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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 5:07pm Post subject: Translating Fry
Eons ago, in one of the very first threads of this lovely forum, Canzonett raised the question whether Mr Fry's works, given his wit and linguistic idiosyncrasies, could be translated adequately to other languages. I still think this is a very interesting question. Since here are not only some native speakers but also quite a number of people who are proficient in German I went and borrowed the German edition of "Paperweight" from the library. I thought it might be interesting to post excerpts in both English and German in order to discuss the translation.
My first excerpt derives from one of my favourite Fry texts ever and is the source of my (mutilated) signature:

Trefusis Blasphemes

A lifetime's commitment to a church is a noble thing, and those who embrace their faith with strength will find that the sniggerings of the unfaithful glance off them harmlessly; but those who doubt it, or who have allowed the glory and the politics of rank and favour within the Church to mean more to them than their faith itself, then they certainly will quiver with baffled vanity and scared outrage at every joke or squib.
'But people, the ordinary faithful, are offended by crude comic blasphemies,' voices are raised to tell me. Yes indeed. But what of my religion? I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse to ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish. [...] Oh I'm too old to care. Let these hideous cassocked apes raise the tyrannical ghosts of dead statutes, let them clap their warty hands over the mouths of those who would speak, let them be consumed by their own vanity.

Trefusis lästert

Ein lebenslanges Bekenntnis zu einer Kirche ist eine feine Sache, und wer einen Glauben voller Zuversicht sein eigen nennen darf, wird merken, dass das Gekicher der Ungläubigen von ihm abprallt, ohne Schaden anzurichten; aber die Zweifler oder jene, die zugelassen haben, dass Glanz und Politik, Rang und Protektion in der Kirche ihnen mehr bedeuten als ihr Glauben, die müssen natürlich bei jedem Witz oder Knallfrosch zittern vor verletzter Eitelkeit und verängstigter Wut.
'Aber die einfachen Leute, die normalen Gläubigen werden von primitiven, komischen Blasphemien doch gekränkt', höre ich Stimmen mir widersprechen. Das stimmt. Aber was ist mit meiner Religion? Ich liebe die Wahrheit, verehre die Freiheit, verneige mich vor dem Altar der Sprache, Reinheit und Toleranz. Das ist meine Religion, und alltäglich werde ich von tausend verschiedenen Blasphemien wider sie auf das schmerzlichste, gröblichste, abscheulichste und tiefste gekränkt, verletzt, beschämt und verwundet. Wenn von törichten Bischöfen, aufgeblasenen, engstirnigen und ungehobelten Pfaffen, Politikern und Prälaten, bigotten Zensoren, selbsternannten Moralwächtern und Wichtigtuern stündlich gegen die grundlegendsten Begriffe von Wahrheit, Ehrlichkeit, Mitleid und Anstand verstoßen wird, auf welche althergebrachten Gesetze kann ich mich dann berufen? Auf überhaupt keine. Ich will auch gar nicht nach ihnen rufen. Denn im Gegensatz zu diesen mörderischen Trotteln ist mein Glaube an meine Religion fest, und ich weiß, daß Lügen stets vergebens sind und daß Lasterhaftigkeit und Intoleranz immer vergehen werden. [...] Ach, ich bin alt genug, dass es mir egal sein kann. Sollen diese elenden Talaraffen doch die tyrannischen Geister toter Statuten beschwören, sollen sie doch jenen ihre verwarzten Pranken vor den Mund halten, die aufzubegehren wagen, sollen sie doch von der eigenen Hoffart verzehrt werden.

Some thoughts:
All in all I think the translation manages to transport language and content really well and some things are brilliantly solved. However, the translator seems to have a slight tendency to remove himself too far from his source. For example, in another paragraph of the same text he translates "humourless ceric" with "humorloser Kuttenbrunzer" (= frock pisser), which is not true to the original and therefore uncalled for. I've found that I would have chosen a lot of different expressions and vocabulary which, in my opinion, would have reflected Trefusis' character a bit stronger - but this may be down to personal style as well.

So what are your opinions, thoughts, comments? What would you have done differently? Judging from this small example, does this translation provide 'real Fry' to a non-English reader? Any other excerpt of Paperweight you would like to compare?

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Daria


Member

Posted Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 8:16pm Post subject: Translating Fry
I am reading paperweight at the moment. At the first page is an extract from the Daily Mail. "....and the glory of having seen him so often on the screen is that he comes alive in your imagination to deliver the lines he has written"

Even if the translation is very well done, this is always missing. I have been reading some of his books in German and when I started with my first english one, which was "Making History", that was exactly what I thought. Michael Young often sounds like Stephen. For me this is the reason why the original version has this special charm no translation can keep up with.

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Mon Jun 4th, 2007 10:34pm Post subject: Translating Fry
Oh Soupy Twist, you should have never asked. I have checked the translation against the original and spotted a few things which I would like to point out - please feel free to disagree:

a. why has this part of the sentence been rendered in the singular and the second half in the plural? The additional problem being that “an ihm abprallt” may be misunderstood as relating to “Glauben”
b. strength, IMHO, is not adequately rendered by “Zuversicht” (which implies hopefulness)
c. “sein eigen nennen DARF” implies having been given permission by e.g. a third party, which is not the case here, as the “strength” is inherent to those who embrace their faith
d. squib --> Knallfrosch ???? (I´m not happy with my suggestion either, but Knallfrosch )
e. the original reads “politics OF rank and favour” which has been rendered as “politics, rank and favour” – does make a difference I think
f. “mörderische Trottel”?? LEO gives “mörderisch” for blistering, true, but why mörderisch of all adjectives?
g. “Ich bin alt genug, dass es mir egal sein kann” ? Sounds a bit like Oscar Wildes „I am not young enough to know everything“.

