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Re: Different translations!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:12 pm

And fair enough too Ringdrotten. And also I am speaking in the hypothetical here as I don't think I have read a translated fantasy novel. It may well be that were I Norwegan (or if Scotland still had its own language as its main one and I spoke that) I might agree with you when it comes to LotR's.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:23 pm

"or if Scotland still had its own language as its main one and I spoke that"

My sympathies - although we kept our spoken language, we lost our written one. "¤%!# danes Evil or Very Mad (no offense, Danish readers - it's in the past Wink)

Before I go to bed, however, I'd like to say that I understand that Tolkien didn't write LotR as regular fantasy, but as we have been talking about, myths. That's why I understand and partly agree with what you and Kafria are saying. However, when it comes to regular fantasy - I'm all for translating Wink

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:42 pm

oooh.. this topic ist sehr spennand!

I have to say I agree with Ringdrotten here.
I see ur point, Petty, about if you read a french story set in France, you would be happy that the name stayed french BUT Hobbiton and the Shire are set to Middle-Earth, not England, it is a fantasy, and it is much better to read the names without change the way you read. We also assosiate (<- spelled wrong I suppose) the name with something. Example: Merry, merry christmas happy and all that, it is translated to Munti which we connect with "munter" which means merry! I must say I prefer Høvestad's translation, but I haven't read Ringdrotten.

Isengard is translated to Jarnagard. We could read Isengard, it sounds a bit off but not much. But the word Isen I believe means Iron. Jarna means iron and hard work or something. It also gives assosiatings (<-- probably spelled wrong again) to Jern meaning Iron. well... this has to be dobbel checked, but I am pretty confident about this.
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:43 pm

Ringdrotten wrote:He did translate Baggins to Sekker, while the Sackville-Bagginses are called Sackville-Sekker (one of the many reasons why I think it is a piss poor translation and every book should be burnt) Mad
AGREE!!
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:52 pm

Norc wrote:
I see ur point, Petty, about if you read a french story set in France, you would be happy that the name stayed french BUT Hobbiton and the Shire are set to Middle-Earth, not England, it is a fantasy, and it is much better to read the names without change the way you read. We also assosiate (<- spelled wrong I suppose) the name with something. Example: Merry, merry christmas happy and all that, it is translated to Munti which we connect with "munter" which means merry!

Exactly Smile

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:04 pm

"BUT Hobbiton and the Shire are set to Middle-Earth, not England"- Tolkien

Yes but to any Brit, native English speaker who reads LotR's the language Tolkien uses delibretly evokes a type of idealised Englishness. Surely if you translate all those names from English you lose that sense of association with this idea of England which Tolkien quite clearly wanted to make in his choices of names.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:12 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:"BUT Hobbiton and the Shire are set to Middle-Earth, not England"- Tolkien

Yes but to any Brit, native English speaker who reads LotR's the language Tolkien uses delibretly evokes a type of idealised Englishness. Surely if you translate all those names from English you lose that sense of association with this idea of England which Tolkien quite clearly wanted to make in his choices of names.

This is true, Petty, but you don't lose the sense of "Englishness" because the names are translated, you lose it the moment you translate it into another language. You said:

"Yes but to any Brit, native English speaker who reads LotR's the language Tolkien uses delibretly evokes a type of idealised Englishness"

It may be that Tolkien uses a language to evoke such things, but if you are not a Brit it is hard to see this, translated names or not (unless you have great knowledge about the culture and/or have lived in Brittain for a long time). The language you are talking about here simply does not translate, which is a great shame.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:19 pm

A French name reads and sounds French to me and therefore makes an association for me with France, equally an English name sounds English (Scots names tend to be based in Gaelic and Norse oddly enough so English names sound foreign to me, they sound English- but that helps me make the association between England, its customs and rolling green hills and the Shire, not hinders it).

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Amarië on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:24 pm

Ringdrotten wrote:
Norc wrote:
I see ur point, Petty, about if you read a french story set in France, you would be happy that the name stayed french BUT Hobbiton and the Shire are set to Middle-Earth, not England, it is a fantasy, and it is much better to read the names without change the way you read. We also assosiate (<- spelled wrong I suppose) the name with something. Example: Merry, merry christmas happy and all that, it is translated to Munti which we connect with "munter" which means merry!

