Mar 31, 2002
Excuse me now. I'm trying very hard to read some Japanese:
Yakult relieving the starting pitcher professional baseball middle day equinox Yakult.
"A computer - or "machine intelligence" - will pass the Turing Test by 2029."
Ray Kurzweil says YES
Mitchell Kapor says NO
Mar 30, 2002
I agree. No-one can eat caviar everyday.
via field and methods, a newly-discovered blog on human language technology
"To choose a language is to choose an audience and by the fact of writing in English, French, or Portuguese the blogger has chosen to address members of the Brazilian petty bourgeoisie and English speakers"
"(...) Dambudzo Marechera, the late Shona poet, choose the English language "as a means of escape and mental liberation while at the same time undermining and subverting the former colonial language and its implications."
"When using the English language, the emotional component often gets lost; as a matter of course, writers feel more detached and relate to the language as a tool rather than as a means of cultural identification. Those however who have an equal command of both languages can benefit from the situation of bilingualism. They can choose either language according to specific purpose or feeling."
The emotional component does not get completely lost, in my opinion. It gets subdued. Ha Jin's writing comes to mind as an example. Interestingly, he always conceives his works in English, except when writing dialogues.
Could that be the reason why someone said that this blog seems to be driven by an almost inhuman logic?
"The myth that Eskimos have dozens of words for snow may have been discredited by linguists", but Mr. Cohn, using a widescreen digital video camera, has discovered at least a dozen distinct shades of white, from the bluish glow of the winter ice to the warm creaminess of coats made of polar bear fur"
Sounds like paradise for Antipodeans scorching under an unusually hot autumn. Take me away, Nanook of the North.
Mar 29, 2002
Mar 28, 2002
thanks Tangerine, you've made my day!
One of the most interesting statistics about the Web is that the growth of the Web outside the United States is much faster than it is in the United States, and the growth rate of non-English languages is much faster than the growth rate of English. Of course, English has a head start. So the right thing is that eventually languages like Chinese should be the dominant languages because there are so many more people who speak these languages in the world. Today, we’re working on that.
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google in this interview published today at the International Herald Tribune.
We were ceramists, translators, a law scholar, a headhunter with a passion for game hunting, an artist and a Holocaust survivor shriveled and cranky in her chair. "We cut her all the slack she needs", my hostess said in a whisper. Our very distinguished teacher was cracking jokes and making the table explode in roaring laughter. She also wrote a haggadah for dummies with lyrics, explanations and the sequence of events and warned us to pay attention closely because she would be conducting an oral test and grading us at dessert time.
Wine flowing like manna, we discussed Abraham and Joshua, Freud and Moses, the Talmud and the Torah. Seated to my right was Lucia. She is young and pretty with a turned-up nose and knows much more about biblical galore than me, in spite of all my Jewish wannabe-ness, an inclination that first blossomed when I was young and pretty and fell in love with a Syrian Jew with a soft voice and eyebrows as thick as Leonid Brejnev's.
I drank way over four cups of wine, but everybody told me that this is how it's meant to be in this joyous celebration of freedom. When asked what freedom means to me, the aberrant response of the love-phobic centaur-mermaid was "Not being owned by anybody, ever", later rectified into a more mild-mannered "the ability to think".
I asked why Jews bob when they pray, a legitimate and harmless curiosity, I would say. No one gave me a satisfactory answer and the focus was immediately shifted to Cabbalah and the beautiful Ladino songs of Fortuna. As it is often the case there is an unsuspected hero in every reunion. In our case, it was a hero by proxy and kin. It turned out that the young law scholar who is about to publish a book on hermeneutics is a second-degree cousin of the Brazilian Oskar Schindler, ambassador Souza Dantas who served in Paris during the 40s.
But maybe the real heroine was the shriveled old lady who only opened her mouth to complain about the size of the matzo bits and go for another swallow. Her eyes sparkled incredibly alive and blue as she reminded us all that since they fled in haste, the matzo had to be baked by the desert sun, a minutiae that has helped to keep the Passover tradition alive for over 3,000 years. Not only the Devil, but also God is in the details.
Mar 27, 2002
via the quite wonderful prentiss riddle, aprendiz de todo maestro de nada
via newswecanuse via nocto
The pop-up toilets sound great though. One of the electoral promises of São Paulo mayor Martha Suplicy was installing toilets under bridges for the overpass microtown dwellers. She also recommends wearing red lingerie when you have to make important decisions, That is Brazil for you.
via the Tangerine newsfeed
Mar 26, 2002
What can I say about the language spoken in the Sleeping Giant (which is how the country is depicted in our national anthem) without causing a geopolitical incident? First of all, Brazil and Portugal are nations separated by a common language, as Mark Twain would have said if he had ever tasted a caipirinha and also visited Oporto. Iberian Portuguese is syncopated like a German fanfare. Brazilian Portuguese is delivered in a more leisurely pace and has more slurred endings. To someone who doesn't know Latin languages it may sound like Spanish, much like Czech and Hungarian sound exactly the same to me.
