Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: HELP: Translating the Babel Text

From:Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Date:Saturday, October 30, 2004, 12:39
 --- Jeffrey Henning skrzypszy:

> > I rather translate "Let's gather stones and wood" etc. because > > this method belongs more tightly to the concept of building a > > house and is more commonly known? That would seem logical to me. > > I agree - I think that's the right approach. It is certainly one of > the guiding principles of translation relays.
I, on the other hand, have my doubts. The Babel text is a piece of history (or mythology, if you like) taking place on a more or less established moment in our world's history, on a fixed place. Usually, a translator does not transplant the stuff he's working on into a completely different time and place. In other words, gathering stones and wood instead of clay and mortar is the same to me as writing: "And Moses climbed the Empire State Building, and yelled to the crowd: ..." Even if certain objects or concepts are alien to your (con)culture, your language may very well have a word for it; like Dutch, which has a word for mockingbird, even though they don't live here. Very much does depend on the taste of the translator and the purpose of the translation, though. In relays it's slightly different, but that is partly because some of us work with alien concultures which are not supposed to have ever had any form of contact with our culture. Besides, translating not only linguistically but also culturally makes it a lot more interesting... All this reminds me of an old Dutch translation of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", in which London is substituted with Amsterdam, Arthur Dent is named "Hugo Veld", Ford Prefect "Amro Bank", and Zaphod Beeblebrox... I think "Zefod Bijsterbuil" or something. Yack! Jan ===== "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito." Relay 10: ___________________________________________________________ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - all new features - even more fun!