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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Valerian translation project (3)

Page 6.

Syrte, enfin c'est un immense astroport qui accueille, depuis que les voyages interplanétaires existent, des fusées venues de l'ensemble du système solaire.

Nulle douane, nulle surveilance... On vient sur Syrte-la-Magnifique sans contrainte, on la quitte librement...
Syrte, ultimately a giant starport which, since the coming of space flight, accomodates ships from throughout the entire solar system.

No customs, no surveilance... Anyone may enter Syrte-the-Magnificent without constraint, and leave as easily...
One of those that isn't too hard to make sense of, but which really needs a little tweaking to turn into readable english.

Et les lourds vaisseaux commerciaux, les embarcations légères font toujours paisiblement le trafic entre l'arrière-pays, la capital et l'astroport. poussés par leurs voiles solaires sur cette planète sans vent, les bateaux sont nombreux sur les canaux...
Heavy commercial vessels and the smaller craft traffic peacefully between the provences, their capital and the starport. Powered by solar sails on this planet without wind, the boats are numerous on the canals...
Another one I took slight liberties with, but if my translation is sound then it gets the sense across. I've translated l'arrière-pays (literarly the back-country) as the provences since it seemed to be referring to the countryside beyond the capital city, but I'm not sure if the outer world or the outside world might be better. Hmm.

I can't help feeling it would be less confusing if the capital city had a name that wasn't basically the name of the whole planet with an adjective appended (which sometimes seems to be dropped anyway). The writing is quite confusingly condradictory as it is, what with in one sentence telling us that Syrte is basically one giant starport, and in the next differentiating between the outer world, the capital city, and the starport.

And a planet without wind? Is that even possible if the place has a breathable atmosphere? This is surely hyperbole for the sake of it.

Pourtant, malgré son ancienne té et sa gloire, Syrte n'est plus ce qu'elle était...
Partout des ruines non relevées, des digues effondrées ou des port d'attache ensablés...
However, in spite of its age and glory, Syrte is no longer what it once was... Everywhere is fallen ruins, ploughed up dams or old docks, silted up and useless...
Less sure of this one but the context is harder to read, and I was stumped for a while when the only translation I could find of is T-square or T-piece which doesn't make any sense . Although there is a clear gap it seems more likely that it's not ancienne té but ancienneté, meaning age.

Le palais impérial lui-même est de plus en plus délabré...
The old imperial palace becomes more and more dilapidated...
...Dans la jungle, oū de pauvres pêcheurs poursuivent le dangereux marcyam, gigantesque serpent d'eau ā la peau précieuse...
... In the jungle, the poor fishermen still hunt the dangerous marcyam, a gigantic water snake whose skin is highly prized...
Seuls les inexpugnables temples des connaiseurs tranchent sur la misère ambiante.
Only the impregnable temples of the experts contrast with the surrounding misery.
Dans l'espace, ā quelques années-lumière de Syrte...
In space, only a few light-years from Syrte...
What's that I spy on the distant horizon? Could it be an actual story? Or at least a character or two? Yay!

4 Comments:

Anonymous methane said...

Your translation looks fine. You're right, though, you might go back and make it sound a bit better in English.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure a planet without any wind is practically impossible for a planet with an atmosphere. The rotation of a planet produces some winds, and any temperature differences between different regions would also create air currents.

12:12 am  
Anonymous David Morris said...

Hinterland may be a better term in English rather than provinces to express that idea.

7:24 am  
Blogger Chance said...

I'm reading your work with interest.

Although there seem to be plenty of Francophones chiming in here, let me know if you need help with a passage or two.

7:09 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

I always need help with this. Feel free to jump in anytime.

12:42 pm  

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