My Andalucian grandmother who was born in Algeria and spent her youth in Catalunya before moving to Brazil wasn't the world's most gifted linguist. Every time she tried to speak Portuguese, the result was perfect Catalan. My Catalan grandfather took offense for this linguistic faux-pas because during all the years in Catalunya she never ventured to say a mere "Véns a banyar-te?". When I was traveling in Italy, my every attempt to speak the Italian I picked up from the "ciao carina" who were trying to pick me up ended up as Frenchized Babelian with a pinch of Spanish. My daughter, the little tunababy, spent months toggling between the US and Brazil before her language skills were completely sound, so now she speaks Consonant-Free Portuguese or Vowelian, her own variation of Baby Martian.
All this to say that it all depends on where, when and who is speaking the language. And most importantly, on the linguistic footprints the listener is able to track down to make a comparison. To me Portuguese will always sound like a refreshing breeze blowing through the Indo-European linguistic stem. It's the language that makes me feel at home, it's the colorful language spoken in neighborhood padarias, sacred conservatories of the country's bonhomie and test laboratories for the latest linguistic quirks. But others may diverge.
To Tangelino, in his capacity of world's foremost authority in Letras Ocultas and Ciências Apagadas (Occult Letters and Erased Sciences) and to the drifters of the Seaweb: what do you think Portuguese sounds like?
Here's my stab at babelization:
"The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead channel",
"The sky in the furrow was the color of the television, was attributed died to an advice"
Furrow I of the interior of the sky was the color of the television, attributed died in the recommendation
Furrow of the Innerens of the sky I was attributed I died the color of
the television, in the recommendation (which sounds a bit poetic)
fascinating link via kelegraph
Mar 25, 2002
Amelie Poulain Tropical
Re: coming to Sao Paulo? do look me up!
Fw: Humor: Capitalism revisited
Google's New High Protein Diet
teen cams! no membership or credit card required
[KudoZ] 90 degree offset screwdriver
Other snippets and comments addressing yours truly overheard this week:
the merm is addicted to blogging (and I hope she remains so)
Ne lui ôtons pas ce plaisir a ce cher La Rochefoucauld
I am working on some Frame Maker files today, implementing a screenshot image update for a highly technical medical software manual. It's another of my babies, I translated it last year. Now what does the graphics update consist of ? Deleting pratically every screenshot because they are releasing a new version and the older screens are not to be used or replaced. Oh lord, have pity on the readers of technical manuals, because they are sufferers in this earth.
Mar 24, 2002
Mar 23, 2002
After that Camila took me to see a Daniel Senise exhibit at Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake, a stone's throw from my place. The "Carambola" building cuts through the quaint Pinheiros landscape like a sharp postmodern dagger but in fact I wouldn't mind renting office space there.
Camila who commingles with the city's artsy and undergrounders invited me to go to the opening of the 25th Bienal tonight, but no way Jose. I still remember the previous first-night bash as an appalling overcrowded technofest with warm beer served in paper cups and evil bum artiste ex-boyfriend lurking in every dark corner.
I've been sleeping 6 hours a night for as long as I can remember and I've bought tons of books this week, so the prospect of an evening at home sounds very appealing. But I was talking Isa into going out for a beer so I don't know if I can crawl back into my shell without getting her pissed. She's invited me to celebrate Pessach this week and it's only polite you know. At the restaurant, Camila and I got a flier promoting a concert with Guine-Bissau artist Lilison di Kinara at the Francophonie 2002 festival being held at SESC Pompéia.
Here's a wager: I'll bet the hefty amount of R$5 with anyone who doubts I will meet Messieur JY there. He is the only man in SP to drink chamomile tea with provolone pizza and to affirm that the Celestial Seasonings Dragon herbal variety is an aphrodisiac as potent as rhino horn powder. Needless to say, our journo has a lovely French accent, wears a trenchcoat with sneakers and is totally into African beats.
Mar 22, 2002
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea plans to draft in soldiers as emergency translators to help visitors at the World Cup after failing to recruit enough people with language skills, the South Korean organising committee (KOWOC) says.
Some smaller venues among the 10 cities hosting matches in South Korea have had trouble finding interpreters to help teams and fans from countries with less common languages. Even English, while increasingly popular, is not widely spoken.
KOWOC said the army, navy and air force had agreed to provide translators and help at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Seoul on May 31.
"We expect the Korean soldiers' support will be of great help to the success of the World Cup," the committee said in a statement on Thursday.
Many soldiers speak English, having worked alongside U.S. troops based in South Korea. Others have trained at military academies in other countries or studied languages in South Korea before their national service.