Trefusis Blasphemes
A lifetime's commitment to a church is a noble thing, and those who embrace their faith with strength will find that the sniggerings of the unfaithful glance off them harmlessly; but those who doubt it, or who have allowed the glory and the politics of rank and favour within the Church to mean more to them than their faith itself, then they certainly will quiver with baffled vanity and scared outrage at every joke or squib.
'But people, the ordinary faithful, are offended by crude comic blasphemies,' voices are raised to tell me. Yes indeed. But what of my religion? I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse to ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish. [...] Oh I'm too old to care. Let these hideous cassocked apes raise the tyrannical ghosts of dead statutes, let them clap their warty hands over the mouths of those who would speak, let them be consumed by their own vanity.

I have even been bold enough to have a go myself (now that´s pretentious I know, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and hey, feel free to criticise me (I´ve deserved it...) X-D It is always easier to revise an existing translation and I am certainly not trying to undermine the original translator´s authority (I think he´s translated all of Mr Fry´s books... so one should think that he is pretty good! )

Quote:
Trefusis lästert
Ein lebenslanges Bekenntnis zu einer Kirche ist eine hehre Sache, und jene, die voll und ganz in ihrem Glauben aufgehen, werden merken, dass das Gekicher der Ungläubigen an ihnen abprallt, ohne Spuren zu hinterlassen; die Zweifler aber, oder jene, die dem Glanz, dem Hierarchiespiel und der Vetternwirtschaft innerhalb der Kirche mehr Bedeutung haben zukommen lassen als ihrem Glauben selbst, müssen dann natürlich bei jedem Witz oder jeder Anspielung zittern vor verletzter Eitelkeit und verängstigter Wut.
'Aber die einfachen Leute, die normalen Gläubigen fühlen sich doch durch primitive, lachhafte Blasphemien gekränkt', höre ich Stimmen mir widersprechen. Das stimmt. Aber was ist mit meiner Religion? Ich liebe die Wahrheit, verehre die Freiheit, verneige mich vor dem Altar der Sprache, Reinheit und Toleranz. Das ist meine Religion, und alltäglich werde ich von tausend verschiedenen Blasphemien wider sie auf das schmerzlichste, gröblichste, abscheulichste und tiefste gekränkt, verletzt, gedemütigt und verwundet. Wenn von törichten Bischöfen, aufgeblasenen, engstirnigen und ungehobelten Pfaffen, Politikern und Prälaten, bigotten Zensoren, selbsternannten Tugendrichtern und Wichtigtuern stündlich gegen die grundlegendsten Begriffe von Wahrheit, Ehrlichkeit, Mitgefühl und Anstand verstoßen wird, auf welche althergebrachten Gesetze kann ich mich dann berufen? Auf überhaupt keine. Ich will auch gar nicht nach ihnen verlangen. Denn im Unterschied zu diesen unverbesserlich schwachsinnigen Individuen ist mein Glaube an meine Religion gefestigt, und ich weiß, dass Lügen stets zum Scheitern verurteilt sind und dass Lasterhaftigkeit und Intoleranz keinen Fortbestand haben. [...] Aber in meinem Alter kann es mir nun wirklich egal sein. Sollen diese elenden Talaraffen doch die tyrannischen Geister toter Statuten beschwören, sollen sie doch jenen, die aufzubegehren wagen, mit ihren verwarzten Pranken den Mund verbieten, sollen sie doch von der eigenen Hoffart verzehrt werden.

Ultimately, Daria, you are absolutely right! The fact that Mr Fry is so "omnipresent" does make him come alive in one´s imagination to deliver the lines he has written! This may make any translator´s life incredibly difficult, but on the other hand, we will never really know what he would sound like in German (despite having heard him speak German on WDYTYA? and one of the QI recordings I attended) and the least a translator can do is render those beautifully crafted sentences in the most respectful manner possible, and with TLC

Soupy Twist, what a great excerpt you selected Would you feel inclined to share another excerpt from Paperweight, for instance "Trefusis Overdresses"? It´s been a while since I last read it, but I remember finding it delightfully amusing

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Tue Jun 5th, 2007 3:53pm Post subject: Translating Fry
Daria, you're absolutely right and I think we all agree that no translation can ever equal the original, especially not with autors who are dear to us. But where would we be without translations? The vast majority of the world's literature would be lost for us. And some translators are really, really good and manage to capture style and content of the original perfectly. Others don't. Since we're all familiar with Mr Fry's works I believe it's interesting and fun to see what a translator has made of it and what we would do differently to come as close to Fry as possible.

Brilliant, Gerti! Your own translation is not presumptious at all but a real improvement both in content and language! Some of the points you mentioned irked me myself (blistering imbeciles, squib, compassion for Mitgefühl instead of Mitleid). But you managed to point out correctly how the tranlator shifted a lot of meanings by ill-chosen vocabulary (beschämt for humiliated *shudder* - he doesn't seem to know what beschämt really means). In addition I would have translated
- "yes indeed" not with "das stimmt", but with "in der Tat". This is a bit old fashioned but seems to fit Trefusis' style.
- "oh I'm too old to care" with "Ich bin zu alt, um mich darüber aufzuregen" though aufregen is not quite the same as care.

