NABOKV-L post 0014343, Sun, 10 Dec 2006 23:43:56 EST

Re: VN lost in translation

In a message dated 11/12/2006 03:15:06 GMT Standard Time,

The other day I was watching a U.S. TV series with Turkish subtitles when I
heard the leading female character exclaim, “Oh, just ignore him, he is so
philistine…” All at once, there appeared the Turkish subtitle on the screen
and to my astonishment, I noticed the word “philistine” being translated as “
Filistinli.” Thus distorted, the whole sentence had become “Oh, just ignore
him, he is so Palestinian…” I stared at the screen, flabbergasted. [ ... ]

"From translation" said Giordano Bruno, "all wisdom has its source/all
science takes its offspring". Plus other similarly approximate translations. A few
posts ago I quoted VN, thus:

In 1941 VN wrote: “The first thing I discovered was that the expression "a
literal translation" is more or less nonsense.”
In 1964 he wrote, of literal translation: “rendering, as closely as the
associative and syntactical capacities of another language allow, the exact
contextual meaning of the original. Only this is true translation.”
Can anyone hazard an answer about what VN truly believed about translation?
How should a Bedouin in the Sahara translate: "Shall I compare thee to a
summer's day?" The answer "no" comes to mind.
Film subtitling is a constant source of hilarity. One of the best I ever saw
was while watching a French Lemmy Caution film in a cinema in Sweden. Lemmy
was asked how he made his living. He replied "Je joue le poker, le
chemin-de-fer". The sub-title read: "I play poker on trains". Off-topic, and

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