A translation exercise
|From:||The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>|
|Date:||Monday, December 27, 1999, 22:15|
I recently picked up an old German Reader (circa 1933) which included some
Aesop-like tales that I thought might make interesting translation
exercises. I remember Matt translated some of Aesop's fables into Tokana
some years back and I found them to be great fun. I thought it might be
something of a challenge to translate them directly from the German to amman
iar rather than using English as an intermediary. Alas, I discovered that I
could not. Despite the fact that I appeared to be able to read and
understand the German text without translating into English, I could not get
my mind to go directly from German to amman iar. English insisted on
interposing itself. As the only other language that I have any facility
with at all is Kiswahili (and that is much too rusty to do any kind of
translation), I had not encountered this before. Could this be due to my
rather shallow facility with amman iar? Or is it normal to revert to one's
mother tongue (in my case English) when translating between two other
I any case, for your amusement (should you happen to be amused by such),
here is the first text in English, followed by a translation into amman iar.
I have an extensive interlinear parse available, but since this list is
already burdened with huge volumes, I will spare you this. I can send you a
copy off-list if you are interested.
Anyway, here's my English and amman iar versions of "The Wolf and the Dog"
from the original German. Have a go with your favorite conlang.
The wolf and the dog
A hungry wolf came to an old dog and said: "Good Friend, I am so hungry that
I cannot sleep. You, however are big and fat. Where do you get your food?
Where do you live? Where do you eat?"
"I am the servant of my master," answered the dog. "I serve my master, I
guard my master's house. Therefore, my master gives me as much to eat as I
Then the wolf said, "I live very poorly. Day and night I roam through the
woods and fields and find nothing to eat for my wife and my children. I can
no longer live this way. My wife and children are dying of hunger.
Therefore, I shall also become a servant of men and guard their houses."
The dog and the wolf ran together through the woods to the dog's house.
Suddenly the wolf sees the dog's neck. He is astonished and says: "I see
your neck is without hair. Do all dogs have necks without hair? "
"No," answered the dog. "Not all dogs. I wear a chain in the daytime.
During the day I lay in front of my master's house on a chain. The chain is
iron and iron is hard. Therefore I have no hair on my neck. But at night I
am free. During the night I roam wherever I wish."
"Dear brother," said the wolf to the dog. "Hunger is hard, but the chain is
harder. I wear no chain and will not wear one. Better that I die from
hunger with my wife and children. Run alone back to your master. It is
better to be hungry than fat; it is better to be free than to wear a chain.
i dhraug na i huan
e draug vemathloim erthuliel eleth ane huanial vorneth na ervalcuenon eleth
an alannen: "meldar vemand, mathloimmas murmarth utaniveth. der fim na lar
aimromme mas. der elivas im masad derrion ernetiel aishadhe? der elivas im
merdain erinniel aishadhe? der elivas an merdain ervathiel aishadhe?
"ir ashirnarras virner hirnarrîon athas," i huan eroraisel eleth. "elivas
an hirnar nerion erasmaeron, elivas an mardar virner hirnarrion erordirriel.
aspherine hirnarre nerion elivas an nerin erannon an daera masadhen
erloimiarth ner eleth an allin."
i dhraug erguenel nerlale eleth, " ergoirel daera orvalegme elivas. ernornel
erinle na fuinle taurar na parthar triada elivas na ervallangiel uelivas an
masadhen vestriellen nerion na nithnairren nerion. utanivas an nerda senar
ergoiriel adhille. eliras en vestriel nerion na nithnair nerion orgoirar
mathloimme. aspherine, taldil an ashirnar edhainnion eririliel name. taldil
an merdair elion erordirirel."
i dhraug na i huan ernornel athme i vardarrial huannion i thaurar triada
eleth. i dhrauge elas an i iaetha huannion ereniel bragolle. alan orestel
vas na erguenel eleth an alannen: "erenon elas, iaetha derrion finul athas.
iaetha finul oma huennas ais.
"ue," i huan eroraisel eleth. "uoma huen. elivas an angath ergumiliel
erinle. erordulcel erinle elivas angathas mardarriar virner hirnarrîon
minhadha. ir angath angdel gas na angdel beled vas. aspherine iaetha
nerion finul athas. ara ascath fuinle vas. ernornel fuinle rishadhe
erloimiel ner elivas im merdain elivas.
"hesan vemeld," i dhraug eleth ani huannen erguenon. "mathloim orhor vas
ara ir angath ol beled vas. uelivas an angath ergumiliel. utanivdil an
minin ergumiliel. mandhe orgoirar mathloimme vestriellas nerion na
nithnairras nerion eldil. der beres erringel hirnarren derion nastil.
mandhe mathloim vas ara lar umas; mandhe ascath vas ara uelivas an angath