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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Valerian translation project (4)

So far I've been translating connaisseurs as experts, which is quite reasonable but I don't think it really gives them the kind of identity the context calls for, since it fails to convey any sense that this group is supposed to be mysterious and powerful. After consulting my thesaurus I decided that adepts might be more appropriate. It's still (just about) a valid translation but conveys an undertone of mysticism in english that seems to fit, however I just discovered that there is an excellent and comprehensive entry on Valerian in Wikipedia and the part about this volume calls these guys Authorities. Now I don't know what to call them.

Page 7.

Laureline: Tu peux enregistrer, c'est prêt!

You can record. It's ready.

Valerian: Bien! Salut les enfants! ici Valérian appariel XB982 parti le 23/9/2720 de Galaxity pour le système Syrtien...

Good! Hello children! Valérian here, XB982 left the Galaxity as of 23/9/2720 under way for the Syrtien system...

So it's Valérian after all. No accent on the book covers though. And "Hello children"? Is Valerian being facetious here or is there another possible translation of enfants?

V: Rapport oral numéro quatre. Nous sommes maintenant ā proximité de Syrte et avons récupéré les dernières sondes automatiques terriennes qui ont précédé notre exploration. Les enregistrements du langage syrtien nous ont permis d'apprendre la langue courante sous mémoriseur comme prévu. Nous nous préparons ā effectuer le dernier saut spatio-temporel pour débarquer sur l'astroport de Syrte. Rien de particulier ā signaler pour le moment _ Terminé.

Oral report number four. We are now in the vicinity of Syrte and have recovered the last of the advance probes. The recordings of the syrtian language have enabled us to learn the current language with the memoriser as planned. We are now preparing to make the final space-time jump to Syrte starport. Nothing special to report so far _ report ends.

L: Curieuse impression… Dire que nous allons entrer en contact avec la première grande civilisation dans laquelle la terre n’a joué aucun rôle! Crois-tu qu’il y ait vraiment du danger?

How strange... To think that we will come into contact with the first great civilization which had nothing to do with Earth! Do you believe that there is really danger?

V:Mmm… Je n’en sais trop rien, Laureline! Et puis nous ne sommes que de simples agents du service spatio-temporel. Ce qui compte c’est de savoir si Syrte est dangereuse pour la Terre, ou si elle peut le devenir...

Mmm... I don't know if there's anything to it, Laureline. But then we are only of simple agents of the spatio-temporal service. What counts is to find out if Syrte might pose a danger to Earth now or in the future.
L: Mais tout semble prouver que Syrte n’a pas découvert le saut dans l’espace-temps! Si cette civilisation n’a pas essaimé, c’est que la propulsion interplanétaire y reste classique. Impossible pour les syrtiens de sortir de leur système ā moins de voyager pendant des siècles.

But everything seems to prove that Syrte has not discovered the jump in the space-time! If this civilization has not expanded any further, it is because interplanetary propulsion remains [classique]there. Impossible for the syrtiens to leave their system has less to travel during centuries.
I'm stuck again. I think I can see what is meant here but the words are refusing to make sense. The sense of the line seems to be that if the Syrtians have never left their own system it must be because they only have interplanetary propulsion, but the reason it gives for this escapes me. I can't find a translation of classique here that works. And that last sentence just gives me a headache.

M: Je sais bien! Peut étre n’y a t il aucun risqué et c’est pour cela que nous devons étre discrets. Nous allons débarquer incognito et jouer les tourists…

I know well! It is a risk we cannot afford to take, and for that reason we must be discrete. We will land incognito and play tourists...

Parée pour le dernier saut?

Ready for the last jump?



Et, plongeant dans l’espace temps

And, plunging through space-time...

…l’appareil de Valerian et Laureline vient se matérialiser en un point isolé de l’astroport syrtien…

Valerian and Laureline's machine materializes at a point isolated from the syrtien starport...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

, it's because interplanetary propulsion has remained in it's classic form there(Classic= not spacetime jumps, like in star trek before they invented the warpdrive). It's impossible for the Syrtiens to leave their system, much less travel between centuries(As in time travel, which the space-time drive enables you to do.).

8:54 pm  
Anonymous methane said...

Anon got it. As we understand physics now, we can't go faster than the speed of light, so (without finding a stable wormwhole) it would take us centuries to travel between the stars using our 'classic' propulsion. Star Trek uses 'impulse engines' to indicate 'classic' propulsion.

You might consider 'hyperspace jump' for 'jump in space-time'. It's a more common phrase in science fiction (which might be a reason not to use it).

So that last sentence should be something like: "The Syrtiens can't leave their system without the trip lasting centuries." I tried to translate it a little closer to the French phrasing, but couldn't think of one that sounded natural.

3:12 am  
Anonymous David Morris said...

As above, regarding classic, though a slight paraphrase using "Newtonian" might be more generally comprehensible. Newtonian physics perhaps equating classic in English. "Classical" is another possibility.
Another imported word- "Cognoscenti" could help with your connaisseurs/authorities.

7:24 am  
Anonymous methane said...

Well, when we say "classical physics" we generally are referring to "Newtonian physics". In this case, though, they're talking about the rule that the speed of light is unattainable by particles with mass. What's limiting them isn't Newton's ideas; it's Einstien's theory of relativity. And I'd imagine the Syrtiens have figured out that limit if they've been able to travel around their solar system.

Of course their engines likely obey Newton's laws. So, I can see an argument for calling it Newtonian, but I'm more comfortable just calling it 'classical'.

11:41 pm  

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