The South Korean army and defence ministry have also set up committees to prepare for the finals, which are being co-hosted with Japan. The army will supply 2,410 personnel in total.
The armed forces are already heavily involved in security preparations for the tournament and have carried out frequent anti-terrorism drills with special police units.
Mar 20, 2002
The Bettmann archive, the quirky cache of pictures that Otto Bettmann sneaked out of Nazi Germany in two steamer trunks in 1935 and then built into an enormous collection of historical importance, will be sunk 220 feet down in a limestone mine situated 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where it will be far from the reach of historians. The archive, which is estimated to have as many as 17 million photographs, is a visual record of the 20th century. Since 1995 it has belonged to Corbis, the private company of Microsoft's chairman, William H. Gates.
The Bettmann archive is moving from New York City to a strange underworld. Corbis plans to rent 10,000 square feet in a mine that once belonged to U.S. Steel and now holds a vast underground city run by Iron Mountain/National Underground Storage. There Corbis will create a modern, subzero, low-humidity storage areas safe from earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, vandals, nuclear blasts and the ravages of time.
But preservation by deep freeze presents a problem. The new address is strikingly inaccessible. Historians, researchers and editors accustomed to browsing through photo files will have to use Corbis's digital archive, which has only 225.000 images, less than 2 percent of the whole collection.
Some worry that the collection is being locked away in a tomb; others believe that Mr. Gates is saving a pictorial legacy that is in mortal danger...
When the move is done, Corbis's New York office will contain nothing but people and their computers, plugged into a digital archive. No photographic prints, no negatives, no rotting mess. Analog is having a burial and digital is dancing on its grave.
Sarah Boxer, New York Times, April 15, 2001
Mar 19, 2002
You'd be better off with a snuggling with an eskimo, looking at the pie in the sky from the shores of Laputa.
The speaker was something else. Brilliant, charismatic, knowledgeable in the art of getting the message across. He would interrupt the Brazilian partner and say: ok, let's cut the crap, what the journalist really wants to know is blah blah blah. Obviously not in so many words, but with the same charmingly self-reliant stance. He also repeated his key points dilligently until they materialized into indestructible chunks of doxa. Public speaking is the art of perforating blockheads in a very precise drilling spot but mind you, at varying speeds or everybody including the interpreters will fall asleep.
The only snag today was the equipment. We were using portable microphones with no headphones or sound proofing which means that a) I can't gesticulate profusely because I am holding the mike and for some odd reason that is detrimental to my delivery; b) I have to whisper into the mike so not to disturb the attendees and I have a hard time keeping my voice down when my mind finally enters into the speaker's wavelength.
Incidentally, my trip to Campinas has been cancelled because novice that I am will be replacing an abess with more interesting stuff to do at TELEXPO on Thrusday and Friday. TELEXPO is big, the largest telecommunications trade show in Latin America and to be honest I can hardly wait to get my little grey suit to the venue, especially because Angie and Ulysses will be there. I saw Angie in Florianopolis recently but Ulysses is a friend I haven't seen in aeons.
(they should have called it The Interpreting Squad of Brancaleone)
MONTERREY, Mexico, March 18 (Reuters) — A German crew providing translation services for a United Nations conference on development financing went to the wrong city.
The crew members showed up in Monterey, Calif., rather than the meeting site more than 1,500 miles away in Monterrey, Mexico, red-faced United Nations and Mexican officials said today.
The crew members, from Brähler ICS, a German company, "planned their trip from Germany and their travel agency erroneously sent them to Monterey in California," an official said.
And the trabalenguas goes:
Setze jutges d'un jutjat mengen el fetge d'un penjat.
Si el penjat es despenja, els setze jutges del jutjat no podran menjar mes fetge del penjat.
My memory may be toast but I can still google my way to a page with a million trillion billion trabalenguas in a gazillion languages.
Mar 18, 2002
My friend came to visit twice. He was more handsome than I remembered. We talked talked talked, there was no end to the talking. I was looking forward to seeing the Brazilian Senate from the inside but the expedition was cancelled and more white towels ordered for purposes of vomit control. I missed MissVeen, struck unconscious with sleep at 9pm on Saturday. ( I bitch and moan like this blog is the "Wall of Lamentations").
The high point was running into P and his infant entourage at the party. He has the same thundering laughter that I remembered from Brussels. His baby boy is the spitting image of him, handsome, bright-eyed, spiky-haired, cute. P is working at the Brazilian branch of the ILO and was surprised when I mentioned I did an event for them last year. "How come? Who hired you?" I replied the marketing scheme is basically the same as with hookers: word of mouth.