I can absolutely see how good translators agonise over every word. This is fun, though. Therefore I'm delighted to provide you with excerpt 1 of

Trefusis Overdresses

Imagine therefore my pleasure when, earlier this week, an old pupil of mine, now an international spy of growing reputation, invited me to meet him there to witness a new production of La Traviata directed by Sir Peter, Sir Peter, Sir Peter whatever it is.
I could barely stand still and let Glambidge, my gyp, tie my tie, stud my studs and brace my braces, so excited was I on the day appointed. I love to wear the full festive fig; an American girl once told me that it made me look kinda sexy and these things linger in the memory. My particular nightmare is overdressing, and Glyndebourne has at least the advantage of particular rules of dress. Black tie or nothing. Though I suspect nothing would be frowned upon, if not barred outright.
Glambidge and I arrived in good time to miss the first act. I shan't blame Glambidge, he drove that Wolseley to the limit. Unfortunately its limits appears to be nineteen miles per hour. Howsomever, we had five minutes to pass before the interval, minutes I filled insoecting the grounds and wondering at the particularly penetrating quality of fine cold driving summer rain. In due course the act ended and the auditorium filed out of the - well, the auditorium.
Ladies and gentlemen, mother, friends: imagine my mortification, picture my distress, conceive of my chagrin. That audience of opera-goers was dressed, each man jack or woman jill of them, in what I can only describe as the most appalling collectionof day wear. The only black ties to be seen were those about the neck of the Front of House staff. My old pupil hastened up to me. "Why, Professor," he shrieked. "Whatever are you dressed up like that for? This is the dress rehearsal - I thought you knew."
I had come for the public dress rehearsal in evening dress.

To be continued.

Since it is easier to examine an already existing translation how about we try to come up with our own translation before we compare it to the 'official' one? (and I promise I won't cheat, though the text is really difficult to translate).

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Tue Jun 5th, 2007 5:41pm Post subject: Translating Fry
In order to embarrass myself as good as possible this is my own feeble attempt of a translation of said excerpt:

Trefusis zieht sich zu elegant an

Stellen Sie sich deshalb meine Freude vor, als mich diese Woche einer meiner ehemaligen Studenten, heute ein international tätiger Spion von wachsender Reputation, dorthin einlud, um ihn zu treffen und mit ihm einer neuen Inszenierung von La Traviata unter der musikalischen Leitung von Sir Peter, Sir Peter, Sir Peter wieauchimmer beizuwohnen.
Ich konnte kaum stillhalten und Glambidge, meinen Diener, meine Fliege binden, meine Manschettenknöpfe anbringen und meine Hosenträger befestigen lassen, so aufgeregt war ich am vereinbarten Tag. Ich liebe es, den Festornat zu tragen. Eine junge Amerikanerin sagte mir einst, dass er mich irgendwie sexy macht, und sowas bleibt einem natürlich im Gedächtnis. Mein größter Alptraum ist zu elegante Garderobe, aber wenigstens bietet Glyndebourne den Vorteil strenger Kleidervorschriften. Entweder Abendgarderobe oder gar nichts, obwohl ich mir vorstellen kann, dass 'gar nichts' Stirnrunzeln hervorriefe, wenn nicht gar auf der Stelle einen Hinauswurf nach sich zöge.
Glambidge und ich kamen gerade rechtzeitig an, um den ersten Akt zu verpassen. Glambidge trifft keine Schuld, immerhin beschleunigte er seinen Wolseley bis zum Anschlag. Nur leider scheint dessen Anschlag bei 19 mph zu liegen. Wie auch immer, wir hatten noch fünf Minuten Zeit bis zum Beginn der Pause, Minuten, die ich damit verbrachte, das Gelände zu inspizieren und mir Gedanken zu machen über die besonders durchnässende Eigenschaft eines schönen, kalten, strömenden Sommerregens. Zur rechten Zeit war der Akt zuende und das Publikum entströmte dem - nun ja, dem Zuhörerraum.
Meine Damen und Herren, Mutter, Freunde: stellen Sie sich meine Demütigung vor, malen Sie sich meine Qual aus, versuchen Sie, meine Verlegenheit zu ermessen. Dieses Opernpublikum, wirklich Jeder und Jede, trug das, was ich wirklich nur als allerscheußlichste Ansammlung von Alltagskleidung beschreiben kann. Die einzig sichtbaren schwarzen Fliegen hingen um die Hälse der Angestellten im Foyer. Mein ehemaliger Schüler stürzte auf mich zu. "Aber Herr Professor", rief er schrill, "wozu haben Sie sich denn so aufgebrezelt? Dies ist die Generalprobe - ich dachte, Sie wüßten das."
Ich war zur öffentlichen Generalprobe in Abendkleidung gekommen.

I'm open for any comment and criticism

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Tue Jun 5th, 2007 7:37pm Post subject: Translating Fry
In addition I would have translated
- "yes indeed" not with "das stimmt", but with "in der Tat". This is a bit old fashioned but seems to fit Trefusis' style.
- "oh I'm too old to care" with "Ich bin zu alt, um mich darüber aufzuregen" though aufregen is not quite the same as care.

Since it is easier to examine an already existing translation how about we try to come up with our own translation before we compare it to the 'official' one? (and I promise I won't cheat, though the text is really difficult to translate).

