As we have seen on the Ideas page, translators are individuals, and they are influenced by other texts and other people. Translation is not a technical process that can simply go well or badly, but rather the imaginative work of human beings interacting with their language(s) in particular places and times.
Jane Eyre has been translated by many individuals, of many kinds. Some are prolific, professional translators; some are also novelists or poets; some are feminist activists and intellectuals; some are writers for children; some are academics; some are Brontë fans who have translated only this one novel. Some are talented stylists, others less so. All of them, working in collaboration with the varied materials of their language(s), have introduced change – have developed the imaginative potential of Jane Eyre in new directions.
Yet, about many of these imaginative and creative individuals, very little is known. Many translations have been published anonymously. When there is a translator’s name attached, it can be hard to find out anything, or anything much, about that person.
Here are brief lives of a few of the many people who have translated Jane Eyre. They are listed in chronological order of the publication of their translations. Since I wish them to appear above all as individuals I have chosen not to arrange them by language (though the different languages are indicated by the colours that shine through when your cursor hovers): as soon as you click on a name the language will appear, together with the biography.
Text by Matthew Reynolds