Questions tagged [translation]

For questions about translations of works, including how meanings and word choice differ in different languages, and the impact and reasoning of different translations.

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31
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5answers
5k views

Meaning/translation of title “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett

I have read The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett in English and always interpreted the title as "The Fantastic (adjective) light (noun)". Mostly because I do not see "Fantastic" as noun. To my ...
22
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1answer
387 views

In Foucault's Pendulum, by what method does the translation choose to keep or translate Italian?

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco was originally written in Italian. Most of the book was translated to English, except for the parts that weren't in Italian to begin with. I understand that ...
21
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2answers
412 views

Translation: Why are parts of the original language kept?

Inspired by this question. In many translated works (the first to come to mind are translations by Richard Pevear and the English versions of Isaac Bashevis Singer's writings) there are elements of ...
20
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1answer
332 views

Has a book ever been translated in its own fictional language?

In programming language design, there's a process called bootstrapping: In computer science, bootstrapping is the process of writing a compiler (or assembler) in the source programming language ...
13
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1answer
191 views

Should I read the English translation of “Khasākkinte Ithihāsam” first, or the original?

O. V. Vijayan translated his Malayalam novel ഖസാക്കിന്റെ ഇതിഹാസം (Khasākkinte Ithihāsam) to English about three decades after it was originally published, with the title The Legends of Khasak. The ...
12
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3answers
350 views

What are the challenges in translating a work of literature?

I'm currently in the process of reading Cyrano de Bergerac (translated by Charles Renauld). There, an introduction is made by Adolphe Cohn, said to be the Professor of the Romance languages and ...
12
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4answers
1k views

Understanding the use of the word “Negress” in the Kilmartin and Cox translation of Solaris

I just finished reading Kilmartin and Cox's translation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, and one particular passage stood out to me. I'm hesitant to ask a question about the Kilmartin and Cox translation, ...
11
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2answers
146 views

Why is “pensión” left untranslated in “The Shadow of the Wind”?

In The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, they attempt to find a place to live for Fermín Romero de Torres, a former street beggar with a great mind, who they hire to help them find the books ...
11
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1answer
361 views

How much “self-editing” did Nabokov do when his Russian novels were translated into English?

Several of Nabokov's early, Russian-language novels were translated into English in the 1960s, either by Nabokov himself (Despair), or by translators under his guidance (including his son Dmitri). To ...
10
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2answers
2k views

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

In The Neverending Story, AURYN, the medallion of the Childlike Empress, bears the following inscription (at least while Bastian is carrying it - it's never 100% confirmed that it had the same writing ...
10
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1answer
104 views

What word was used for “anisotropic” in the original Russian text of “Hard to Be a God”?

In the beginning of Hard to Be a God, there is the matter of the skeleton chained to a machine gun. "An anisotropic road," Anton explained. Anka stood with her back to him. "Traffic can move only ...
10
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1answer
420 views

Do authors who translate their own works tend to do accurate translations?

Closely related: Accuracy of a translation: how to forge an opinion? Several authors, such as Samuel Beckett, periodically translated their own works. Are their translations generally regarded as ...
10
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2answers
194 views

For works translated by the original author, how common is it for additional translations to exist? What might these translation add?

Sorley MacLean was a Scottish poet who worked in Gaelic. This was the language of his poem, Hallaig, about the Highland clearances and how time changes our perception of history. However, he also ...
10
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1answer
374 views

Dante Alleghieri's Divine Comedy “has been translated into the most languages in the world & top printed work after the Bible”?

There is a MOOC about Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy by the The University of Naples Federico II, in which a certain professor named Raffaele Giglio starts a video (published in September 2017) in ...
9
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1answer
255 views

Did Isaac Bashevis Singer write only in Yiddish, or also in English?

While researching another question, a couple of us have found what appears to be a contradiction in the Wikipedia page for Isaac Bashevis Singer. The introductory section of the article says: He ...
9
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1answer
174 views

Accuracy of a translation: how to forge an opinion?

This question is directly inspired from this one on French Language stack exchange. To summarize it, the OP is wondering about the good translation for "chimiste" in Baudelaire's opening poem Au ...
9
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0answers
169 views

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”: English vs. Russian translation?

