Posts Tagged ‘translation’

Translate at City: 26-30 June 2017

April 9, 2017

Robert Chandler (Russian) writes:

This is a truly excellent summer school. I greatly admire ALL the other tutors, and the general atmosphere is always enthusiastic, intelligent and constructive. We are later than usual this year in advertising it, so I will be very grateful if you can forward the information to anyone who might be interested. This year we are running courses in translating from 11 different languages.
See details here.

The Russian school of dressmaking (in translation)

April 2, 2016


We have received the following query:

I am learning how to draft and sew my own clothes. There are these fabulous Russian books and dvds that have ALL I want.They teach you easy and clever ways to get the right fit without having to do numerous alterations . They have those great techniques that would give you professional results without having to put much effort!

 I could not find them in anywhere in English!!!

The problem is that they are in Russian and I have been trying to find a translation agency that has reasonable prices but they are Way too much for me . It is for my personal use , I don’t intend to sell and gain profit.

Most would charge between 8-15 cents per word and for 1 hour dvd the prices are outrages like 1000 dollars!

I wonder do you know of a reasonable price translation agency or individual who has good translations but not expensive?

There is a software but it still needs someone to review and by the way it costs 300 dollars.

It seems to me that it’s highly unlikely ever to be an economic proposition to have a book translated especially for yourself.

If it was me, I think I would pay for some dressmaking lessons instead, as being cheaper and more useful.

If you want to use the books/DVDs, I would advertise on Gumtree (craigslist, etc) for a Russian speaker to spend an hour or three going through them with you and explaining what they’re about–that might be enough if there are plenty of illustrations.  The other thing to remember is that a surprising amount of Russian ‘practical’ literature is derived from foreign-language sources, so that’s something you could easily get someone to check for you–whether there’s an English-language original it’s been adapted from.

For a specific technical area with a restricted vocabulary and range of grammatical constructions automatic translation might be good enough though I’m not sure how you would get the text in from a hard-copy original. If you can get the text in electronic form, try a sample on one of the free online translators and see how useful the result is.

However, I can’t help feeling that what you want to know is common currency among women of a certain age and background–for instance, anyone who was a young woman in the UK in the 1940s or 1950s will know how to make her own clothes and have spent many, many evenings doing so…It’s just a case of making contact.

If I think about cooking, which unlike dressmaking I do know about, I find it quite hard to cook from an American recipe–not only are the measures different, but some common implements and procedures are described differently and some of the ingredients are just different.  Still more with a recipe in French…My point here being again that you really need a person rather than a text…

Meanwhile, a translator (retired) has kindly commented as follows:

I agree with all the comments. And even in leafy Leamington you can get group or private sewing lessons really easily.

Why the questioner has ended up with Russian sources only I can’t imagine. It’s likely that there are still more people dress-making in Russia than UK/US, but there are older books giving this sort of information in English. Re the translation – it’s the sort of comment that makes my blood boil. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. I bet she doesn’t do her own job for less than the minimum wage. I doubt if she’d get a proper translation for less than the lower quote though the upper one sounds relatively high. Obviously a freelance might be cheaper than an agency. The free translations are pretty good these days, so I don’t know why she’s even looked at purchasing software.



About that translation of Britannicus…

October 27, 2011

I’ve been thinking about Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Britannicus translation, which seemed both natural and highly effective to me. Racine didn’t really do sparkly poetic bling, but I think the nearest thing might be Nero’s speech about seeing Junia from Act II Sc 2:

Excité d’un désir curieux,
Cette nuit je l’ai vue arriver en ces lieux,
Triste, levant au ciel ses yeux mouillés de larmes,
Qui brillaient au travers des flambeaux et des armes,
Belle, sans ornements, dans le simple appareil
D’une beauté qu’on vient d’arracher au sommeil.
Que veux−tu ? Je ne sais si cette négligence,
Les ombres, les flambeaux, les cris et le silence,
Et le farouche aspect de ses fiers ravisseurs,
Relevaient de ses yeux les timides douceurs,
Quoi qu’il en soit, ravi d’une si belle vue,
J’ai voulu lui parler, et ma voix s’est perdue :
Immobile, saisi d’un long étonnement,
Je l’ai laissé passer dans son appartement.
J’ai passé dans le mien. C’est là que, solitaire,
De son image en vain j’ai voulu me distraire.
Trop présente à mes yeux je croyais lui parler,
J’aimais jusqu’à ses pleurs que je faisais couler.
Quelquefois, mais trop tard, je lui demandais grâce ;
J’employais les soupirs, et même la menace.
Voilà comme, occupé de mon nouvel amour,
Mes yeux, sans se fermer, ont attendu le jour.
Mais je m’en fais peut−être une trop belle image,
Elle m’est apparue avec trop d’avantage :
Narcisse, qu’en dis−tu ?

