Tuesday, August 30, 2005

pinions of buddy don: grate new translayshun of Švejk

befor thay wuz a catch 22 (or even books that aint near as much pure fun such as the naked and the dead or the things they carried or a farewell to arms), thay wuz a grate war novel name of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War.

ye kin always tell when english speakin folks thanks a book is grate on a counta they make speshul edishuns, such as the modern library edition, witch twuz translated by a feller name of cecil parrott.

i red thatn n rote a lil revue of it a lil over a year ago, witch that wuz lucky on a counta purty soon i herd frum a feller name of zenny k. sadlon, witch he had dun writ a translayshun of Švejk his ownself. we writ a few emails back n forth till i jes had to read me his vershun.

am i ever glad i dunnit. taint that cecil parrotts vershun dint strike me as a goodn. i enjoyed it a lot, but once i red the new translayshun, i wuz spoilt. heres a cuple lil eggzamples why i lack zenny k. sadlons vershun better. take, fer instunts, the verr furst three paragrafs. heres how cecil parrott translated em:
'And so they've killed our Ferdinand,' said the charwoman to Mr Švejk, who had left military service years before after having been finally certified by an army medical board as an imbecile, and now lived by selling dogs -- ugly, mongrel monstrosities whose pedigrees he forged.

Apart from this occupation he suffered from rheumatism and was at this very moment rubbing his knees with Elliman's embrocation.

'Which Ferdinand, Mrs. Müller?' he asked, going on with the massaging. 'I know two Ferdinands. One is a messenger at Prusa's, the chemist's, and once by mistake he drank a bottle of hair oil there. And the other is Ferdinand Kokoska, who collects dog manure. Neither of them is any loss.'
heres how zenny k. sadlon translates em:
"So they've done it to us," said the cleaning woman to Mr. Švejk. "They've killed our Ferdinand."

Švejk had been discharged from the military service years ago when a military medical commission had pronounced him to be officially an imbecile. Now, he was making his living by selling dogs, ugly mongrel mutants that he sold as purebreds by forging their pedigrees. In addition to this demeaning vocation, Švejk also suffered from rheumatism and was just now rubbing his aching knees with camphor ice.

"Which Ferdinand, Mrs. Müller?" he asked. "I know two Ferdinands. One is the pharmacist Prusa's delivery boy, who drank up a whole bottle of hair potion once by mistake. And then, I know one Ferdinand Kokoska, who collects dog turds. Neither one of them would be much of a loss."
one of em reads lack the translator wuz lookin backwurds at the 19th centry style of ritin, tuther lookin fords at the langwage n style of the modurn novel, witch Švejk is one of the furst of them modurn ones (ifn taint the verr furst). i couldnt hardly stop readin the new one, witch i wonted to saver it a bit, but nex thang i knew, i wuz dun n hopin fer zenny k. sadlon to cum out with the nex book in the series.

heres a cuple more eggzamples of whut makes thisn bettern tuther. in cecil parrotts translayshun, Švejk has a thang he often sez that parrott translates as 'humbly report, sir!' Švejk uses this to start tellin mos innythang he has been ast or orderd to tell.

i kindly lack that 'humbly report' n humbly report my ownself how at furst i dint take too well to zenny k. sadlon translatin it as 'dutifully report, sir!' it dint seem to flow as well or fit on yer tung as easy n twuznt as commonly used in other contexts in english, but tiz a verr importunt differnts that i cum to prefer as i red on.

why? the meanin of that fraze gut to resonatin fer me: dutifully means that the feller did or is reportin whutever, not on a counta how he wonts to, but on a counta how hes been orderd to. that lil differnts turns out to be huge on a counta tiz more in keepin with Švejks passiv agressiv manner of doin thangs, more lack the way czechs often kin be accordin to whut i been tole by the czechs i know.

tuther differnts wurks well fer me on a counta how i used to live in germany, witch as ye mite magin, the influents of germans n the german langwage is verr pronounced in a novel bout the german side of worl war one. in cecil parrotts translayshun, he refers to Švejks role in his servus to a field chaplun as Švejk bein a 'batman.' mayhap twuz a common term fer a persunal assistunt at one time, but it dont wurk now on a counta how ye gut the cartoon batman n almos nobidy knows whut a batman ever wuz sides a twisted vigilante crime fiter.

zenny k. sadlon made a differnt choice in his translayshun, witch he uses the german putzfleck. tiz a much better choice on a counta how tiz typisch deutsch (typicull german). it means litterly 'spot clean' or sumthing to that effeck. tiz more demeanin n shows how tiz a wurd deescribin a persun deevoted to verr small tasks, lack cleanin the lil spots that sumbidy else dun missed.

tiz a hole slew of choices lack these that makes zenny k. sadlons translayshun so eggcitin, easy to read n hard to putt down. i know im jes waitin fer the nex volum to be reddy.

ifn ye wonta git a copy fer yer ownself, foller this lank. ye wont be disappointed!

1 comment:

dainfomaster said...

Well Buddy Don, your wish is my command ... . . . it is with a great relief and pleasure that we are hereby dutifully reporting that Book Two and Book(s) Three&Four of our new translation of Jaroslav Hašek's The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War are available for sale as paperbacks at this link.

We hope this announcement finds you in good health and disposition and hungry for more adventures of the good soldier ... after all these years.