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Old August 6th 08, 05:00   #51
hypatia
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

Indeed. But I wonder what a literal translation of the original would be.

And don't get me wrong, everyone, I'm not putting down Tolkien in any way. It's more amazement that he used such an obscure and mostly-unknown source for a very key aspect of his series. I mean, how many people have ever heard of this lost book, or in fact even know that what has been put into the bible and left out has changed over time.

I certainly didn't, the thought never occured to me until I was told. Now, years later, I"ve found the series on this subject to be amazingly interesting. If I were a writer I'd happily lift characters, names, quotes, whatever I like from it. I mean, just how cool is a major biblical figure summoning demons (and controlling them) to build Jerusalem?
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Old August 6th 08, 05:48   #52
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

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Indeed. But I wonder what a literal translation of the original would be.
Much, much less cool.

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I mean, just how cool is a major biblical figure summoning demons (and controlling them) to build Jerusalem?
Oh, yeah, Solomon was quite the guy by all accounts. He still features prominently in Middle Eastern mythology, I'm told. And FYI, the "demons" would be djinni (singular djinn) in Arabic... or, in other words, a genie in a bottle.
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Old August 6th 08, 06:09   #53
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

Oh, my God! Barbara Eden built Jerusalem!
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Old August 6th 08, 15:20   #54
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

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Oh, yeah, Solomon was quite the guy by all accounts. He still features prominently in Middle Eastern mythology, I'm told. And FYI, the "demons" would be djinni (singular djinn) in Arabic... or, in other words, a genie in a bottle.
Solomon cast out "demons" from people who were thought to be possessed. So I gather their idea of "genie" is closer to our idea of "demon". And yes, this particular show used those middle eastern sources to support the validity of (at least some) of the stories in this supposed banned book.

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Oh, my God! Barbara Eden built Jerusalem!
It certainly gives one pause, doesn't it?
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Old August 6th 08, 17:12   #55
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

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If it were the quote from the Testament of Soloman, would it rhyme so neatly, and have such a convenient meter, in modern English?
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It wouldn't surprise me, therefore, if the quotation is pretty melodious in its first language, and Tolkien came up with the translation to match the poetic rhythm in the original.
Yeah, well that's translation gets to be a really interesting problem, isn't it ..... when things like rhythm or rhyming pattern are just about as important as the basic meaning of the words.

Well, ...... that and trying to figure out what makes sense for cultural reference metaphors.

I have a CD by Ute Lemper called "Berlin Caberet Songs". All of the songs came from the German caberet and review shows of the Weimar Republic era, and all of them were banned by the Nazis when they came to power. She recorde two complete versions of the CD. Both have all of the same songs and all of the same orchestrations / backing music. What's different is that one is sung all in the original German and the other is all in English translation. That had to have been an extremely "interesting" translation job. In addition to translating the meaning, you have to stay with the rhythm of the music, the rhyming pattern is important, and to top it all offf you've got to maintain the sense of humor including risque double entendres (which tend to *not* line up directly between languages). I've got the English version. Sometimes I think that it would be really interesting to listen to the German version, even though I only know a few words of German. For one thing, there are a few places on the CD where the lyrics drop into French for a word or a short phrase, and I'm curious whether any of the original German songs did that. It's not completely unthinkable, but still .......


Another interesting bit of translation .....
I remember reading a play by Moliere a high school English class. I couldn't even tell you which one it was with any certainty. What did burn into my mind so that I still remember it was the translation. Somebody had managed to translate it so that the English version of the play maintained its couplet rhyming pattern throughout.
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Old August 6th 08, 19:15   #56
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

Robert Fagles is now fairly well regareded among translaters of Homer for doing a great job of making the Iliad and Odessy sound like real poetry (and making it fun, as well). He's been criticized for not being quite so accurate... but considering the nature of oral history to begin with, I've never much cared.
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Old August 6th 08, 19:49   #57
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

Yes, sometimes great liberties have to be taken with the content in order to match all that you have been talking about, both of you. Personally, I'd hate that job (translating). You're bound to piss someone off, no matter which way you lean.

For a magical incantation, it would be like a song. The feel would probably be paramount, as long as the basic meaning were kept. I had a friend in high school who knew enough of German to watch films like "Das Boot" and not have to read much of the subtitles. Once she said, though (about the subtitles) "hey, THAT's not accurate, that's not what he said".

It was the line about vaseline between a virgin's legs I think. That was my first experience with the idea that cultural references may not translate well, so they have to be replaced with something more fitting for that culture, or it won't make sense.
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Old August 7th 08, 05:48   #58
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

What I loved about the subtitles in Das Boot was when the sub commander made jokes about Churchill in English, the subtitles translated the English right along with the German. Accurately, by the way.

My father's a big fan of Wagner's operas, and we watch Parsifal fairly often; near the end of Act III there's a flubbed translation which my parents both groan over. I still have no idea what the actual line is.
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Old August 7th 08, 06:09   #59
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

I watch a lot of films with subtitles. I speak Spanish, and understand a fair amount of Italian. I see lots of poor translations. I think idioms should be translated literally, when they will be understood, to give some of the flavor of the language. Of course, sometimes they wouldn't be understood at all.

I watch a lot of Japanese films, many translated in the 50s - 70s. I don't understand Japanese, but it is often painfully obvious that they just don't bother to translate everything, all the time. One film, title escapes me at the moment, has a very dramatic scene between a man and a woman. It ends with him asking her a question, and she answers. Except, they don't bother to translate her answer...
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Old August 7th 08, 12:08   #60
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Re: Lord of the Rings?

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One film, title escapes me at the moment, has a very dramatic scene between a man and a woman. It ends with him asking her a question, and she answers. Except, they don't bother to translate her answer...
Maybe she was just telling him to **** off.

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