Day 73-- on translations

I had a complain-y post that I was working on, but Greg's comment on Day 72 made me rethink my motivations. So on to one of the other weird things on my mind....

Translations. I've always been interested in translations. Definitely in regards to Scripture, though I'm a novice in that area. But I get really antsy when I look for books--novels, essays, whatever--originally written in a language that isn't English. I wonder if the translator did his job well, what was cut, what delicate words were altered. And so on. Language matters, as Russ excellently explained, and it's really hard translating the nuance from one language to the other.

The first time this train of thought hit me was when I purchased the recently-revised version of "the Count of Monte Cristo." As translator Robin Buss explained in the beginning, the English version most have read over the years is flawed; not only did most of the copies made in the Victorian era cut out close to 1/4 of the book, they also changed the language significantly. Dumas's text wasn't as awkward as most of the in-print versions suggest, so Buss did a fairly literal translation of the original French that managed to keep both the meaning and phrasing intact.

I try to do research before I look for copies of translated texts. I want to read many of the Russian classics, but I want to avoid Constance Garnett's translations. In particular, I want to read the short stories of Anton Chekhov and Alexander Pushkin. So, over the next few days, I think I'm going to dig around and find out what I can about all of the translations available. If only they pulled a Vlad Nabikov and translated their own work to English! Oh, those Russians.

Does all of this make me a nerd? Perhaps--no, wait--definitely. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 11/17/2006 11:24:00 PM,

4 Comments:

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Qere Ketiv said...

Translations, eh? Here's your post in Norwegian...

Jeg hatt en klager-ypost at jeg bearbeidet, men Gregs kommentar på Dag 72 fått meg til meg min motiveringer. Så på til en av den annen selsom ting på min sinn. ...

Oversettelser. Jeg alltid vært interessert i oversettelser. Bestemt i hensyn til Hellig Skrift, skjønt jeg er en nybegynner i den område. Men jeg blir virkelig antsy når jeg leter etter bøker -- romaner, essayer, uansett hva -- opprinnelig skrevet i en språk som er ikke Engelsk. Jeg undrer seg om oversetteren gjorde hans jobb godt, hva skar, hva sart ord forandret seg. Også videre. Språk spiller noen rolle, da Russ utmerket forklart, og det er virkelig hard oversettelse nuance fra en språk til den andre.

Først gang denne linje av tankeslag meg var da jeg anskaffet den nylig-revidert versjon av «Opptellingen av Monte Cristo.» Da oversetterrødstrupeBusser forklart i å begynne, den Engelsk mest versjon har leser i løpet] ret er flawed ; ikke bare gjorde mest av kopiene laget i den Viktoriansk epokesnitt ut nær til 1/4 av boka, de også forandret seg språket signifikant. Dumass tekst var ikke så vanskelig som mest av i-trykkversjonene foreslår, derfor Busser gjorde en rimelig ordrett oversettelse av den original Fransk at klart beholde begge å bety og å formulering intakt.

Jeg prøver gjøre forskning før jeg leter etter kopier av oversatt tekster. Jeg leser mange av den Russisk klassikere, men jeg unngår Constance Garnetts oversettelser. Spesielt, jeg leser den kort historier av Anton Chekhov og Alexander Pushkin. Derfor, over den neste få dager, jeg tror jeg drar grave omkring og funn ut hva jeg kan omtrent all den oversettelser tilgjengelig. Om bare de dradd en Vlad Nabikov og oversatt deres egen arbeid til Engelsk ! å, De Russere.

Gjør all av dette lager meg en nerd ? Kanskje -- ingen, venter -- bestemt. Og jeg ikke har det noe annen måte.

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think about the whole translation thing a lot when it comes to the Bible, but i try not to let it bother me.

 
At 2:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

out of curiosity, what do you dislike about Constance Garnett's translations, in particular? (I have her translation of Anna Karenina, though I haven't read it yet)

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Garnett's stuff comes off very literally, which is why it sometimes seems clunky; instead of translating the phrase "the cat's meow," for example, it would come off like "the meow of the feline." Plus, she wasn't a native Russian, and while that's not a requirement for good translations per se, there are lots of cultural missteps.

 

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