Hi Soupy Twist!
Exactly! Yes indeed should have been translated as "in der Tat" as it befits Trefusis (I glanced at it for a second, but then decided not to change YET another thing...)
and your second suggestions i excellent! The "Oh" just had to go in the German, really!

As for your translation, I HAVE NOT looked at it and I won´t for the time being, but I have to do a bit of overtime before I can dig my teeth into excerpt No. 1 of "Trefusis Overdresses" please bear with me!!!
I hope I´ll get it done by tomorrow evening :-//

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Tue Jun 5th, 2007 7:52pm Post subject: Translating Fry

As for your translation, I HAVE NOT looked at it and I won´t for the time being, but I have to do a bit of overtime before I can dig my teeth into excerpt No. 1 of "Trefusis Overdresses" please bear with me!!!
I hope I´ll get it done by tomorrow evening :-//

O no, you have neither to apology nor to justify yourself - this isn't important!

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Tue Jun 5th, 2007 10:40pm Post subject: Translating Fry
Oh, it wasn´t meant to be an apology, just for me "to buy" some time , but actually I could not resist and tried my best:

Trefusis fällt aus der „Kleider“-Rolle

Man stelle sich daher meine Freude vor als mich Anfang der Woche einer meiner früheren Studenten, jetzt nunmehr international tätiger Spion, der sich langsam einen Namen macht, einlud, ihn dort zu treffen, um Ohren- und Augenzeuge einer neuen Produktion von La Traviata unter der Leitung von Sir Peter, Sir Peter, Sir Peter was-weiß-ich, zu sein.

Ich war kaum in der Lage still zu stehen, um mir von meinem Diener Glambidge die Fliege binden, die Manschettenknöpfe anstecken und die Hosenträger umlegen zu lassen, so aufgeregt war ich an besagtem Tage. Ich ziehe nun mal gerne alle Register in puncto Abendkleidung; eine junge Amerikanerin meinte einmal zu mir, dass ich darin irgendwie sexy aussähe, und daran erinnert Mann sich natürlich. Mein größte Angst ist es allerdings, überelegant gekleidet zu erscheinen, wobei es dem Vorteil gereicht, dass für Glyndebourne zumindest eindeutige Kleidungsvorschriften existieren. Entweder Smoking oder gar nichts. Wenngleich sich mir der Verdacht aufdrängt, dass man bei „gar nichts“ mit offenkundiger Missbilligung, wenn nicht sofortigem Hinauswurf, zu rechnen hätte.

Gambidge und ich kamen gerade rechtzeitig an, um den ersten Akt zu versäumen. Ich kann Glambidge keinerlei Vorwurf machen, er holte das Allerletzte aus dem Wolseley heraus. Unglücklicherweise scheint es sich dabei um eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von etwa dreißig Stundenkilometern zu handeln. Wie dem auch sei, es blieben uns bis zur Pause noch fünf Minuten, die ich damit zubrachte, die Umgebung auszukundschaften und mit Verwunderung festzustellen, wie durchdringend und kalt der Fahrtwind den feinen Sommerregen hatte werden lassen. Der Akt endete denn auch, und aus dem Publikumssaal kam reihenweise, wie sollte es anders sein, das Publikum.
Meine Damen und Herren, liebe Mutter, Freunde: man stelle sich meine Demütigung vor, man mache sich ein Bild von meiner Drangsal, man verinnerliche sich meine Pein. Das Opernpublikum war - allesamt - in einem Aufzug, den ich nur als das entsetzlichste Sammelsurium an Alltagskleidung zu beschreiben vermag. Einzig an den Hälsen des Foyerpersonals prangten schwarze Fliegen. Mein früherer Student kam zu mir gelaufen. „Um Himmels Willen, Professor“ platzte er hervor. „Wofür haben Sie sich denn so in Schale geschmissen? Das ist doch die Generalprobe – Ich hab´ gedacht, Sie wüßten das.“

Ich war zu einer öffentlichen Generalprobe in Abendgarderobe erschienen.

Wow, I like your translation a lot, Soupy Twist Aufgebrezelt X-D X-D that is hilarious - I just love it, I can virtually hear you say it, in that typical Bavarian dialect, aaww! (Aufgeweißwürschtelt ??? )

Inszenierung is definitely better than Produktion. I found directed a little difficult to interpret....

I wonder how we´ve done in comparison to the "official" translation

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Wed Jun 6th, 2007 11:05am Post subject: Translating Fry
Wow, if Mr Fry ever needs a translator for one of his books again, he should look no further - I daresay you did once more a better job than the 'official' translator. I especially like your carefully chosen vocabulary - e.g. vermochte, which is so much more Trefusis than konnte. I'm also very glad to see that our versions mostly differ in style but not content, except the "and wondering at the particularly penetrating quality of fine cold driving summer rain" passage, which I seem to have mucked up (though my dictionary told me that "driving rain" could be "strömender Regen").

Inszenierung is definitely better than Produktion. I found directed a little difficult to interpret....
I believe that this refers to the conductor. As a longtime Gramophone reader I learned that conductor and director are pretty much synonyms, but in this case it's really hard to say.