Exactly Smile

Amen to that. Smile

If the Hobbits were called Maura Labingi and Banazîr Galbasi in the original, they wouldn't sound English at all and you would loose a lot of the connection and the familiarity you feel. They might as well be located in Russia. Or France. Petty, imagine cheering on a short French guy with hairy feet all the way to Mordor and hope he DOESN'T jump into the vulcano. Shocked

The smile you get when you first read about a fat man called Butterbur would be lost too. The nickname Merry would have no meaning.

The Rohirrim are inspired by the vikings (or at least that era), but they are not the vikings. The Hobbits are inspired by a very idealized rural England, but it is not England and they are not English.

Done correctly, a good translation gives you the same feeling as the orginal. A bad translation which gives you rubbish like Sackville-Sekker... I'm not usually a fan of book burning, but in this case I'd help.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:31 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:A French name reads and sounds French to me and therefore makes an association for me with France, equally an English name sounds English (Scots names tend to be based in Gaelic and Norse oddly enough so English names sound foreign to me, they sound English- but that helps me make the association between England, its customs and rolling green hills and the Shire, not hinders it).

yes, but you talk english, that is a big difference. we don't talk english and for me, being nine years old, had no associations with english and english culture. What makes it english in my oppinion is the hobbits culture for tea, gardening and all what makes a hobbit a hobbit.
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:33 pm

byw, Amarië! you are spot on! totally agree Wink
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:35 pm

Names play their part in associations, no doubt. But what I'm saying is, two languages are so much more different than the grammar. You say Tolkien uses a language that "evokes a type of idealised Englishness." In a language there are ways to describe things, ways to express oneself etc that just don't translate, and therein lies the problem: once you translate a book from one language to another, you are doomed to lose part of the original's feel, simply because it is impossible to translate word for word.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:38 pm

Spot on, indeed! Well put, Amarië Smile



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Re: Different translations!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:48 pm

Just to illustrate what I'm saying, as I'm pretty lousy at explaining things, let alone explaining things in another language. There is a very famous and deeply loved poem in Norway called Terje Vigen. I stole this from the English wikipedia article about the poem:

The poem and the character of Terje Vigen has become a core icon of Norwegian coastal culture and a sense of a national identity [ ... ] Terje Vigen will never be translated successfully into English, for it is written, with brilliant lightness and skill, in an adaptation of the Norwegian ballad-measure which it is impossible to reproduce with felicity in our language."

This is exactly what I am talking about. And it goes both ways. Some things just don't translate, be it words, phrases, sayings or entire novels. Poems, though, are always hard to translate, but it illustrated my point Smile

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:10 pm

As I say I'm coming at this from the other side, and with no direct experience, so I am trying to get my head round it.
And as you all seem to agree its better to translate proper names as well (even if you might not agree on exactly how is best!) I will assume you are right.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:54 am

Ringdrotten wrote:Just to illustrate what I'm saying, as I'm pretty lousy at explaining things, let alone explaining things in another language. There is a very famous and deeply loved poem in Norway called Terje Vigen. I stole this from the English wikipedia article about the poem:

The poem and the character of Terje Vigen has become a core icon of Norwegian coastal culture and a sense of a national identity [ ... ] Terje Vigen will never be translated successfully into English, for it is written, with brilliant lightness and skill, in an adaptation of the Norwegian ballad-measure which it is impossible to reproduce with felicity in our language."

This is exactly what I am talking about. And it goes both ways. Some things just don't translate, be it words, phrases, sayings or entire novels. Poems, though, are always hard to translate, but it illustrated my point Smile

I must say, the Høvestad version, which is the only one I've read, is translated exelently. I don't feel like there is anything missing in it. Yes, something is impossible to translate properlt since it is another language, though I think he did a pretty good job with LOTR. (dunno of Harry Potter though, but it could also be that Rowling uses a simple language)
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Amarië on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:56 am

Norc wrote:
I must say, the Høvestad version, which is the only one I've read, is translated exelently. I don't feel like there is anything missing in it. Yes, something is impossible to translate properlt since it is another language, though I think he did a pretty good job with LOTR. (dunno of Harry Potter though, but it could also be that Rowling uses a simple language)

I agree. Høvestad has made an excellent translation. There is nothing lost or ruined by translating those few names, it is all kept and the whole Hobbit experience is there and it is better because he did these things. He explains in length what he has done, and why and how it is fits in with Tolkien's ideas and intentions.

