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There's a translation error in Project Gutenberg's English-language version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I'd like to know whose translation was being used which contained this mistake. But in the Project Gutenberg text I can't find the name of the translator anywhere.

Do Project Gutenberg translated texts mention the translator's name anywhere by default? Maybe on some meta/info page which I didn't find? If not, how can I find this piece of information given what details the Project Gutenberg text does provide?

  • (This question was inspired by a particular book, but it's a general question about Project Gutenberg, so no need for work/author tags.) – Rand al'Thor Mar 3 at 18:04
  • I can provide the translation information from my physical copy of Monte Cristo which seems to be the same as used by Gutenberg, but I don't know if that really addresses your question here. – Alex Mar 3 at 18:21
  • @Alex That's cheating! Or more seriously, no, it doesn't help with the question of how to get the info from PG, for those who aren't lucky enough to have a physical copy of the exact same edition. – Rand al'Thor Mar 3 at 18:23
  • Well then, strictly as a comment, it says: Translation first published by Chapman and Hall (1846). The name of the translator was never revealed. – Alex Mar 3 at 18:27
  • @Alex OOH! :-O Maybe that's why PG doesn't have the translator's name for this book, and it does for books where the translator is known! – Rand al'Thor Mar 3 at 18:28
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While the title page and the illustrations on Project Gutenberg match the 1888 Routledge edition, the text does not. Searching on Google books, one can find a scanned version of the Count of Monte Cristo that has the same text as the Project Gutenberg edition. This edition has copyright 1894, by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. (the publishers). It includes a "Publisher's Note" (not included on PG) that gives some detail of the translation process. Unfortunately, it doesn't give the name of the translator.

Excerpted from the "Publisher's Note":

In the present revised edition, upwards of fifteen thousand such faults have been corrected. Great pains have been taken to represent the original faithfully in correct English. Technical terms have been expressed in accurate correspondents. The nautical phrases, so ludicrous in all other English translations, have been revised by a French Man-of-War's man, an Ex-Lieutenant of the United States Navy, and an experienced commander in the Merchant Service.

So an unnamed committee translated it, presumably based heavily on some earlier translation or translations. Wikipedia says that this translation was first published in 1889, and is based on an anonymous 1846 translation published by Chapman and Hall.

  • Are you sure the 1894 Crowell & Co. edition has the same text as the 1888 Routledge edition that was the basis for the Project Gutenberg edition? – Gareth Rees Mar 3 at 22:39
  • @Gareth: Good question. There are several identical sentences that appear in both the 1894 Crowell edition and the Routledge edition that have been revised from the 1846 Chapman and Hall edition. And Wikipedia says the Crowell and Co. edition first appeared in 1889, and doesn't mention the 1888 Routledge edition (since Routledge was primarily a British publisher, they might have published their edition only in the U.K. and not competed with Crowell and Co.). – Peter Shor Mar 3 at 22:43
  • So I suspect that Routledge acquired the British rights to the Crowell & Co. edition, and managed to publish it in the year before the Crowell & Co. edition came out. – Peter Shor Mar 3 at 22:49
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    The 1888 Routledge edition is here — it has the title pages and illustrations from the Project Gutenberg edition, but the text is different! So there's a mystery as to where PG got the text from. – Gareth Rees Mar 3 at 22:50
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    The 1901 Crowell & Co. edition is here — this matches the PG text, at least for the first page. – Gareth Rees Mar 3 at 22:58
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Do Project Gutenberg translated texts mention the translator's name anywhere by default?

Yes, they do. At least for books that have a single known translator. It's in the frontmatter section at the very top of the HTML file, before the text itself or even the front cover image. I checked a few other examples of translated texts on Project Gutenberg:

So, in general, Project Gutenberg appears to be good at including the translator as well as the author when they publish translated texts. The reason why they didn't do so in the particular case of The Count of Monte Cristo is that (as discussed in other comments and answers on this page) the translator is unknown.

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