I wonder how we´ve done in comparison to the "official" translation

Here it is:

Trefusis übertreibt die Eleganz

Malen sie sich also aus, wie hocherfreut ich war, als Anfang dieser Woche einer meiner ehemaligen Studenten, heute ein international agierender Spion von wachsendem Ansehen, mich einlud, ihn dort zu treffen und mir eine Neuinszenierung von La Traviata anzusehen, unter der Regie von Sir Peter, Sir Peter, Sir Peter irgendwas.
Ich vermochte kaum stillzuhalten und Glambidge, meinen Adlatus, meine Binde binden, meine Kragenknöpfe knöpfen und meinen Gürtel gürten zu lassen, so aufgeregt war ich, als der Tag gekommen war. Ich liebe das Anliegen des vollen Festwichses; eine junge Amerikanerin verriet mir einst, daß ich darin "irngwie sexy" [sic] aussehe, und sowas vergißt man nicht. Mein persönlicher Albtraum ist, die Eleganz zu übertreiben, und Glyndebourne hat wenigstens den Vorteil festgelegter Garderoberegeln. Smoking oder gar nichts. Allerdings nehme ich an, gar nichts würde mit einem Stirnrunzeln bedacht, wenn nicht mit Ausschluß geahndet.
Glambidge und ich kamen gerade noch rechtzeitig an, um den ersten Satz zu versäumen. Glambidge trifft keine Schuld, er holte das Äußerste aus dem Wolseley heraus. Dummerweise scheint dieses Äußerste bei neunundzwanzig Kilometern pro Stunde zu liegen. Wie dem auch sei, wir konnten uns vor der Pause noch fünf Minuten lang die Zeit vertreiben, Minuten, in denen ich das Gelände sondierte und mir Gedanken über die besonders durchdringende Qualität feinen, kalten, sommerlichen Fahrtregens machte. Der Akt endete zu gegebener Zeit, und die Zuschauer strömten aus dem - na ja, dem Zuschauerraum heraus.
Meine Damen und Herren, Mutter, Freunde: Stellen Sie sich meine Verlegenheit vor, veranschaulichen Sie sich meine Verzweiflung, denken Sie sich meine Bekümmerung. Dieses Opernpublikum, jeder einzelne Herr Hans und jede einzelne Frau Grete, trug etwas, das ich nur als die allerentsetzlichste Ansammlung von Alltagskleidung beschreiben kann. Die einzigen sichtbaren schwarzen Binder schlangen sich um die Hälse des Saalpersonals. Mein ehemaliger Student eilte auf mich zu. "Aber Herr Professor", gellte er, "wofür haben Sie sich denn bloß so herausgeputzt? Das ist heute doch die Generalprobe - ich dachte, Sie wüßten Bescheid."
Ich war zur öffentlichen Generalprobe in Abendgarderobe erschienen.

We did not bad, Gerti
- directed by / unter der Regie: I still don't know what directed refers to
- meine Binde binden etc.: This is a basic decision whether to preserve the style to the detriment of the content or vice versa. He went for the style, we went for the content. I have to admit that "die Binde binden" etc. sounds true to Trefusis' somewhat eccentric way of expressing himself. But still, how many Kragenknöpfe does one have? Smoking and Gürtel? Certainly not. Binde(r) for Fliege sounds awful.
- Festwichs: not bad, since "fig" and Wichs seem to be related.
- "irgnwie sexy": I didn't find any indication that the American girl was unable to articulate herself.
- wir konnten uns vor der Pause noch fünf Minuten lang die Zeit vertreiben: konnten? Not really what it says.
- kalten, sommerlichen Fahrtregens: what exactly is Fahrtregen?
- Herr Hans, Frau Grete: I don't think that to translate into German means to "Germanise". As a translator I would try to transport the very English atmosphere of Glyndebourne. He took a figure of speech too literally.

Hmmm. I'm very much looking forward to you comments (excerpt no 2 will have to wait until tomorrow - we all deserve a little break ;-)).

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Wed Jun 6th, 2007 9:41pm Post subject: Translating Fry
I suggest we´d let Mr Fry decide, if and when the situation arises. X-D

I prefer “beiwohnen” to “Ohren- und Augenzeuge”, I think Trefusis would have used the former.

Aaah, the fine cold driving summer rain was a tricky one! I am glad you are convinced it sounds okay, at least one of us does… if you want to know how I arrived at my version, which may not necessarily be correct, mind you, let me know…

Gramophone reader, oh dearie me. I, quite honestly, was thinking of Peter Sellars who, according to the German Wikipedia (how reliable is that?), also worked his magic at the Glyndebourne Festival and I would not associate him with “musikalischer Leiter”, but as you rightly stated, it was not quite clear..

We did not bad, at all, Soupy Twist
- directed by / unter der Regie: I still don't know what directed refers to // I did not have the nerve to put Regie.
- in one sentence Mr Translator uses Regie, in the next he uses Adiatus (never heard that word before…but sounds very “Trefusis-esque”)
- meine Binde binden etc.: I could not agree more! There are limits to the translatability of Fry-isms, and he loves to do that (I am currently reading the Incomplete and Utter etc. and just came across the sentence relating to Napoleon´s various “job titles”, “stroke President, stroke blabla, stroke my inner thigh” – this is virtually impossible to emulate in a translation, as in the first two instances we are talking about obliques, i.e. nouns, and in the last bit it is a verb. Aaargh !) As for Kragenknöpfe: apart from the limited number of studs in a collar, they are likely to be hidden behind the bowtie anyway…
- Festwichs: not bad, since "fig" and Wichs seem to be related. // Are they indeed? I have never heard of wichs
- "irgnwie sexy": I didn't find any indication that the American girl was unable to articulate herself. // the translator inserted a [sic], I cannot believe it! We do that in patents when there are blatant technical errors, not because of some colloquial expression.
- mit Ausschluß – how very interesting!! Use your imagination, mate!
- wir konnten uns vor der Pause noch fünf Minuten lang die Zeit vertreiben: konnten? Not really what it says. // If it weren´t so sad I could laugh myself half silly.
- kalten, sommerlichen Fahrtregens: what exactly is Fahrtregen? Oh c´mon [sic] Soupy Twist, everybody knows that, or do they??? Mr Translator seems to know...
- Herr Hans, Frau Grete: I don't think that to translate into German means to "Germanise". As a translator I would try to transport the very English atmosphere of Glyndebourne. He took a figure of speech too literally. // I won´t comment, I am getting into one of my sarcastic moods… never a good sign!