I recently started reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami in English and I'm quite enjoying it. However, I learned that the English version — although well-translated — omits ...
8
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3answers
336 views

Should this word in Hard to Be a God be translated as “arbalest” or “crossbow”?

In this answer edit, someone changed my translation of a word "арбалет" as used in Strugatsky's Russian text of Hard to be a God from the one I used ("arbalest") to "crossbow". In the context of ...
8
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1answer
285 views

How did Ursula Le Guin translate the Tao Te Ching / Dao De Jing?

In 1998, Shambhala Publications published a translation of the Tao Te Ching (in pinyin: Daodejing and Dao De Jing) by Ursula Le Guin. The Dao De Jing was written in Classical Chinese, so it takes much ...
8
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1answer
225 views

Why does the Czech translation of “Till we have faces” mean the opposite?

The title of the book Till we have faces by C. S. Lewis is translated into Czech language as Dokud nemáme tvář. I would translate that into English literally as "While we don't have a face" or "Until ...
8
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0answers
242 views

Why is the last title in Proust's “Search For Lost Time” not consistently translated as “Time Found Again”?

Marcel Proust wrote a seven-volume French novel called A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. The original French title of the last volume was Le Temps Retrouvé. It seems to me that in these titles Proust ...
8
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0answers
72 views

Why did SAQ get re-translated?

Some Answered Questions was first published into English in 1908, but was "extensively retranslated" in 2014. Why was a retranslation needed? I assume it has to do with the dual origin of the English ...
7
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2answers
134 views

Why do translations of the line “Now have I told you soothly in a clause” ignore the word soothly?

I personally prefer to read The Canterbury Tales in the original English, but over the course of asking questions on this site I've come across several modern English translations. One thing that I'...
7
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1answer
309 views

Why was “Notre Dame de Paris” changed from “Notre Dame of Paris” to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” when it was re-published in English?

In the foreword to my copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Elizabeth Massie writes this: Victor Hugo's early novel, Notre Dame de Paris, published in 1831 and set in medieval Paris of 1482, was the ...
7
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2answers
384 views

How can I find out who translated a book on Project Gutenberg?

There's a translation error in Project Gutenberg's English-language version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I'd like to know whose translation was being used which contained this mistake. But in the ...
7
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1answer
347 views

How much of the original verse is lost in Fitzgerald's translation of The Aeneid?

I checked out The Aeneid from the library and read it today. I found it a bit easier to read than I'd expected (I guess I expected worse-than-Shakespearean language/turns of phrase) and then I ...
6
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1answer
158 views

Does a translation editor need to know the language of the source document?

If an editor is editing a translated work, does he need to know the language of the original source document? The editor is in contact with the client and can therefore ask him questions if something ...
6
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1answer
109 views

Looking for an Aeschylus quote mistranslated from Polish

I am working through a book of poetry by Tadeusz Miciński, a Polish writer who was active toward the end of the 19th century. The book is called "W mroku gwiazd" or "In the Twilight of the Stars" and ...
6
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1answer
265 views

Difference between translations of Sun Tzu's “The Art of War”?

I am planning to buy "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu (in English translation) but I've found versions of 90 pages, 170 pages and 200 pages. What is the difference between these versions? Is there a ...
6
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0answers
67 views

When was Machiavelli's Art of War first translated into Chinese?

Bookeater recently asked when Sun Zi's Art of War was first adopted outside China. However, Sun Zi was not the only author who wrote a treatise on this topic. Machiavelli wrote Dell'arte della guerra /...
5
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1answer
180 views

What is a “proem”, and why was this word used in the translation of the Kalevala?

The contents of Crawford's translation of the Kalevala begin, after the frontmatter that's not part of the original text, with something called a "Proem". Here it is. Obvious question: what is a ...
5
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1answer
85 views

What real word is “havekar” alluding to?

During the 2nd chapter of Baptism Of Fire, Geralt and Dandelion come across a group of traders trying to sell Cahir to the Nilfgaardian army, who are introduced as "havekars", basically war profiteers ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Was “First They Came …” a poem in German?

As I mentioned in another question, I have seen inconsistencies in the recounting of the poem, First They Came .... This led me to look it up and find out that the English poem comes from a collection ...
4
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1answer
315 views

When did Aristotle's Poetics first become available in England?