Tomorrow I have a press conference, then a whole day with the inventor of the TOC, followed by a car ride to Campinas and another flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants assignment. I am getting to like interpreting much more than translation, especially because I get to wear high heels and look at the suits around me. Only sometimes they wear helmets. Who cares, suits, helmets everything boils down to testosterone.
Mar 17, 2002
Just received some news from my friend Leila, the sexiest psychoanalyst alive turned NGO project coordinator is not going to be around. She is traveling somewhere probably Holland. CM is trying to put me on one of the TELEXPO interpreting booths next Wednesday so I can skip a financial seminar. Three days of interpreting a week that is all I need to become quasi-rich.
This morning I chatted for a while with a friend who is bit down on account of his romantic situation. Oh, what is the forlorn lover to do but shout:
Mar 13, 2002
I have to finish my radiation therapy spec sheets today because I have to buy tickets to Brasília tomorrow. The capital of Brazil is a triumph of modernist architecture and one of the ugliest places I've ever set foot in, but there are spraying the apartment for bugs and ants and I have lots of friends there.
Next week I have two days in the booth interpreting for this biz management bigshot. All about the TOC, not table of contents but Theory of Constraints.
A Latin newscast originating in Finland and masterminded by a dedicated nudist who is also big on Elvis.
Mar 12, 2002
Here are the questions and answers generated by her FAQ.
Questions & Answers
1- From : ROGERIO
I am too young to have read the classics, as you suggest. I have never seen a film with Humphrey Bogart and can't answer your question...
What do you advise me to do?
First of all, congratulations on wanting to learn. This is a good first step!
You have all your life ahead of you. There´s plenty of time to read the classics, watch classic movies and listen to classic songs. It´s all a matter of being interested.
My advice: first of all, rent the video "Casablanca" with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Watch it, love it, get involved. I dare you not to cry when they start playing the Marseillese!
Then watch it again to savor the dialogue in all its beautiful simplicity. Repeat the lines mentally, or even aloud, if you like them.
What's the effect? Besides a wonderful input in English, maybe the film will make you want to know more about WWII, the city of Casablanca, Bogart's movies, Ingrid Bergman's life, Cole Porter's songs or.... who knows what else? Follow your interest. Go look for it! . Find Casablanca on a world map. Find the lyrics of the song that Sam played again. Be curious!!! That's the recipe.
And also - take all kinds of courses. Art History, Music History, film scenarios... Join a theater group, you'll learn a lot. Go to Europe and to the US. Visit the main cities, go to the great museums. Is it expensive? Maybe no more than taking a university course in Brazil. New York and London are a must.
Read good books, newspapers and magazines. No time? How about trading 2 hours of TV for 2 hours of reading every day? That will make all the difference.
Let´s hear from you again -
all the best,
2- From : OSMAN
I've just finished reading your tips on translation and I can't quite agree with you. Because it seems to me that you're being honest on all aspects but one. When you give the BRISTLES example, I disagree cuz it seems to me that all you translators have the annoying habit of saying that this or that phrase could have only been translated this or that way, and in my opinion there are many ways of doing it depending on the context, to whom the text is directed to and MOST important of it all: Who wrote it! who's the author? What's the character's age(if he or she's describing a scenario for instance) and his or her profile and needs, ambitions, is it a dramatic character or not? etc, etc, etc.
let's take this example of yours.
Let's suppose a 13 years old boy, laconic, intelligent but even still a child describes his homeland to a foreigner; Bristle would become INFESTAR very easily. and I can see other scenes in which BRISTLES would become PULULAR, ESTRAGAR, ENVENENAR, etc, etc, etc.
So I know you're a good translator but you guys seem to be always trying to scare the rest of us away from your area by not telling us the whole truth.
I read a lot, tons of books a year (english and portuguese) and i didn't need to look up the word Bristle in the Dic, but I can understand its meaning, so probably you'll tell me I'm wrong and so on but those aforementioned words could easily fit into various texts depending on a lot of aspects of it.
Well, I was not trying to hide anything from anybody, much to the contrary. I was trying to share my thought processes as I grappled with the word BRISTLE in that sentence. I also did not imply that my translation was the only possible one. To the contrary, there are endless possibilities.
The context: a story on Afghanistan published in The Economist, that I translated for the newspaper Valor Econômico. It said the Afghan soil was bristling with mines.
As a reader, you do well in trying to guess the meaning of words from the context; but for a professional translator this is not enough.
I feel it is my first and foremost duty to look up in one or more dictionaries **any** word that I don’t understand, or that is not very familiar to me, or that I’ve never seen in that particular context, or that offers difficulties for translation. Therefore I would never have translated that sentence without knowing the exact meaning of "bristle". It means a stiff hair, like the espinho do porco-espinho and other animals. As a verb it is very expressive here, meaning that the soil has lots of sharp and lethal bristles that are sticking out, ready to kill you or maim you.