Another few things I spotted:
- den ersten SATZ?? Of La Traviata? They would not have missed a lot then, eh? I mean the first sentence is uttered only minutes into the play…
- Holte das Äußerste heraus: is that correct German?
- 19 miles are 30.5 km/h, according to some converter on the internet, so why 29 km/h?
- denken Sie sich meine Bekümmernis? No way, I am going to do that… and why Bekümmernis (grief), nobody´s died…
- trug etwas, das... : sounds almost as if they were carrying some item of clothing around rather than wear it
- schlangen sich um den Hals: sounds a bit like a bowtie constrictor

Soupy Twist, I am beginning to wonder how translators are selected for specific jobs. Do they submit a test piece, does the author have a say in that?

I think, in Mr Fry´s case, they should have taken an exam first to obtain a certificate of proficiency, e.g.
- how many ABOFAL episodes have you watched so far, name at least 10 and provide quotes for each one of them
- try to characterise Mr Fry´s linguistic style
- specify at least three peculiarities of his style
- do you actually enjoy reading his books or is your bank balance telling you that you had better secure this job?

X-D X-D

(excerpt no 2 will have to wait until tomorrow - we all deserve a little break ).
Fine by me, this is our personal thread, anyway - but I am really enjoying this If you don´t mind copy-typing the excerpt. otherwise, I could offer to do it next, should we decide to carry on with out little passtime. I am the proud owner of Paperweight as well, you know

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Thu Jun 7th, 2007 9:32am Post subject: Translating Fry
edit: double post deleted.

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Thu Jun 7th, 2007 9:37am Post subject: Translating Fry

convinced it sounds okay, at least one of us does… if you want to know how I arrived at my version, which may not necessarily be correct, mind you, let me know…
o please, I think you got it right and I'd be interested how you got there. For my part this was the trickiest part and it's astonishing that even the translator got it wrong.-

Festwichs: not bad, since "fig" and Wichs seem to be related. // Are they indeed? I have never heard of wichs
"Wichs" is was members of student fraternities use to call their full attire complete with sabre etc. and this somehow remained for very formal dress. I really see a linguistic relation between those two words.

- "irgnwie sexy": I didn't find any indication that the American girl was unable to articulate herself. // the translator inserted a [sic], I cannot believe it! We do that in patents when there are blatant technical errors, not because of some colloquial expression.
:-// That was me. I wanted to indicate that this isn't a typo of mine but true translatorial genius of Mr Translator. I should have marked that somehow. My bad :-//
- mit Ausschluß – how very interesting!! Use your imagination, mate!
- wir konnten uns vor der Pause noch fünf Minuten lang die Zeit vertreiben: konnten? Not really what it says. // If it weren´t so sad I could laugh myself half silly.
- kalten, sommerlichen Fahrtregens: what exactly is Fahrtregen? Oh c´mon [sic] Soupy Twist, everybody knows that, or do they??? Mr Translator seems to know...
- Herr Hans, Frau Grete: I don't think that to translate into German means to "Germanise". As a translator I would try to transport the very English atmosphere of Glyndebourne. He took a figure of speech too literally. // I won´t comment, I am getting into one of my sarcastic moods… never a good sign!
:-D

Another few things I spotted:
- den ersten SATZ?? Of La Traviata? They would not have missed a lot then, eh? I mean the first sentence is uttered only minutes into the play…
God, you're right, I've never noticed that...8-O La Traviata is not a Symphony, you moron of a translator!

- Holte das Äußerste heraus: is that correct German? // I'd say it is.
- 19 miles are 30.5 km/h, according to some converter on the internet, so why 29 km/h? // nobody knows.
- denken Sie sich meine Bekümmernis? No way, I am going to do that… and why Bekümmernis (grief), nobody´s died… I noticed that, too.
- schlangen sich um den Hals: sounds a bit like a bowtie constrictor. // Yes, they sound very much alive, those "binder".

Soupy Twist, I am beginning to wonder how translators are selected for specific jobs. Do they submit a test piece, does the author have a say in that?
I believe German publishing houses often go for the cheapest translator. This translation was published in 1996 when Fry still wasn't that big a name in Germany. No publishing house would risk to hire a good expensive translator for a work that isn't likely to turn into a bestseller. And as long as translators like him weave their diplomas and whatnot they're hired.

I think, in Mr Fry´s case, they should have taken an exam first to obtain a certificate of proficiency, e.g.
- how many ABOFAL episodes have you watched so far, name at least 10 and provide quotes for each one of them
- try to characterise Mr Fry´s linguistic style
- specify at least three peculiarities of his style
- do you actually enjoy reading his books or is your bank balance telling you that you had better secure this job?

