Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can't we just get along ?

... MORE TRANSLATION WARS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


  1. Anonymous10:25 AM

    This convinces me to just go ahead and read my Briggs -- especially since I lost the receipt and can't return it now for the Pevear.

    Interestingly, though, I did discuss the ending of Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilych" with a Russian specialist named Kaufman. He spoke Russian and noted that two of us in a group discussing the book had different translations of Ivan's dying words. "He tried to say 'forgive,' but said 'forgo,'" said my translation. "He tried to say 'forgive' but said 'forget,'" said my colleague's.

    This Tolstoy scholar said the Russian reads, "He tried to say 'forgive,' but said 'let me pass.'" Something about "prosti" and "propusti," which the translator of my text (Constance Garnett) altered so it would be two similar words in English. Actually, same thing with my colleague's translator, though I can't remember who that was.

    Translating is a fascinating biz, sans doute.

  2. I reviewed the Briggs and found it to be a pretty good read. I think it's a good idea to translate the French in the body of the text, rather than in footnotes and we've all seen enough British war movies to be able to relate to noncoms with Cockney accents.
    As for "Ivan Ilyich" I'd like to know the connotation of the word meaning "let me pass."