I did not find a satisfactory way of introducing the words "espinho", "espinhoso". "eriçar" or similar ones here. That is why I chose to add the adjective "mortífero" to the landmines, to compensate for that loss and give back mines all their threatening force.
This is what is called in translation "o jogo do perde-ganha." If you lose a vigorous detail here, you try to add some more vigor elsewhere. Otherwise – por example, if I had settled for "solo cheio de minas" - you will betray the impact of the original and write a dull, inexpressive translation.
As for your suggestions, "envenenar" would be rather off the mark, but I liked "infestar" very much. It would fit in very well in that sentence: "seu solo infestado de minas." Duly noted!
Let me state that again:
***If you are a real professional translator, or if you take translation seriously, you **don't** rely on your guesses. You look the unfamiliar words up, you research examples with them, you try to understand them really well!
Millôr Fernandes, a great translator, has said he often looks words up in TWENTY or more dictionaries. ***
Thank you, Osman, for your participation and for raising this interesting point.
all the best,
3 – From : FÁTIMA APARECIDA
I agree with everything Isa Mara has said. But publishing houses are usually too inconsiderate with translators. Besides, it's quite common that the editor in charge has no experience in translation. Unfortunately, if good people are never given a chance, books will keep on having lousy translations.
Unfortunately I must agree with you. I have not received too much consideration from publishing houses in all these years. There is a real problem with revisores that make unnecessary changes. Companhia das Letras is the best, also because all their staff has a much higher level than you find in the other publishers. Even so they hardly ever exchange a word with me about the translations - even though I ask for it, send them my comments etc. I would not say they are inexperienced with translations; it's just that they don't give it too much importance. They care much more about deadlines than about the quality of the work.
As for giving a chance to beginners, here's a tip for you. The first books I translated were those sugary romance stories that sell in newsstands (Julia, Sabrina etc) It is a good translation exercise and a not a bad beginning. You have to write in a pleasant, attractive manner and balance romanticism and eroticism very well in the love scenes so as not to slide to vulgarity. Believe me, it's not so easy! In fact there's quite a lot of creativity involved, since you often are asked to copydesk and/or reduce the story. So I could advise you to read a couple of them and write to the publishers offering to do a test.
There's no lack of work in this area, I suppose. They have this huge output of weekly silly stories to deceive the young girls into thinking they will find Prince Charming... But one has to start somewhere.
Thank you for writing and keep up the good work. If you really like English and translation, you will succeed!
4- From : ADRIANA
Oi, Isa Mara,
É bom vê-la aqui no e-talks. Não sou tradutora literária, mas traduzo filmes e séries para dublagem e infelizmente não tenho tempo para ler 5 vezes a minha tradução, mas concordo com você - seria o ideal!
Mas o que mais me intriga é que os tradutores não tenham o "desconfiômetro" de perceber que "algo não está legal" e partir para a busca de mais informações - como nos exemplos que você deu dos "vinhedos da Marta".
Não posso dizer que eu conheça tudo, é claro - aliás, graças a Deus não conheço tudo - mas o tradutor tem que estar sempre atento para algo que "soe estranho", para fazer pesquisas a respeito do assunto. Fico abismada com a falta de cultura geral que alguns "profissionais" demonstram...
Um forte abraço,
Santos - SP
So nice to hear from you. Well, my subject this time is *literary* translation, and that´s why I recommended 5 revisions - let's say 4 at the very least, if you are pressed for time, so that later on you won't open the book and find all kinds of little things that could have turned out better.
Translating movie subtitles is another area altogether, a different reality. I did it for a couple of weeks and I know what it´s like: you get tons of movies to translate over the weekend and there´s absolutely no time for refinements. Moreover, many of them are done in Miami by totally unqualified people.
Even so one would expect them to have a little more common sense and professional pride so as not to produce hilarious mistranslations such as "vinhedos de Marta".
The worst example I've seen so far is the tv movie "Fiddler on the Roof". In the beginnging the matchmaker was translated as "fabricante de fósforos". And worse, later on in the movie they changed it to "casamenteira" but never went back to correct the beginning. What sloppiness!
Anyway, subtitles are not my field, but I am glad to see that there are some intelligent, conscientious people like yourself doing this job -- which reaches millions of people and ideally shoud be done by well-paid, qualified professionals.
See you then and all the best,
5- From: LUDMILLA
Oi, Isa Mara.
Eu concordo com o que disse a Adriana, realmente a pesquisa é fundamental para que o trabalho do tradutor seja bem feito. O problema é que muitas pessoas que fazem traduções consideram este trabalho como "bico" e então não dispõem do tempo necessário para revisá-las. Isto é bem visível nas séries de televisão, encontramos muitas "pérolas". Vamos torcer para que os "profissionais" a que se referiu a Adriana tomem consciência desta importância!