X-D X-D

This is a brilliant idea. The newly invented CPFE - Certificate of Proficiency in Fry and English
It's an interesting thing. With our first excerpt a few days ago I really thought this was quite ok except a few chinks. Haha. Now I'm simply shocked by the sheer amount of inconsistencies and even real mistakes that become visible once the texts are read more thoroughly. And the worst is yet to come: a quick glance at amazon.de told me that the very same guy provided the translations for all of Fry's books

(excerpt no 2 will have to wait until tomorrow - we all deserve a little break ).
Fine by me, this is our personal thread, anyway - but I am really enjoying this If you don´t mind copy-typing the excerpt. otherwise, I could offer to do it next, should we decide to carry on with out little passtime. I am the proud owner of Paperweight as well, you know

Oh, I'm enjoying this, too. Taking you on your offer I'll post the second part of Trefusis Overdresses tonight, after that the choice of text (and the typing) is entirely yours

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Thu Jun 7th, 2007 7:22pm Post subject: Translating Fry
o please, I think you got it right and I'd be interested how you got there. For my part this was the trickiest part and it's astonishing that even the translator got it wrong.-

at the particularly penetrating quality of fine cold driving summer rain

LEO gives Schlagregen for "driving rain". Schlagregen is defined as follows:

Als Schlagregen bezeichnet man Regen, dessen Tropfen unter der Wirkung des Windes merklich aus der lotrechten Fallrichtung abgelenkt werden

I guess now you know where I am coming from! I never considered strömend as it clashes with "fine" and I suppose T would have mentioned it if they had arrived there soaking wet which they would have ended up to be as it took them ages to get to the venue. And I was daring enough to combine the "penetrating" with the "cold" as I don´t think that summer rain is cold per se, but in this case feels cold as a result of the oncoming wind and the damp suit.

"Wichs" is was members of student fraternities use to call their full attire complete with sabre etc. and this somehow remained for very formal dress. I really see a linguistic relation between those two words.

Oh I see!! I think we don´t have that in Austria, or in Vienna at least
Thanks for telling me, Soupy.

That was me.

Oh no, I am sorry for being so harsh :-//

La Traviata is not a Symphony, you moron of a translator!


- and why Bekümmernis (grief), nobody´s died… I noticed that, too.
I thought you would!

- schlangen sich um den Hals: sounds a bit like a bowtie constrictor. // Yes, they sound very much alive, those "binder".
Do you know what a "Würger" is? A "Kropfband" X-D

I believe German publishing houses often go for the cheapest translator. And as long as translators like him weave their diplomas and whatnot they're hired.

WHAT But it explains a lot. I am not saying he is really incompetent (I may be thinking something along those lines, no actually I am not...), He has mastered a few sentences quite brilliantly, and some of my/our criticism is style-related, but errors like SATZ for act just should not have slipped it, and there is absolutely NO excuse for that... But there you go

This is a brilliant idea. The newly invented CPFE - Certificate of Proficiency in Fry and English

X-D X-D X-D I think we have already earned ours !

It's an interesting thing. With our first excerpt a few days ago I really thought this was quite ok except a few chinks. Haha. Now I'm simply shocked by the sheer amount of inconsistencies and even real mistakes that become visible once the texts are read more thoroughly. And the worst is yet to come: a quick glance at amazon.de told me that the very same guy provided the translations for all of Fry's books

Can´t shock me any more, that´s what I do when I´m not translating, read other translator´s translations for inconsistencies, typos, correctness of rendition and compliance with client foibles - makes you lose your will to live sometimes I bet you know the feeling when marking exam papers - is there hope??? X-D

All of his Fry books *runs out of the room screaming and pulling her hair out*
All I can hope for is that Stephen won´t find the time ever to write another book, it´s in his own best interest in terms of his reputation in the Germanic world (sorry, I am exaggerating a bit here, of course )

Oh, I'm enjoying this, too. Taking you on your offer I'll post the second part of Trefusis Overdresses tonight, after that the choice of text (and the typing) is entirely yours

Fine! But I´m afraid you´ll have to provide the German after all, as I only have the English available (as you may have guessed...)
If you don´t mind I´ll stick with Trefusis

Funny story before I go:
A colleague once told me that she read a German translation of some Rosamunde Pilcher novel, and the sentence "She offerend them tea and digestives" had been rendered as "Sie servierte ihnen Tee und verdauungsfördernde Kekse" X-D X-D X-D

Hey, I am looking forward to "instalment No. 2"

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Thu Jun 7th, 2007 8:29pm Post subject: Translating Fry
o please, I think you got it right and I'd be interested how you got there. For my part this was the trickiest part and it's astonishing that even the translator got it wrong.-

at the particularly penetrating quality of fine cold driving summer rain

LEO gives Schlagregen for "driving rain". Schlagregen is defined as follows:

Als Schlagregen bezeichnet man Regen, dessen Tropfen unter der Wirkung des Windes merklich aus der lotrechten Fallrichtung abgelenkt werden

I guess now you know where I am coming from! I never considered strömend as it clashes with "fine" and I suppose T would have mentioned it if they had arrived there soaking wet which they would have ended up to be as it took them ages to get to the venue. And I was daring enough to combine the "penetrating" with the "cold" as I don´t think that summer rain is cold per se, but in this case feels cold as a result of the oncoming wind and the damp suit.

