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-   -   Numpty and his books (http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1573)

eldeano 22nd December 2006 11:16 PM

Numpty and his books
 
I love reading. Many years ago I would read my books at night but feel guilty because I wasn't looking at my Spanish grammar books and stuff. It was my wife who suggested that I should read my books, but in Spanish, so that I could still enjoy the novels AND improve my Spanish at the same time.

I started on those cheap (90ptas) bolsillibros and quickly progressed to proper novels. I have now read over 100 and usually buy another dozen or so every time I visit Spain. My collection includes all the Harry Potters, Señor de los Anillos, Guerra y paz and Don Quijote. I try to get through 40-50 pages each day.

There are always new words and phrases to learn in each book. I've recently read Las fauces del tigre by Tom Clancy and came across a George Bernard Shaw quote "Ah, la juventud, maravilloso tesoro, pero desperdiciada en un joven". Also, the Spanish equivalent of Insh'Allah (God willing) - Dios mediante.

My last book, Chamán, the second book in the Noah Gordon trilogy about the Cole family, came up with forrarse - to save a packet.

I'll let you know what I get from the current read, A cualquier precio by David Baldacci.

eldeano 23rd December 2006 06:37 PM

I'm still on A cualquier precio and come across a couple of interesting expressions and a word I cannot translate.

Sudar tinta - to slog, slave

fulminar a uno con la mirada - to look daggers at somebody

el curare - I don't know, I think it's a poison of some kind.

Help with the last, please.

omeyas 23rd December 2006 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eldeano (Post 13839)
I'm still on A cualquier precio and come across a couple of interesting expressions and a word I cannot translate.

Sudar tinta - to slog, slave

fulminar a uno con la mirada - to look daggers at somebody

el curare - I don't know, I think it's a poison of some kind.

Help with the last, please.

You're right with the poison!
Curare is a common name for various dart poisons originating from South America.

Edith 23rd December 2006 07:44 PM

Hi Eldeano,

Reading books is a great way to work on your vocabulary. 40-50 pages a day in Spanish - awesome! I wish I had the time to do just that. I'm also an avid reader, though, reading anything from literature to non-fiction and travel books.

Have you ever considered reading books by Spanish and Latin American authors, though? I would like to recommend Isabel Allende to you. Her Spanish is quite easy to read and her books are available almost everywhere. Mario Vargas Llosa's Spanish is a lot more difficult, but the subjects he writes about are often very interesting if you are interested in politics, history and faraway places. Vargas Llosa is from Peru.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte from Spain might be the right author for you if you like adventure novels.

Talking about curare and that sort of thing... a famous travel writer from Spain, Javier Reverte, also writes books which are a good read. During my last trip to Spain, I bought 'El rio de la desolación - un viaje por el Amazonas'. I finished it in one week!

Right now I'm reading 'Senderos de libertad - la lucha por la defensa de la selva' by Javier Moro, a journalist from Spain. It's about Chico Mendes and his struggle to save the Brazilian rainforest.

I have noticed that many people on this forum read books which have been translated from English into Spanish. The problem with translations is that something always gets lost in the process, which is why I don't read them any more. Before I learned English in high school (my native language is Dutch) I had to make do with translations until I discovered the world of 'real' English. Some phrases and expressions, especially idiomatic ones, just cannot be translated properly into another language. Reading John Grisham in Dutch means I would miss out on all the Americanisms he uses. Or the diaries of Adrian Mole - in Dutch? No way! To paraphrase a French expression: ¡traducir es morir un poco! (traduire, c'est mourir un peu).

omeyas 23rd December 2006 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Edith (Post 13846)
The problem with translations is that something always gets lost in the process, which is why I don't read them any more. Before I learned

True. Some time ago, I asked a question in a forum about some translation in the book, Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (Las Cenizas de Ángela) and the guy that did the translation, Alejandro Pareja, wrote to me and answered my question. We exchanged quite a few e-mails, he was a very interesting chap. He also did "Lo es", the follow up book.
http://libros.linkara.com/libro/lo-e...ourt-6e2a.html
In the book, in typical Irish language, someone says "I don't give a fiddlers fart!" I can't remember his exact translation, but it had something to do with a "pedo de violinista". I asked him why he had done this, and he said he had had big problems with this, but basically in Spanish, there is no such thing as a fiddler, a violinista is the nearest! In this case, the translation sounded quite absurd, a classic case of lost in translation, but really he had no other alternative. :confused:

Edith 23rd December 2006 10:56 PM

That's exactly the kind of example I was thinking about! (I devoured both novels BTW) Translating science textbooks is probably a lot easier.

It surprises me that 'fiddler', which is associated with folk music, has no equivalent in Spanish. The folk music of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands (Tex-Mex, norteño) wouldn't be the same without violins. Come to think of it though, in Dutch we also use one single word for 'violinist' and 'fiddler'...

You should see some of the subtitles on Dutch TV, they are often totally wrong. :D But you are right, often there is no other alternative.

omeyas 23rd December 2006 11:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Edith (Post 13856)

It surprises me that 'fiddler', which is associated with folk music, has no equivalent in Spanish. .

