Native speaker here. The most important part that was lost in translation was the rhythm of the prose. Lem's texts at all times have a quality similar to that of a blank verse. Sadly, I think it would require much better writer than Lem to save the meaning and give a similar quality to English translation.
Also a number of passage's literal details got lost....
I'm a mathematician, and to me the style of narration in this passage sounds very familiar. Because of the extreme abstraction from reality of most of (pure) mathematics, we who study it often dread being asked what we do by non-mathematicians. The difficulty of trying to explain our work to laypeople in any level of detail is a common joke among ...
In English-speaking world - very positively.
Because they weren't translated to English before the games came out :D
There's a thread on Reddit which asks the same question - sadly, none of the answerers quote any sources. It's hard to provide exact sale figures, because there are now different editions and two different translations, but it's certain that ...
Vilgefortz was a prodigy
Many people describe Vlgefortz as extremely talented man - he is young (relatively speaking) but already obtained considerable power. On top of that, one of his parents was a sorcerer - something that doesn't happen often (and something he has in common with Geralt), since magic users are usually sterile:
‘The Druid Circle in ...
It sounds very like lines 31–34 of Prometheus Bound:
ἀνθ᾽ ὧν ἀτερπῆ τήνδε φρουρήσεις πέτραν
ὀρθοστάδην, ἄυπνος, οὐ κάμπτων γόνυ:
πολλοὺς δ᾽ ὀδυρμοὺς καὶ γόους ἀνωφελεῖς
In the prose translation of Herbert Weir Smyth, that’s:
Therefore on this joyless rock you must stand sentinel, erect, sleepless, your knee unbent. And many a groan ...
Yes… I don't get it.
It occurs in Pirx pilóta kalandjai (orig title. Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie; in Stanisław Lem teljes science-fiction univerzuma vol. 2, (2006) Szukits könyvkiadó, translator Murányi Beatrix), in the short story “Feltételes reflex”. The young student Pirx and the older scientist (astrophysicist) Langner are waiting in a hotel room on the ...
Here's the original Polish text of this passage (plus half a sentence as the sentence breaks are different in the translation). I highlighted the sentence that was translated as “A giant Negress was coming silently towards me with a smooth, rolling gait.”
Zbliżyłem się do okrągłej komory, z której rozchodziły się korytarze na kształt
szprych koła, kiedy ...
I think the first translation you mention is more accurate. Still, omitting comma in first line and adding in last would be more accurate, and here is why:
In original it's
Ja tarsjusz syn tarsjusza,
wnuk tarsjusza i prawnuk,
wiem, jak bardzo trzeba być tarsjuszem.
In the first row it's not "Ja jestem tarsjusz", or "Ja ...
Most likely it was the poet himself: Dandilion is not just a simple troubadour wandering through the countries following Geralt, he graduated with honours the Oxenfurt University, then he has spent year teaching to other students (and occasionally he returns there as a guest lecturer). This suggests that he is indeed a famous poet, well known in the world.
Warning: a speculative answer!
"Havekar" doesn't relate to any Polish word
For start, there is no letter "v" in the Polish alphabet and "h" is relatively rarely used as a first letter. However, this does look slightly similar to the Czech language, where (after digging a bit in the dictionary) I've found a few similarly sounding words:
havran : rook
"You are black? [...] In my country everyone had white skin, so we had to use the shades. My hair were dark so I've been called black"
The paraphrased quote above is from "American Gods", but I believe it brings the essence of what people trying to say: in Polish, calling someone "black" might mean something different than in ...
An English translation was published in hardback format by A.A. Knopf in 1927, but there appears to be no English translation currently in print. You may have to use the services of a second-hand bookseller in order to obtain a copy. However, your first port of call should be a public library.
Goodreads: The Promised Land (2 Volumes)
He means that they will never stay together permanently.
Or at least that's Yennefer's conclusion about how to interpret it. She explains as much to Geralt several stories later in "Something More", the final story in Sword of Destiny, after the two of them meet by chance one Beltane and make love together:
‘Do you remember when we met in the Owl ...
Literature, at least in one important sense, is holding up a mirror to human nature. And Stanislaw Lem in Solaris is holding up literally a mirror to European society, just as another Polish writer, Joseph Conrad - a writer Lem both admired and was influenced by - did in Heart of Darkness . But whereas Conrad was tackling European imperialism, Lem was ...