Ah, I see! That makes sense. I interpreted Trefusis as being a bit sarcastic about the cold rain but Schlagregen (never heard that before) for driving rain is the key to the sentence. Thanks, Gerti!

"Wichs" is was members of student fraternities use to call their full attire complete with sabre etc. and this somehow remained for very formal dress. I really see a linguistic relation between those two words.

Oh I see!! I think we don´t have that in Austria, or in Vienna at least
Thanks for telling me, Soupy.
You seem to be lucky in Austria not to have those loathsome conservative, mostly right-wing fraternieties.

oops: That was me.

Oh no, I am sorry for being so harsh :-//

Don't apologize. If he had really inserted a [sic] here your criticism would have been almost too moderate

WHAT But it explains a lot. I am not saying he is really incompetent (I may be thinking something along those lines, no actually I am not...), He has mastered a few sentences quite brilliantly, and some of my/our criticism is style-related, but errors like SATZ for act just should not have slipped it, and there is absolutely NO excuse for that... But there you go

You're right, he came up with really brilliant solutions for some things. But there are truly great translators who manage to master the whole text in that way. One of those is Harry Rowohlt (not the guy from the publishing house). His translations of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" for example is pure genius. How great it would have been to have Fry's books translated by him or someone of his calibre! Some very, very good translator seems to have been able to provide new German Wodehouse translations that are said to capture Wodehouse's world and language perfectly. I haven't read any of them but am curious enough to get hold of one of those books - for me Wodehouse is one of the authors who are almost untranslatable.

Fine! But I´m afraid you´ll have to provide the German after all, as I only have the English available (as you may have guessed...)
If you don´t mind I´ll stick with Trefusis
Of course, the more Trefusis the better! He is so great! And besides, the Trefusis texts bear a lot of special difficulties.

Funny story before I go:
A colleague once told me that she read a German translation of some Rosamunde Pilcher novel, and the sentence "She offerend them tea and digestives" had been rendered as "Sie servierte ihnen Tee und verdauungsfördernde Kekse" X-D X-D X-D
*snort* X-D X-D X-D A yes, the romantic world of Rosamunde Pilcher. All those elderly ladies obviously suffering from indigestion...:-D

Installment no. 2 of poor mortified (bekümmert :-D] overdressed Trefusis coming up:

[I had come for the public dress rehearsal in evening dress.]
Words, thousands of them, spin into my mind, some of them English, many of them culled from alien tongues; none of them, not a one, is capable of describing a scintilla of an iota of a shadow of a suspicion of an atom of a fraction of a ghost of a tithe of a particle of my horror, shame and pitiable distress. Of all the solecisms, gaffes, floaters, blunders and bowel-shatteringly frightful bloomers possible to make, I am fully persuaded that overdressing heads the field by a comfortable furlong.
Ichabod, ohimé, eheu, aiee! I dived like a kingfisher into the lavatory, slammed the door behind me and sat sobbing there for the ensuing two and a half hours. Every half-pitying, half-scornful look that had been cast me as I had flown into this sanctuary replayed itself in my tortured mind. They had all stared as upon some parvenu Armenian millionaire who wears bought medals at a British Legion dinner, or some arriviste mayor who sits even in his bath chained in aldermanic splendour. If only I hadn't told Glambidge he might drive on into Lewes to look up his wife who lives in a lunatic asylum just outside the town, I might have been able to sneak home even then. As it is I writhed in a lather of shame for the duration.
But now, in the cold light of reason, I am wondering if it is not possible that I over-reacted a little. Might a calmer man not have passed the whole misunderstanding off with a light laugh? Was I not being myself a little bit of a snob in attributing to others my own contempt for myself? If anyone was there, and saw me, perhaps they could write to me and relieve my mind.
Meanwhile, you have been patient. Many of you will wonder at my unhappiness and its irrelevance to real and earnest life outside, but the more intelligent will, knowing that there is an embargo on political talk at this electoral time, understand the subtext of my little reminiscence, and read the clear signals of its underlying allegory and know what to do about it. Onward and upward, heigh ho: if you have been, sit down.

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Thu Jun 7th, 2007 9:26pm Post subject: Translating Fry
quote="Soupy Twist"]

You seem to be lucky in Austria not to have those loathsome conservative, mostly right-wing fraternieties.

Perhaps we do, but at my institute students were so stuck up, they wouldn´t dream of meeting outside uni. And this lack of community spirit is not very conducive to founding fraternities, or sororities...

One of those is Harry Rowohlt (not the guy from the publishing house). His translations of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" for example is pure genius. How great it would have been to have Fry's books translated by him or someone of his calibre! Some very, very good translator seems to have been able to provide new German Wodehouse translations that are said to capture Wodehouse's world and language perfectly. I haven't read any of them but am curious enough to get hold of one of those books - for me Wodehouse is one of the authors who are almost untranslatable.

I bought Jeeves Omnibus I. some time ago, but haven´t really got round to reading it. There are a few other books that want reading first

Should be interesting to peek into those new German Wodehouse translation... (another challenge to be awarded with a CPWE )

Of course, the more Trefusis the better! He is so great! And besides, the Trefusis texts bear a lot of special difficulties.



Installment no. 2 of poor mortified (bekümmert :-D] overdressed Trefusis coming up:

My translation is likely to come up only on Saturday... so if you want to defer posting yours...

Thanks for all the typing, about time I took over

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