Thursday, 25 October 2007

Gutes Year (or how to ruin an anecdote)

After the way, that the discussion went on the prior thread, I only this had to try: write a post, translate you it into another language (I become with German for the will of the logical consistency stick) and translate you then it behind to English and give you it on the place out.

I thought, select would have lost becomes that I an anecdote that (hanging therefrom off, like well it is told) a very orderly punchline to see only like much, that it in translation twice over:

I was sat on a bus at Derby bus railway station a Friday evening ago some years to break open waiting, on that in Derbyshire because I wanted to visit my mother. When the driver sat there idling the time away, before he was due, to depart, asked a couple of youth that is received on the bus, and it if the bus led to Nottingham. The conversation is likes gone somewhat this:

Youth: Two halves to Nottingham would ask. They do not go are to Nottingham you.

Driver (somewhat laconic) : Nottingham? They will not have came much chance of to Nottingham on this bus. We go to Chesterfield.

Youth: Are you certain?

Driver: Very certainly. Chesterfield. You come along want, you, but you must pay to like everyone this other good passengers.

Youth: But it says Nottingham on the side of the bus! Why does it say that if it goes somewhere otherwise?

Driver (even more laconic) : Does ah yes, and it not say was has on the tire just as "goods year", but if so far it"?

Tranlated from: After the way the discussion was going on the previous thread, I just had to try this: write a post, translate it into another language (I'll stick with German for the sake of consistency) and then translate it back to English and publish it on the site.

I thought I'd choose an anecdote which (depending on how well it is told) has a very neat punchline, just to see how much it gets lost in translation twice over:

I was sat on a bus at Derby bus station one Friday evening some years ago, waiting for it to set off into Derbyshire since I was going to visit my mother. As the driver sat there idling the time away before he was due to depart, a couple of youths got on the bus and asked him if the bus was heading to Nottingham. The conversation went something like this:

Youth: Two halves to Nottingham please. You are going to Nottingham aren't you.

Driver (somewhat laconically): Nottingham? You won't have much chance of getting to Nottingham on this bus. We're going to Chesterfield.

Youth: Are you sure?

Driver: Very sure. Chesterfield. Come along if you want but you'll have to pay like all these other good passengers.

Youth: But it says Nottingham on the side of the bus! Why does it say that if it's going somewhere else?

Driver (even more laconically): Ah yes, and it says "Good Year" on the tyres as well, but if hasn't been so far has it?"


zola a social thing said...

Brian Clough is sooooooooo needed.

szwagier said...

Translation unnecessary. You should see some of the crap I get sent to proofread.

proofread: read through a finished document to check for mistakes.

Some of it is more like "read through some cobbled-together notes written by an individual who was physically present in the classroom (although mentally at the far end of the Solar System) during a couple of English lessons 15 years ago, and try to translate it into something that might pass as English on a foggy night. While maintaining the original author's style and intention."

Backtranslated by machine from German is peanuts in comparison. :)

szwagier said...

No disrespect to your writing skills, t - but I prefer the first version. Come on, admit it. You wrote that, didn't you?

trousers said...

That's always been the case, zola..

I've been there with proofreading szwag, most of the documents would be reasonably well-translated, but every so often it would be as you describe. Which would leave me picking through the original untranslated document with a dictionary in that language, cross-referenced against an internet machine-translation of it, and numerous email enquiries to a polyglot friend. Fun and games, all of it :)

trousers said...

Actually szwag I got the two versions the wrong way round: the smaller-font version is what I ended up with after putting the bad-English version into German and back ;-)

Merkin said...

Well, trousers, I can give you a special rate for lessons if you pay up front.

lavenderblue said...

What the fuck are you talking about -I am bewildered baffled, never to be
buggered I thank you...........
ah well. i so hope i understand you.
Erm.trousers SweetThing, email me if you come to Nottm to the various In the Market Square, German week, etc
- I will mail my phone number and good to see you ....oh you have your own room Ha! wouldn't like to terrify you there .heehee

DJ Kirkby said...

So glad you translated, I thought I might need to go back to bed for a few hours and rest my brain...

zola a social thing said...

Anybody remember Peter Sellers singing a Beatles song.
That was translation.

To translate is always to trangress is it not?

zola a social thing said...

In the end a spade is just a spade and this wisdom slowly travels south to the Notty lands of Middledegook sinking.
Shovel me up Scotty.

szwagier said...

It's nice if you have the original document, t. Unfortunately my clients are not usually that forward-thinking. I get 10 pages of text that's been translated from Polish into something almost but not quite entirely unlike English.

szwagier said...

zola, I vaguely remember Sellers singing 'Help'. Having a healthy dislike of the moptops and everything associated with them, I prefer the Sellers version.

"Translated and improved upon by..."

szwagier said...

This is completely irrelevant to this post, and this blog, but as both bloggers concerned visit here, I'd just like to make an announcement.

I'm unable to comment in either 'future of my past' or 'altering labyrinth'. I've tried three different browsers, and in none of them can I see the captcha text or hear the audio. I'm disappointed.

Pixie said...

I feel the need to quote beatle lyrics here for some reason!!!

trousers said...

Hi lav, I'd been wondering about you, haven't seen you for a little while. Yes I'll let you know if I'm round that neck of the woods.

Re the confusion over this, I perhaps should have made it a little clearer (or should I?) that I had written out the text and then put it through one of those online translation sites which automatically changes the words and the grammar, then translated the resulting text back (from German) to English.

I haven't completely lost my marbles, yet.

So, dj, I think it would have looked like I would have needed a long rest for my brain in a very quiet room if I hadn't put the original text up...

zola, I do remember the Peter Sellers thing but not ever so clearly - might have to go hunting round for some links. Is to translate always to transgress? It is with these automated sites, definitely. Beer me up Scotty!

szwag, I'll let both ario and anna know. Forgive me for making light of your proofreading frustrations, but I can't help reading your comments as "Original article? Vaguely legible English? You were lucky! :-)

Hi pixie, which Beatles song - Maxwell's Silver Hammer? :-)

But Why? said...

I'm reminded of an example I once heard.

Original phrase: Out of sight, out of mind.

Two transalations later: Invisible maniac.

Rob Clack said...

Translation not necessary is. First version wrong what with is? English perfectly good to me sounds.

trousers said...

Yoda you are, rob?