The Ringdrotten book also have page after page of information on how the translator use Norwegian language history, evolution and dialects to give the text the dept and variety Tolkien himself wanted, but was unable to do because of the limitations of the the English language.

Enter the jabberwocky:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Det var brilligt, og de slithne tovene
gyret og gimblet i waben.
Borogrovene var mimsete
og momen rathet utgrabelig.

Same nonsense words used, but the feeling is not the same. Sometimes the words and the text have to change a lot to remain the same.

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:02 am

Now you've got me curious Amarie to how the Jabberwocky poem is translated? Do they use Norwegan sounding nonsense words?! -must be a tricky enough job translating literature without the authors going about making words up!!

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Amarië on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:18 am

Wikipedia mentioned at least three translations, but I didn't looks into if further. Mostly because they didn't link directly to them. Wink But yes, they would be made from Norwegian nonsense words and somehow try to make it sound as meaningful as the original nonsense words. I am sure this tickles the imagination of many writers. Smile

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Re: Different translations!

Post by chris63 on Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:09 am

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Elthir on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:24 pm

Aha, and there's a picture including the somewhat famous 'Hompen'...

May I say now at once that I will not tolerate any similar tinkering with the personal nomenclature. Nor with the name/word Hobbit. I will not have any more Hompen (in which I was not consulted), nor any Hobbel or what not. Elves, Dwarfs/ves, Trolls, yes: they are mere modern equivalents of the correct terms. But hobbit (and orc) are of that world, and they must stay, whether they sound Dutch or not. ....

If you think I am being absurd, then I shall be greatly distressed; but I fear not altered in my opinions. The few people I have been able to consult, I must say, express themselves equally strongly. Anyway I'm not going to be treated à la Mrs Tiggywinkle = Poupette à l'épingle. Not that B[eatrix] P[otter] did not give translators hell. Though possibly from securer grounds than I have. I am no linguist, but I do know something about nomenclature, and have specially studied it, and I am actually very angry indeed.'

JRRT, 1956, letter 190

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Norc on Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:56 pm

well Hompen is cute, but it isn't Hobbit. Hobbit is just a word.. No need for translation, as well as elves Wink
In the norwegian edition orc was altered to ork.. which doesn't bother me (it is just a letter which sounds the same) but it is an elven word for foul beast or something.. and why translate elvish or change it. I think Tolkien wouldn't like it x)
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Re: Different translations!

Post by Elthir on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:50 pm

I would say orc is a Westron word (orch with ch as pronounced in German, is Elvish), but I agree Norc, that orc is still from an invented language in any case, in theory; and even Tolkien was thinking of altering orc to ork.

Hobbit isn't part of the invented languages spoken back in Bilbo's day, but it's not really English either (or wasn't), but an invented 'translation'. The word hobbit represents kuduk, a worn down form of kûd-dûkan meaning 'hole-dweller' -- and hobbit was to be imagined as also a worn down form of Old English holbytla.
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Re: Different translations!

Post by chris63 on Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:06 am

The Russian Hobbit, starts at 2mins into video

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Re: Different translations!

Post by Semiramis on Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:32 pm

Norc wrote:well Hompen is cute, but it isn't Hobbit. Hobbit is just a word.. No need for translation, as well as elves Wink
In german elf has been translated to elb Rolling Eyes Sort of useful, because if you say "elb" in german everyone knows that TLotR is meant and not any other story which tells about elves (well, at least everyone who knows tolkien Wink )
By the way: since I've read the book in the original language the first time, I'm trying to finish a list with all the names which have been changed...... Well, I'm still working on it Laughing
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