Member of the French Translation Team: Franchita Cattani
Franchita reading the Introduction to the Course in French
This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
I was born in 1944 in St. Moritz, Switzerland, into a trilingual household (French, Italian and Swiss-German). After the usual schools and studies in German, English and French, it was clear that I wanted to become a translator. However, I first needed 20 years to try out other occupations.
Only after my divorce and return from France to Switzerland to become a psychologist, did 1984 finally bring a turning point in my life. I “found” A Course in Miracles and started translating in what can loosely be called the “esoteric field,” which I’ve been doing ever since.
In 1989 Judith Skutch Whitson, President of the Foundation for Inner Peace, insisted that I join the German translation team. As a professional translator I’d refused twice before to either translate or revise the German Course knowing full well what an impossible task that would be. But being told to undertake the job by Judy, I accepted and spent five years going twice more over the German Course with the original translator Margarethe Randow-Tesch and Gerhard Juckoff, the German publisher’s reviser. The co-operation was halting at first but improved increasingly until at the end it was very good indeed. It became quite clear that finding the best possible solutions to the myriad problems encountered were indeed the primary goal and not one or the other of us being right.
As far as understanding the Course goes, although I had read the Course for five years before joining the translation team, I still didn’t understand it very well. Since I was responsible for typing all corrections (including some of my own), during the revision of the German Course I had to concentrate on the form. Being one of those people who cannot do two things at a time, I was eager for the work to end in order to be able to plunge more deeply into its content. Nevertheless the primary benefit of those five years of co-operation with the team was the profound insights provided by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. Without his help it would have been impossible to work so well together and to incorporate layer after layer of understanding in the revision.
After Dr. William Whitson asked me to help the reviser of the French Course, I was surprised to find that the French translation was much more difficult than the German had been. Linguistic problems were not the reason. Despite all my experience with the Course before, during and after the German translation, the French translation forced me to face my incredible resistance to the fundamental ideas of the Course.
Thank God I was working with the professional translator and reviser, Denis Ouellet, whom I came to call “the thinker” and who developed not only an extraordinary grasp of this difficult material but was also blessed with an excellent memory. He quite became my “younger brother” in the process. Again with Kenneth Wapnick’s invaluable help we managed to reach the same excellent collaboration which had emerged in the German team.
A Course in Miracles is no ordinary course to be studied for one year and then forgotten. After 1992, I occasionally conducted workshops on the Course for German speakers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. For the next ten years, it became clear that many are attracted to the Course, but few stick with it. You really have to want to get out of the dream! Working on it twice really brought home the truth of the line from the Course: “Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough.” ( T-18.IV.2:1-2 )
I shall remain eternally grateful to Judy and William Whitson for their trust in setting me on this most uprooting (in the positive sense) venture of my life and supporting me all along as well as to Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick, (I never had such fun at work as with Ken) and the whole staff of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM). All of them cannot be thanked enough.
Franchita (Cattani), Les Bois (Switzerland), August 2005
Member of the French Translation Team: Denis Ouellet
Denis reading the Introduction to the Course in French
I was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1958 and almost immediately I started worrying about what would come next. (Although at first, I worried mostly about milk, as one might suspect.) And then I became a translator!
In 1997, I was asked to work on a previous incarnation of the French translation of the Course, first as a reviser and then as the new translator. At the time I, too, was “anything but spiritual.” I wasn’t searching for anything. I was just a translator and to me this was just a job. Yeah, right…
After six months, I was ready to commit semantic suicide, whatever that is. After a year, I called Kenneth Wapnick and told him I didn’t understand one single word I was reading, in both languages. He answered: “Good. It means you’re on the right track.”
I thought he was crazy… But I kept chugging along the best I could, spinning my wheels in the deep, deep snows of Lower Canada, until it was no longer possible to advance. And then Ken asked Franchita if she could help!
When I met Franchita Cattani, who had contributed previously to the German translation, and started working with her, everything changed. The book came alive. My ego, too. We reviewed every sentence, talked endlessly about every word, every nuance, and I fought her tooth and nail every time I did not get my way. And when I wasn’t fighting, I was pouting and holding a deep, deep sense of grievance against her. And all that time, during four long years, through all my tantrums, Franchita kept smiling and caring, keeping her eyes on the prize, high above my little battleground. I mean, thank you, thank you, thank you, Franchita cara, te amo.
The Course was published in French in 2005. Franchita and I still work together from time to time, revising the French translations of Dr. Wapnick’s books.
I am sorry to say we almost never fight like we used to.