Obrigada pela sua participação.
Creio que esse assunto da trad. de legendas mereceria um e-talk à parte, pois desperta muito interesse. Está dada a sugestão à Renata.
Como já disse, nao é minha area profissional, mas como telespectadora, tb. sou agredida.
E creio que há outros gdes culpados alem dos "tradutores" sem nenhuma cultura que fazem como "bico" esse trabalho massificante e mal pago . Culpada tb é a ganância das legendadoras e das emissoras. Não há interesse em contratar tradutores mais qualificados. Culpada tb. é a passividade do público. Se muitos escrevessem ou telefonassem reclamando das "pérolas", quem sabe a situação melhoraria?
No momento a tendência é piorar, pois o volume de programas de TV a traduzir é cada vez maior, a pressa tb cada vez maior, e nao há revisao quase nenhuma.
Entao só nos resta mesmo fazer um piquenique "nos vinhedos de Marta"!
6- From : ROBINSON
Oi, Isa Mara,
É uma honra participar deste e-talk. Não tenho muito a acrescentar neste momento, mas gostaria de expressar minha satisfação por ver que sua primeira recomendação para um bom tradutor de textos literários é que ele ou ela escreva bem em português. Parece algo lógico, óbvio, ululante, mas, sejamos sinceros (como você), é uma coisa raríssima ver textos traduzidos em português cativante, dinâmico, convidativo. Tenho deparado com textos tão esdrúxulos quanto a própria palavra "esdrúxula", que nos fazem ter a sensação de estar passando de carroça por uma rua cheia de buracos e de lombadas!
Precisamos de textos que transpirem naturalidade, com a leveza de uma seda, que comuniquem um espírito bem-humorado, isento das carrancas sintáticas e vocabulares que assustam e afastam qualquer leitor por mais bem-intencionado que seja, que encantem e seduzam o leitor a continuar lendo, lendo, lendo. Queremos textos marcados pela singularidade do português falado no Brasil, corretos, mas brasileiríssimos, belos, mas encharcados de uma simplicidade que comunica, que entra no quintal das nossas emoções e da lógica do raciocínio lingüístico verde-e-amarelo.
Que bom ver você empenhada em ser alguém "que escreve gostoso". Um texto gostoso: que mais pode querer um leitor?
Muito obrigada pela sua belíssima contribuição. Sabendo que você é um editor, responsável por uma editora, suas palavras têm ainda mais peso.
De fato, as pessoas se esquecem que o requisito número 1 é escrever bem em português. As faculdades tb. poderiam ajudar mais nesse aspecto. A meu ver um curso de tradução deveria ter tb. aulas de redação criativa em português, para que as traduções fossem, como diz você, "textos corretos, mas brasileiríssimos, belos, mas encharcados de uma simplicidade que comunica."
Mar 11, 2002
The Danes make some damn good tales. When I was a child one of my favorites was Snow Queen. I pictured myself as little Kay, my vision blurred by a fragment of the mirror of evil, my heart growing cold like a lump of ice. My chromatic tastes in literature seem to range from white to scarlet, because Red Shoes also gripped my imagination by the tresses. Yeah, that's where my slot is. Somewhere between Snow and Red, my psyche gravitates.
Fumar, em Montmartre, pega bem.
Ser negão, no Senegal, pega bem.
Frequentar rinha de galos, nas Filipinas, pega bem.
Mandar torpedos, em Pindamonhangaba, pega bem.
Já você, objeto nada secreto do meu desejo,
onde quer que esteja, sempre pega bem.
Where was I anyway?
Oh, I was trying to post this interesting finding about infidelity.
Isa has given me permission to post her thoughts on literary translation here. The FAQ served as the basis for an e-talk (more of a talkback forum) at SBS. It's going to make for a long entry. The Translation Journal also features her profile. Her presentations are famous all over Brazil for she is an energetic and hilarious speaker. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the pleasure to introduce you to our very distinguished teacher:
Isa Mara Lando
Some thoughts on literary translation
posted at the SBS site in March 2002
Hi everybody, so nice seeing you here!
After having translated over 70 books (you can check out the list at my website) I often receive e-mails from people who would love to be literary translators and are dying for a chance. So here are some FAQs...
Q.- What does it take to be a literary translator? Do you think I could qualify?
The most important thing is to have a knack for writing well in Portuguese. "Você escreve gostoso”, “Nem parece tradução!” are the most gratifying compliments, that compensate for all the hard work.
I would say a good literary translator is someone who...
...has a natural, fluent, pleasant style in Portuguese.
Having corrected dozens of translation tests for publishers, I know how rare this is. Finding a good translator – someone who shows intelligence, general knowledge, elegance and a sense of humor, someone who can write a text that will keep the reader interested for 200 pages or more – is like finding a rare and precious gem.