In the translation we have:

It was curiosity–
I saw her come to the palace last night.
She lifted her tear-filled eyes to the skies,
tears that glinted more brightly than weapons, flames–
Lovely, without ornaments, and simply
dressed with the beauty of one still asleep.
What can I say? Was it this scant cover,
the shadows, torches, cries and then silence
or the fierce look of those who were holding her
bringing out the soft shyness of her eyes?
I don’t know–I was entranced by this sight–
I tried to speak to her, my voice left me.
I was rooted to the spot, struck, amazed,
and I let her walk by me to her rooms.
I went to my own rooms and there, alone,
I tried to free myself from her image.
But she was there, before my eyes, I spoke
to her–my love ignited by her tears–
those tears I had caused. Sometimes–but too late–
I asked for her forgiveness, using sighs,
or, when I needed to, terrible threats.
That’s how I spent the whole night–without sleep:
but perhaps I’ve embellished her image–
she appeared to me in too soft a light.
What do you think, Narcissus?

So.  The original in in alexandrines (rhymed iambic hexameter) obviously enough, while the translation–has about ten syllables a line, and that’s about all I can think to say about the prosody.  The translation certainly gets all of the ideas out and across; it took me 77 seconds to read aloud as against 105 for the original.  That lends weight to what one commentator on this production said about the English preference for people doing things on stage as opposed to just talking to each other.

Isn’t the point about Racine that he was writing Huis Clos all the time–a small group of people trapped together by their mutual loathing and dependence?  And the way that things are held formly in place by his alexandrines reflects that or indeed embodies it?  Well that’s not something you could reproduce in English, at least I rather hope not…

‘Cordelia, you’re a fool!’

April 25, 2011

Марина Бородицкая

In honour of a couple of recent postings, here’s Marina Boroditskaya’s Cordelia poem (and a translation by me).

Корделия, ты дура! Неужели
Так трудно было старику поддаться?
Сказать ему: «Я тоже, милый папа,
Люблю вас больше жизни.» Всех-то дел!
Хотела, чтобы сам он догадался,
Кто лучшая из дочерей? Гордячка!
Теперь он мертв, ты тоже, все мертвы.
А Глостер? О, кровавый ужас детства –
Его глазницы – сцена ослепленья –
Как будто раскаленное железо
Пролистывали пальцы, торопясь…
На вот, прочти. Я отвернусь. Тебя же
В том акте не было? Читай, читай,
Смотри, что ты наделала, дуреха!
Ну ладно, не реви. Конечно, автор –
Тот фрукт еще, но в следующий раз
Ты своевольничай, сопротивляйся:
Виола, Розалинда, Катарина
Смогли, а ты чем хуже? Как щенок,
Тяни его зубами за штанину –
В игру, в комедию! Законы жанра
Нас выведут на свет… На, вытри нос.
Давай сюда платок. Его должна я
Перестирать, прогладить и вернуть
Одной венецианской растеряхе
В соседний том. Прости, что накричала.
Отцу привет. И помни: как щенок!


Cordelia, you’re a fool! Was it really
So hard to give in to the old man?
To tell him: I too, dear papa,
Love you more than life itself. After all!
Did you want him to work out for himself
Who was the best of his daughters? So proud.
Now he’s dead, you as well, they’re all dead.
And Gloucester?–Oh bloody horror of childhood–
His eyesockets–the scene of his blinding.
Fingers seemed to leaf through hot iron, hurrying.
Well then, read. I’ll turn away. You weren’t
In that act? Read it, read it.
See what you’ve done, you stupid fool!
Oh all right, don’t howl. Of course, the author’s
As bad as ever, but next time
You stand up for yourself and fight back.
Viola, Rosalind, Katherine–
They could, aren’t you as good as them?
Be like a puppy, tug at his trousers with your teeth
–Make it a game, a comedy! The rules of the genre
Will see us right….Well, wipe your nose.
Give the handkerchief here. I need to wash it,
And iron it and give it back to an absent-minded Venetian girl
In the next volume. I’m sorry I shouted at you.
Give my regards to your father. And remember–like a puppy!