own scans will improve the quality and fidelity of the images.

A Request for Understanding

When you finally get to view the results of my work please keep in mind that I am not a graphic designer, and have limited time and experience. I can only promise that each issue will be as faithful to the originals as I can manage given my limitations.

In the future I will consider making my work available in an ‘open source’ format to allow further fine tuning to be taken on by other people.

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