No, if you look in the dictionary you get violinista. I didn´t get around to reading "Lo es", but I know he said he had problems just with the title, which is understandable given that in English it was "Tis". I remember him telling me about Frank McCourt being invited to Madrid for various award ceremonies, and finally as the translator, he did eventually get some deserved recognition. As he said, although the books were all about Ireland, of course, McCourt had spent nearly all his life in the States, so it came as a shock to hear him with a broad American accent!
I just mentioned the story to my wife, and she said, yes, I remember about the fiddler´s fart!!! Somethings stick, others don´t! :)

richardksa 24th December 2006 07:55 AM

The whole point surely is the power of the alliteration in "Fidler's Fart", which is missing in the translation. I don't know enough idiomatic Spanish to know what the common expression should be, but surely the translator should have maintained the alliteration with something like "pedo de paleto", rather than keep the musical allusion. But not being an expert ...

omeyas 24th December 2006 10:22 AM

The whole point surely is the power of the alliteration in "Fidler's Fart", which is missing in the translation. I don't know enough idiomatic Spanish to know what the common expression should be, but surely the translator should have maintained the alliteration with something like "pedo de paleto", rather than keep the musical allusion.

You'd have thought so, but as I said, he did have a big problem with it, and after much thought, that's what he arrived at. Whilst a "fiddler's fart" is a very common expression in Ireland, something like "pedo de paleto" whilst conforming with the alliteration rules, as a completely made up expression that nobody had ever heard of, would sound very strange. Almost as strange as "pedo de vioinista"!! :) I think he was on a loser whatever he picked.


But not being an expert ...

True! :) But with more than 200 translated books under his belt, I guess he knows a bit about it, and might be considered an expert!

richardksa 24th December 2006 11:37 AM

I bow before his expertise. I fully admit I made my phrase up from a limited knowledge of the language. But surely, in a language as rich and as expressive as Spanish, there must be an alliterative phrase that describes a trivial action from an insignificant person and would have meant more to a Spanish reader than what he actually wrote.

If not, I give my phrase, uncopyrighted, to the language. If enough of us use it maybe it will gain currency forcing the translator to rewrite! ;)

Alan 24th December 2006 11:40 AM

Tengo un amigo en Asturies quien dice "fidolista"...

Pero por qué tener dos traducciones? Un fiddle es un violín. Para decir "fiddler's fart" en español, no puede traducirlo palabra por palabra - es más importante tener el sentimiento de la frase.

Edith 24th December 2006 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by richardksa (Post 13867)
I bow before his expertise.

The problem is, bad translations are not always the translator's fault even though many people tend to blame the translator. :D

Paco 24th December 2006 03:44 PM

Omeyas and Edith
 
I am so glad,people like you exist, in my "neck of the woods" the majority of people put the Spanish culture down, I had a long conversation-argument with a COLLEGE professor, this fella stated to me the only good litterature from Spain was Don Quijote I had my soul destroyed. I argued this point for months. and after that I made a decision, you can not change a person heart only the Lord can do that. My blessings to you guys. Paco

eldeano 24th December 2006 04:03 PM

Edith - thanks for your suggestions. I'll definitely look to give these a try. In the past I just looked to satisfy the wish to read certain types of novels/authors with the oppotunity of improving my Spanish. Don Quijote was a tough read - mainly because is was written in such a old style and with the use of words which were commonplace then but have changed or become less used over the years.

Meanwhile, the Fiddler's Fart debate. Not giving a fiddler's fart is like a Brit not giving a toss/damn, so couldn't you translate that as me importa un bledo/comino?

Edith 24th December 2006 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paco (Post 13883)
in my "neck of the woods" the majority of people put the Spanish culture down, I had a long conversation-argument with a COLLEGE professor, this fella stated to me the only good litterature from Spain was Don Quijote

Hi Paco,

I agree, that is quite an amazing statement, especially coming from a college professor... :eek: . He actually seems to be saying that Spanish culture went into hibernation after Cerventes died. Or maybe he is totally anti-modern. In any case, he's a snob. It would be a truly sad state of affairs if a country stopped progressing for almost four hundred years, don't you think? In the last few decades, the Spanish-speaking world has produced some writers of world fame, some of whom have become Nobel Prize laureates: Camilo José Cela from Spain and Octavio Paz, Gabriel García Márquez and Pablo Neruda from Latin America.

Edith 24th December 2006 05:42 PM

Eldeano, do you mean to say you have read Don Quijote in its original edition???!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

In that case, authors like Isabel Allende and even Mario Vargas Llosa should be a piece of cake for you, and I don't think you would be intimidated by Gabriel García Márquez's 'Cien años de soledad', either. I admit that book was a bit daunting to me even though I finished reading it. :D

Quote:

Not giving a fiddler's fart is like a Brit not giving a toss/damn, so couldn't you translate that as me importa un bledo/comino?
Sounds right to me, even though the Irish flavor of the expression gets lost in the process.

ValenciaSon 24th December 2006 06:12 PM

What is Numpty?

omeyas 24th December 2006 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ValenciaSon (Post 13892)
What is Numpty?

See here.

ValenciaSon 24th December 2006 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omeyas (Post 13893)
See here.

I feel like one for not knowing:blush:

eldeano 25th December 2006 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ValenciaSon (Post 13894)
I feel like one for not knowing:blush:


And the Spanish equivalent is.....? ;D

I've finished A cualquier precio and now onto Papel moneda by Ken Follett - I like his books, usually full of intrigue.

Just got Noah Gordon's El comité de la muerte and El último jud
ío, and PD James Cubridle el rostro. :reader:

By the way, I use Mozilla and, has been already documented, struggled with accented words. Now I just bring up the accented letters in Word and then cut and paste into the post.




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