Maybe 95% of the tests I have corrected are no good at all. The sentences are long, dull and humorless; they sound stilted and awkward. No wonder people often say they started reading a book but quit because it was boring – more often than not, the translation was boring!
Try and do some soul-searching. Do you enjoy writing? Do you write well? Can you keep the reader interested?
... has a sound knowledge of English that goes way beyond the basics.
Someone who has a rich vocabulary in English and can get the point of a joke, a word play or an idiom; someone who can understand complex English structures without being misled – that’s a real-to-goodness rarity.
... keeps his text interesting, expressive and lively.
English and American writers are often compelling, humorous, highly personal, even if they are writing about finances or technology. But most translators just ignore and kill all that makes their style forceful and appealing.
- “The catastrophic results" of the atom bomb became “considerable results".
- “Before we can trust them we have to examine seven times if they are hiding seven perfidies in their heart” became “We have to see how sincere they are.”
No flesh, just bare bones... No magic, no poetry, no originality, no soul...
Here’s an attempt at keeping the text vigorous:
"Angola’s fertile soil bristles with mines, its people are permanently hungry and afraid."
I couldn’t find a good equivalent for the verb "bristle", so expressive in the context. (Can you?? Send it over!)
But at least I tried to compensate with “mortíferas” right next to it:
"Seu solo fértil está repleto de minas mortíferas, seu povo sempre com fome e com medo."
... has a vast and diversified general knowledge.
Too often, would-be translators can’t recognize references to famous facts, names or places and make the most terrible blunders. For example,
"As lindas casas em estilo Tuscan...”
“Saímos de Nova York e fomos de carro para a Albânia...”
“O filme foi todo rodado nos vinhedos de Marta...”
(All real examples.)
Or else they have never left Brazil and cannot recognize features of American or British life.
“Peguei o tubo e fui para Piccadilly...”
“This Disney World fly-and-drive tour gives you unlimited park-hopping” was translated as “estacionamento grátis”.
Young people today unfortunately read very little and seem content with their MTV culture. But remember, “Knowledge is power”.
Develop the habit of reading! That will set you apart from the rest of the herd.
Also, a translator must travel and see the world. Is it expensive? Maybe no more than taking a university course in Brazil.
... can recognize the classics.
Suppose you were reading about someone who used to be very mean and tight-fisted but suddenly had a "scroogean epiphany".
Can you understand this? How would you translate so that the reader can understand it?
How about “Bush’s Orwellian address”?
Or an article on the Arab world entitled “...And the twain shall never meet”.
What do you make of that? Where does it come from?
The "classics" also include music and movies, since literature is full of references to them.
- When Humphrey Bogart asked, “Play it again, Sam”, what song did Sam play?
- How would you translate “The Rite of Spring”, considering you should adopt the most common and generally accepted form in Portuguese?
And – perhaps most important: if you can´t recognize those references, where and how would you look them up? And how long would it take for you to find them?
...knows how to use the internet effectively to do research.
If you don´t know the answers to the questions above, how would you go about finding out? And how long would you take to find them?
Q.-How many times should I reread my translation before I consider it done?
A. – This is the most important question, but I made it up myself. Unfortunately, no one ever asks it... But they should!
Reread it your text at least five times. It takes a long time to look natural! It’s like a young girl who spends hours dressing and grooming in front of the mirror in order to get that “natural" look. You know, “Wow, you look stunning!” “Oh, I just grabbed the first thing I found in my closet...”
So, don’t reread your work just once or twice, as most translators do. The more you reread it, the more natural and fluent your style will be. Read it a third, a fourth and a fifth time – in a loud voice! It makes a big difference. Listen to your own voice and make your sentences sound more beautiful, pleasant and well-balanced.
Aim for communication. Be clear and concise. Have a sense of humor, for God’s sake!
Then try and show your text to someone else – a colleague, or just anyone that can act as a normal reader – your mother, for example. Ask her: "So, was it interesting and pleasant to read? Is there anything you didn’t like, or that interfered with your understanding? Tell me and I’ll change it!"
Try doing that and you will see the difference.
The problem is, the more you polish your translation, the less money you are making, of course.
But you have to resign yourself to that. It’s the only way you can reread your work later and feel proud of yourself.
I look forward to your comments on this piece! Go ahead and write.
Isa Mara Lando
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Copyright Isa Mara Lando 2002. All rights reserved.
Mar 10, 2002
Mar 9, 2002
I got an e-mail from the GET praising my rainbow hat and saying that he is leaving the Golden State in two days. He's being so mysterious about his whereabouts, a perfect waldo.
Hace un calor senegalesco. My mom who used to work in the airline business when it was considered very chic said that Dakar in the 50s was so excruciatingly boring that the British Airways representative went to the dentist one afternoon and had a tooth pulled by way of entertainment.
