18 votes

Chilli peppers in fifteenth-century India?

This is an error introduced by the translator. The original Portuguese text says: Sabei que estais na Índia, onde se estende Diverso povo, rico e prosperado De ouro luzente e fina pedraria, Cheiro ...
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  • 15.3k
16 votes
Accepted

Why don't these lines rhyme in Les Miserables?

That wouldn't follow the rhyme scheme of the other verses, which follow the scheme ABCC. The next verse is: There is a lady all in white, Holds me and sings a lullaby, She's nice to see and she'...
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  • 4,898
16 votes

Why does Aphrodite speak like this while disguised as the old woman?

TL;DR: Aphrodite has disguised herself as a worker in wool, an occupation which Rouse stereotypes as northern English. Aphrodite’s speech here is book III, lines 390–394: δεῦρ᾽ ἴθ᾽: Ἀλέξανδρός σε ...
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  • 40.1k
15 votes
Accepted

What are the challenges in translating a work of literature?

Many works of literature derive a lot of value from implied context. Cultural norms. Idioms. Insider jokes. This is especially a big factor in a book which contains elements of humor (especially ...
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  • 4,186
15 votes
Accepted

Translation: Why are parts of the original language kept?

The purpose of keeping parts of the source langue no-translated, or using some variant or dialect of the target language for some elements (eg: dialog, a specific character talk, ...), depends on the ...
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14 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 241
13 votes

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

First, it's not true to assume that all foreign bits in Foucault's Pendulum were left untranslated in the English version: However, Latin is more familiar to Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese,...
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  • 1,828
12 votes

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

Some context: I recently did a job as a proofreader for a translated document. This quickly turned into editing, which in turn turned into mostly re-translating. That's what most of this based on. ...
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  • 19.6k
11 votes
Accepted

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

I believe he translated at least some of his works into English himself: In most cases, Singer published a story in the Yiddish press, and then used tear sheets or clippings to translate it into ...
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  • 4,506
11 votes
Accepted

Harry Potter German translation - use of word "Eingeweide"

The first example in Der Orden des Phönix seems to be Solch wilde Gedanken wirbelten durch Harrys Kopf, und seine Eingeweide verknoteten sich vor Zorn The original English is These ...
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  • 630
11 votes
Accepted

What does "branch of Ares" mean in book II of "The Iliad"?

“Branch of Ares” is a literal translation of “ὄζος Ἄρηος”, for example in the passage quoted in the question: οὐκ οἶος, ἅμα τῷ γε Λεοντεὺς ὄζος Ἄρηος υἱὸς ὑπερθύμοιο Κορώνου Καινεΐδαο: τοῖς δ᾽ ἅμα ...
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  • 40.1k
10 votes
Accepted

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

The original Russian version does not use any made-up or composite word for "anisotropic". "Anisotropic" is a real world present in English language; it is used in science, as well as technology. ...
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  • 8,057
10 votes
Accepted

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

We don't know whether it was an arbalest or a crossbow. To quote (for the lack of a better source) Wikipedia: A large weapon, the arbalest had a steel prod ("bow"). Emphasis mine Taking ...
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  • 8,057
10 votes
Accepted

Why has this Premchand story been translated as both "Catastrophe" and "A Positive Change"?

The Hindi title "विध्वंस" (transliterated as "Vidhwans") means "catastrophe" or "destruction". I am not too familiar with Urdu, but Google Translate says that &...
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9 votes

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

Many renditions of the original English text use the word "shortly" instead of "soothly". For example, this version from Librarius: Now have I toold you shortly in a clause, Th'estaat, th'...
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  • 63.5k
9 votes

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

As Cascabel rightly says, there is no direct equivalent to a Pension in Britain - in terms of the particular facilities provided. As mentioned, this is not the only work in which Pension is not ...
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  • 2,068
8 votes
Accepted

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

Nabokov sometimes used translations into English as an opportunity to touch up his work, but sometimes he didn't. Below are a few case studies. Maybe the best example of Nabokov making changes is ...
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  • 1,064
8 votes
Accepted

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

I would say firstly that this question relies on what you mean by the term 'accurate', as when we normally describe a translation as 'accurate' we mean that the meaning conveyed when translated is as ...
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  • 564
8 votes

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

TL; DR: There is an ambiguity, intended by the author, between "do what you wish" and "find your true will" which is important for the development of the main character Bastian. Long answer: To ...
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  • 181
8 votes

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 Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen, it's claimed that: The original title of Hugo's work was Notre Dame de Paris, making no mention of the disfigurement of ...
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  • 6,644
8 votes
Accepted

What is the original Korean title of "The Tiger and the Persimmon"?

In Korean, the story is called 호랑이와 곶감. I would personally go with the translation: “The Tiger and the Dried Persimmons", but this isn't the exact translation. First, I’ll address the food, ...
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8 votes

Who translated the 1995 Penguin Popular Classics version of "The Phantom of the Opera"?

TLDR: The original translation was a work for hire, and so did not have the translator's name in it. When Penguin Classics reprinted it, they did not bother to add the translator's name. The 1911 ...
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  • 7,900
8 votes

Who translated the 1995 Penguin Popular Classics version of "The Phantom of the Opera"?

According to the Phantompedia Wiki, there are five English translations of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra: one by the Dutch-English journalist, literary critic and translator Alexander Teixeira de Mattos ...
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  • 38.5k
8 votes
Accepted

Why did Urquhart choose "neck of a goose" in his English translation of Gargantua?

It's not a oisillon, it's a oison. A oison is a gosling, i.e., a baby goose. See Wiktionary. (A oie is a goose; knowing this is what made me look oison up in the dictionary.) So why did Urquhart pick ...
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  • 7,900
7 votes

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

Read the Malayalam original first. Whatever your aim in reading the English translation, you will achieve it more readily by having the knowledge of the original in mind. As the quote you have ...
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  • 15.3k
7 votes

Translation: Why are parts of the original language kept?

@yaitloutou has a great answer, but there's three reasons they've miss out on that I'd like to include here: To convey a change in language in the original text: possibly the most famous example of ...
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  • 1,660
7 votes
Accepted

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

The German version reads Do what you want (Tu Was Du Willst). The ambiguity could exist in German as well with Tu Was Du Wünscht, albeit that would be a less common phrase and kids probably had ...
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  • 847
7 votes

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

Le Guin collaborated with James P. Seaton, professor emeritus of Chinese at UNC-Chapel Hill, who has translated other classical Chinese works (e.g. The Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from ...
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7 votes
Accepted

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

Proem is most definitely not a typo for "poem". Proem comes from Latin prooemium, which comes from Ancient Greek προοίμιον (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 1940): A. ...
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  • 38.5k

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