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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Valerian translation project (2)

Some people do jigsaw puzzles; I translate french graphic novels into english. It's not that different in some ways. You pick out the bits of each sentence you understand clearly, which are like the corners on a jigsaw, and then you puzzle your way through the rest relying heavily on the context - seeing how the new bits match up with what you have so far. And every so often you get to something that doesn't seem to fit however you rearrange the pieces and you reckon you must have lost a verb down the side of the sofa.


Page 5.

And straight away we are in at the deep end again.

...schamils hypnotiques de la planete Glimius lesquels on senferme pour trouver l'oubli.

...Hypnotic [schamils] of the planet Glimus which one [senferme] to find forgetfulness.


is the best I can do so far. None of the dictionaries I tried included either schamils or senferme so I'm a bit stumped there. Schamils may be a made up name but senferme has to mean something in context.

...Pierres vivantes d'Arphal qui se fixent a la peau pour faire les beaux bijoux.
...The living stones of Arphal that can be set directly into skin and worn as beautiful jewels.
...Rarissimes spiglics telepathes de Bluxte, animaux familiers qui vivent sur la tête de leur maître en lui communiquant leur bonheur toujours égal par transmission de pensée
...The extremely rare telepathic spiglics of Bluxte, animal familiars that live on the head of their master, communicating a constant feeling of happiness via thought transference.
...Métaux rares, mets raffinés étoffes colorées... dans l'enchevêtrement des ruelles de Sytre, une population venue de toutes les planètes, achète, vend, vole parfois...
...Rare metals, refined [mets] colourful fabrics... in the tangled lanes of Sytre, a population drawn from every planet buys, sells, and occasionally steals.

Only translation I can find for mets is dish, which doesn't seem right.

...On vient aussi sur Syrte pour consulter les connaiseurs, médecins ducorps et devins des âmes, impénétrables derrière leur masque de metal.
...Visitors also come to Syrte to consult the great experts, doctors of the body and soothsayers of the heart, impenetrable behind metal masks.
...leur puissance, dit-on, ne fait que s'accroître, et certains pensent qu'ils sont peut-étre denvenues les véritables maîtres de syrte. Peu nombreux, les connaisseurs sont les hôtes les plus respectés et surtout les plus craints du palais...
...their power, say some, does nothing but increase, and others think that they might be [denvenus] the true masters of Syrte. Though small in number, the experts are the both the most respected and most feared inhabitants of the palace...
Once again I couldn't find a translation for denvenus, and I'm a little dubious about my translation of that last sentence, particularly having used inhabitants where the original is hosts, but it seemed to make the most sense.

...A moins qu'ils ne vivent dans des temples-fortresses perdus dans la jungle Syrtienne

...Except when they live in temple-fortresses lost in the Syrtienne jungle.
Another line I'm a bit dubious about but literally it's "unless they don't live in" which makes no sense to me.

Only one more page of this and we might actually get to Valerian and Laureline.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Vida said...

it's not "senferme" it's "s'enferme" ->
Hypnotic schamils of the planet Glimus in which one lock himself in to find forgetfulness.

"mets" does mean dish here -> Rare metals, refined dishes, colourful fabrics...

"and others think that they might be [denvenus] the true masters of Syrte." -> and others think that they might have become the true masters of Syrte.
(it's devenus not denvenus)

and it's not "unless they don't live in [...]" but "unless they live in [...]"

hope that helps...

4:08 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

This project would go faster if I didn't try to translate misspelt words.

*sigh*

So I'm right about "except when they live in..."?

I might also change "lost" to "hidden" here. "Lost" might be accurate to the translation but doesn't make sense in context. If they live in these places then they can't be very lost, ne?

7:45 pm  
Anonymous Vida said...

Yeah, I think you are...
But to tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure about what he wanted to say here (and I'm french...)

And I would keep lost here because it convey the fact that they are in the middle of nowhere (but then again that may be just in my head...)

by the way since I'm on it, some suggestions :
The living stones of Arphal that can be set directly into skin and worn as beautiful jewels.
-> Living stones of Arphal that fasten into the skin to become the most beautiful jewels.

Visitors also come to Syrte to consult the great experts, doctors of the body and soothsayers of the heart, impenetrable behind metal masks.
-> Visitors also come to Syrte to consult the great experts, doctors of the body and soothsayers of the souls, impenetrable behind their metal masks.

Though small in number, the experts are the both the most respected and most feared inhabitants of the palace...
-> Though small in number, the experts are the most respected and above all the most feared inhabitants of the palace...

I'll try to remember where I put those and take a look, I used to have them but I probably gave them away...

Anyway, good luck, I sometimes translates things the other way (english -> french) and I know how hard that can be...

11:09 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

I appreciate all the help I'm getting here. I know there are plenty of people who could do this better than me but they aren't, so this is the only way it's going to get done.

11:26 pm  
Anonymous methane said...

"animal familiars" should be "familiar animals".

Depending on the context, "members of the court" might be a more familar phrase to use than "inhabitants of the palace". I haven't read this, so I can't be sure.

This sort of thing can take awhile. I have a stack of French paperbacks I bought several years ago and rarely read, because of how long it can take to go through each page. You may have inspired me to pick one up again.

2:07 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

Mm. "Members of the court" is good, but "familiar animals" doesn't work in english as it would mean "often encountered" and we've just been told they are extremely rare. That's just unnecessarily confusing.

6:47 am  
Anonymous methane said...

I just found it in a dictionary, and the phrase refers to pets.

11:55 pm  

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