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The question is on the highlighted sentence in this excerpt from Camus's The Stranger. The narrator is on trial for murder.

Même sur un banc d’accusé, il est toujours intéressant d’entendre parler de soi. Pendant les plaidoiries du procureur et de mon avocat, je peux dire qu’on a beaucoup parlé de moi et peut-être plus de moi que de mon crime. Étaient-elles si différentes, d’ailleurs, ces plaidoiries ? L’avocat levait les bras et plaidait coupable, mais avec excuses. Le procureur tendait ses mains et dénonçait la culpabilité, mais sans excuses. Une chose pourtant me gênait vaguement. Malgré mes préoccupations, j’étais parfois tenté d’intervenir et mon avocat me disait alors : « Taisez-vous, cela vaut mieux pour votre affaire. » En quelque sorte, on avait l’air de traiter cette affaire en dehors de moi. Tout se déroulait sans mon intervention. Mon sort se réglait sans qu’on prenne mon avis. De temps en temps, j’avais envie d’interrompre tout le monde et de dire : « Mais tout de même, qui est l’accusé ? C’est important d’être l’accusé. Et j’ai quelque chose à dire. » Mais réflexion faite, je n’avais rien à dire. D’ailleurs, je dois reconnaître que l’intérêt qu’on trouve à occuper les gens ne dure pas longtemps. Par exemple, la plaidoirie du procureur m’a très vite lassé. Ce sont seulement des fragments, des gestes ou des tirades entières, mais détachées de l’ensemble, qui m’ont frappé ou ont éveillé mon intérêt.

QUESTION

Am I right to understand it this way:

It means exactly what it's literal translation would mean: "Besides, I must admit that the interest one finds in occupying the people (i.e. people's attention) does not last a long time." Namely, the narrator found himself being talked about ("occupying the people"), and it was interesting for a while to him (the narrator), but not for long.

BACKGROUND

I ask because two of the translations I have seem to get it right, but another (Matthew Ward's) seems to get it wrong.

Stuart Gilbert:

In any case, I must admit that hearing oneself talked about loses its interest very soon.

Uli Aumüller:

Außerdem muß ich zugeben, daß der Reiz des Interessanten, den es hat, wenn sich die Leute mit einem beschäftigen, nicht lange anhält.

Matthew Ward:

Besides, I have to admit that whatever interest you get people to take in you doesn't last very long.

According to Ward, you would think the narrator's concern was to remain interesting to the people, like an entertainer worried about his rating.

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    @comet hapax d'ajax Please ignore the bit about an "entertainer" (because apparently it only confused the issue). Analytically speaking, my question comes to: who is supposed to have and shortly afterwards lose interest? According to Ward, les gens take and then lose interest. By Gilbert (and, maybe less clearly, Aumüller), Meursault (the narrator) takes and then loses interest. It seems to me that these two readings are so different that they cannot be both right. Do you mean they can both be right? – Catomic Apr 9 '16 at 8:19
  • the whole point of keeping people busy.....intérêt can be translated as point. ne pas avoir intérêt à faire quelque chose=to be no point in. and, occuper les gens means to keep people busy.....I have to acknowledge that the whole point in keeping people busy does not last a long time.... – Lambie Apr 9 '16 at 20:21
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Your analysis/understanding of the sentence is absolutely correct and verified by the example given in the next sentence:

Par exemple, la plaidoirie du procureur m’a très vite lassé.

Meursault (the narrator) perceives his trial as a show whose purpose is to occupy the audience but hearing himself discussed makes him rapidly lose interest in his own trial.

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