In a comment on a recent question about T. S. Eliot's essay on Hamlet, Peter Shor wrote, According to Aristotle, in great tragedy the hero must have a fatal flaw that leads to his downfall. What ...
4
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1answer
102 views

Is Wilfrid Scawen Blunt's poem 'The Camel Rider' really a translation?

I came across an interesting poem by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in a forgotten old tome, The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Verse. Blunt's own note states it is 'From the Arabic'. Is this just a device, or ...
4
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1answer
101 views

Why did Arthur Waley change the title in his translation of Journey to the West?

Journey to the West is a 16th-century Chinese novel whose original title 西遊記 means (according to Wikipedia) "West-Wandering Chronicles". In Arthur Waley's well-known 1942 English translation, he ...
4
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1answer
96 views

Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, the “lost” chapter 10

Is there an English translation of the surviving stanzas of chapter 10 of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin? From Wikipedia: Pushkin wrote at least 18 stanzas of a never-completed tenth chapter. It ...
4
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0answers
39 views

Solzhenitsyn's Red Wheel

I've heard that all of Solzhenitsyn's work is to be in English by the centennial of his birth, which is this year. I'm trying to understand just what new English translations we can expect this year, ...
4
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0answers
50 views

How can a reader know the quality of a translation?

This question asks about the choice of a word and seems to be in the context of assessing the quality of translations. However, to make assessments of the form suggested by the question. One must have ...
4
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0answers
42 views

Did Maugham originally write in French or English?

Currently I can only read with Chinese and English. So if his works are originally wrote in French, I may choose Chinese version.
4
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0answers
107 views

What narrative techniques and literary devices in The Three-Body Problem required or justified adjustment in the English translation?

In a postscript to the English translation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, Ken Liu drew attention to his approach to the translation work. Ken Liu writes that "differences in linguistic ...
3
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2answers
138 views

Does translation take away from the meaning of verse and poetry?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, many examples of haikus translated from Japanese are given. However, in their English form, they lack the rhythm and meter of Haiku....
3
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1answer
413 views

Zhuangzi translation in The Lathe of Heaven

In The Lathe of Heaven (1971) Ursula Le Guin uses an epigraph before the start of each chapter. The author most frequently quoted in these epigraphs is the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi or Chuang Tzu. ...
3
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1answer
82 views

Is there a hidden meaning in the name of Captain Foulenough?

The Brideshead Revisited features a side character, a certain Captain Foulenough. In Russian translation his last name is rendered as Буремглой, obviously referring to a Pushkin's line Буря мглою ...
3
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1answer
60 views

Did Ezra Pound write something like “The word communicates the thought, the tone the emotions”?

In Italy it is often attributed to Ezra Pound the following quote without source: la parola comunica il pensiero, il tono le emozioni It translate more or less to "The word communicates the ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Is there a translation of the 雑兵物語 (zohyo monogatari)?

When I was taking a few notes about Ashigaru, japanese foot soldiers of the jigoku-era, I found that most contemporary illustrations on this page stem from one and the same book by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. ...
3
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0answers
43 views

English standard of the (Prose) Edda?

Gustav Schwab‘s Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece (OT: Die schönsten klassischen Sagen des Altertums) is at least to the German audience the encyclopaedia of Roman and Greek mythology (despite its ...
3
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0answers
55 views

What is the creative device naming used for text generation in Pelevin's S.N.U.F.F.?

What is the proper, published, translation in the only AFAIK existing English version of the book S.N.U.F.F. by Victor Pelevin? Grim uploaded the germ of his perplexity and sadness in the creative ...
3
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0answers
489 views

Is there a good English translation of “Foundations of Geopolitics” by Aleksandr Dugin?

This book is fairly geopolitically significant, because it describes a lot of the recent events in the world as driven by Russia and Russian disinformation campaigns. I'm looking for an English copy ...
2
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2answers
624 views

Was The Forty Rules of Love originally written in Turkish or in English?

I was trying to figure out whether or not to use the turkish-literature tag for my questions here about Elif Şafak's novel The Forty Rules of Love, i.e. whether or not the book was originally written ...