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    Re: Moby Dick Tales
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2019 Jan 19, 13:56 -0800


    And what of the Mir space station? Was it named for "peace"? Or was it named for the "world"? Or is the ambiguity intentionally part of its name? 

    You wrote:
    "A good translation lets a reader to get the author's idea, a quality translation adds author's emotions to the picture. An excellent translation makes a reader think the book was written in his own language - full with slightest details and nuances just like grandma would tell him this story. That's why one must read everything in original language."

    Well-said! I would add one more thing. Artful translations can be so excellent that they become works of art in and of themselves. It's helpful hear to think of a translation as a "staging" of a play. Think of a great play written centuries ago. If such a play is staged today, nearly every director or creative talent will do something with the original material to "translate" it to our era, either literally by costuming and settings that appear modern, or more figuratively by emphasizing themes that are modern to "translate" the ancient work into something meaningful for a unique audience. Have you ever seen Kozintsev's Гамлет (Gamlet / Hamlet)? It's an interesting work of art, a unique staging of Hamlet, and an interesting example of the problem of translation. There are few other works that really demand to be heard in English as much as Hamlet. Yet it works. It's not Hamlet. One has not seen Hamlet after seeing Kozinstsev's Gamlet. But one has seen something fascinating that has Hamlet in it!

    You continued:
    "There is a book I'm sure impossible for translation - the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe. "

    Heh. You mean the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Funny. A little translation bug there! I agree that some jokes can't be translated. Of course, a huge amount of the humor and social commentary of Douglas Adams nonetheless translates easily. The idea that a computer might answer with a number when humans ask it for the answer to the ultimate question translates readily into any language, and perhaps with the exception of a very few traditionally rural areas on the globe, like in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, the idea of a computer missing the point is comrehensible to anyone. And then there's the opening story: Arthur and Ford have to get off-planet because someone is building a bypass through the planet Earth, and bureaucrats run everything. These jokes translate easily. One joke that does not even translate across the Atlantic, firmly within the bounds of the English language, is the name of the character "Ford Prefect" himself. He named himself after a popular car. And while "Ford" is an American brand, the "Prefect" was apparently ony sold in Britain, and the joke falls flat in the USA. Translation can't fix that without major surgery.

    We're off-topic, aren't we? I decided back in early January to encourage a few more off-topic discussions to ensure that we would have good activity this month since last year was rather anemic. This has worked. The January message total for this year is almost guaranteed to be higher than last year. But yes, we should eventually wind down off-topic discussions... Eventually... :)

    Frank Reed

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