A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Tony Oz
Date: 2019 Jan 19, 02:58 -0800
Yes, to avoid/minimise Frank's looming anger I'll keep it short. :)
The confusion comes directly from the Russian orthography rules change/update some ~100 years ago. Before that we had two words: the "Мир" and the "Мiр" (both pronounced similarly - "meer" as in "sheep", may be not as prolonged - "ship" is also good hint). The first one was for "Peace" the second - for "Society, World, Humankind". Along with lots of other rarely-used and unnecessary characters the "i" was also droped.
Now even for us it takes quite some explaining to understand the meaning of Tolstoi's title. We have to recall an old adage going "на миру и смерть красна" meaning "one must not fear to sacrifice his life for community's benefit". A bad translator will make it "on the peace the death is red" just like they did with "Resurrection" vs "Sunday".
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.
There is a book I'm sure impossible for translation - the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe". It is not possible to keep even a fraction of Adams' humor for example in the description of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe - where the language-related problems of time-travel are discussed. The other language must be too similar to English to be able to convey the atmosphere - making the translation unnecessary in the first place.
Thank you Frank for your patience! :)