Mangoes for breakfast today, lusciously sweet like you only find them in the tropics. The mermbaby is just back from the pool. She is trying to mummify her mommy with scotchtape. I pasted a pocket-size picture of her father in the pink castle, right above the mantelpiece. He probably keeps eyeing the dolls that come and go into the plastic palace. The mermaid junior pays very little attention to this feat of symbolic engineering. There are times I think she's forgotten him or maybe she is just mad because he is away. Or maybe I am. Our correspondence has been sparse and dry verging on non-existent. I wish he would send me child support. I suspect he never will.
Mar 8, 2002
Judge: "The charge here is a theft of frozen chickens. Are you the
Defendant: "No, sir, I'm the guy who stole the chickens."
Judge to Defendant: "You have the right to a trial by jury, but you
may waive that right. What do you wish to do?"
Lawyer to Defendant: "Waive"
Defendant: Waves (at the judge.)
Q: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
Q: "Did you check for blood pressure?"
Q: "Did you check for breathing?"
Q: "So, then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began
Q: "How can you be so sure, doctor?"
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: "It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law
By the way, Marta Rosas is releasing her book Tradução de Humor - Transcriando Piadas on March 14, in the Antiga Reitoria building of Universidade de São Paulo, 6pm. Also, here is a basic description of what it takes to be an interpreter.
Mar 7, 2002
The PLD-ATA president says she is sorry I am not coming to the Santa Fe conference but hopes I will change my mind in time for the event. In case I don't, "journalism translation sounds like a great topic for the big one", which will be held in Atlanta this november.
My presentation need some tuning up and abridging. When I presented it in Rosario (oh Argentina, I cry for you), my audience was made up of students mostly. It was a hit but it took me 3 hours to deliver it so when it was time for me to give the GP presentation my brain was papaya pulp (not to mention that I had just come out of a very hot 3-day tryst and my body was screaming for some shut-eye). No wonder I slept for 5 hours through high speed zones and bumper-to-bumper traffic until we arrived in Buenos Aires. Knees lightly touching. Divine.
Somebody's got to blow the horn:
"Farei de minha arte um ofício minucioso, sofrido, modesto"
Tradução como auto-flagelação? Deus me livre, te esconjuro Satanás. Acho que está mais do que na hora de os tradutores darem-se valor. Os tradutores técnicos são capazes disso, não entendo por que os literários insistem nessa submissão e na imagem de abnegação que se reflete inclusive nos ridículos honorários pagos pelas editoras. Desculpe Paulo, mas frisar que "nossa tradição coleciona um célebre repertório de erros" é cair na mesma cegueira dos jornalistas que só abrem a boca para falar do tradutor quando faltam idéias para o artigo e o recurso é malhar. Em geral, para cada erro existem pelo menos mil acertos. Proponho o seguinte:
Trabalhando bem, expandindo meus horizontes e minha lista de clientes internacionais, terei o direito de comer caviar beluga, pois não sou trouxa e esta é a lei do mercado. Mesmo que tenha de reproduzir idéias com as quais não concordo e traduzir manuais de compressores, aturar revisões mal feitas, não me importarei, porque traduções são como filhos, criados para o mundo onde todas as coisas convivem em uma sinfonia de disparidades. Lutarei contra os biqueiros que denigrem a minha profissão e pedirei a São Jerônimo com Jota que afaste de mim a preguiça de levantar a bunda da cadeira para consultar o dicionário ou de pegar o telefone para ligar para um colega mais experiente. Não aceitarei trabalhos para os quais não me sinta capacitado nem serei o primeiro a afirmar que "não suporto ler livros em tradução" (mesmo se isso for verdade). Terei orgulho em ser uma betoneira de caracteres, pois sei, mesmo se o mundo ignora, que a argamassa que gira em minhas entranhas constrói as cidades do saber.
Mar 6, 2002
Mar 5, 2002
Mar 4, 2002
"Here's an invitation for you to participate in my interactive e-talk at SBS: "Some thoughts on literary translation" I wrote a two-page text on the form of FAQs, which will be kept online at the SBS site for the whole week, from Monday 4th through Friday 8th. You can read it and then post your questions or comments. I will post my answers and so we can have an ongoing discussion. There's a little bureaucracy first – if you are not a registered teacher at the SBS site, you have to register and wait for them to send you a password. But registering at the SBS site also means you can get discounts on textbooks and dictionaries - including VocabuLando! First click on the big green banner at the bottom of the site to get in. Then "professor" and "profissional de linguas" on your record and ask for a password. They may take a while to send it – they are right in the middle of the back-to-school rush. If you have trouble registering, get in touch with Renata Fernandes. With your password you can get in the section "e-talks".
I hope you enjoy my e-talk and send your comments over!"
See you! Isa Mara Lando