Apr 30, 2002
Apr 29, 2002
"(...) dive into the literary text, fuck it, fall in love with it, feel what it has to say. Then come, come and come! Kiss the
text, fondle it, arouse it, make it feel the irresistible urge to jump into bed with you. The translator has to make the text beg: fuck me, fuck me, fuck me!"
Most literary translators almost died of apoplexia upon reading these words. But in the end, Lísias left the list voluntarily, dishevelled but undisturbed with two or more invitations to a cozy dinner under his belt.
At any rate, questions are raised by both the Machado de Assis translation (a "belle infidèle" by definition) and the contemporary translator's patches. The eyebrow raiser issue is that Machado de Assis translated Oliver Twist at the turn of the century, under a completely different conception of what a translation should be. And more, how sucessful was Lisias' emulation of Machado de Assis translation style ?
I am sometimes asked why I translate, since to many it seems a thankless vocation. Why, they ask, don't I write my own novels, since I have lived (they assume) an interesting life and must by now have an idea of what a novel should be? I can only say that not all translators are closet novelists, and that I do not consider translation to be a lesser art -- one that ought to lead to something better. The short, and very personal, answer to the question is: Because I love it. I love to read Chinese; I love to write in English. I love the challenge, the ambiguity, the uncertainty of the enterprise. I love the tension between creativity and fidelity, even the inevitable compromises. And, every once in a while, I find a work so exciting that I'm possessed by the urge to put it into English. In other words, I translate to stay alive. The satisfaction of knowing I've faithfully served two constituencies keeps me happily turning good, bad, and indifferent Chinese prose into readable, accessible, and -- yes -- even marketable English books.
Apr 28, 2002
via textmatters via oddsocks
The sorcery turned against the sorcery when I was in Miami last January. While I was cooking dinner, the Giant Jalapeño bared my hotmail naked unveiling the undeniable fact that I had a crush on the Green Eyed Temptation and therefore should be stamped with a red A on my 36D chest for the rest of my life. Bummer supreme. My love life is dominated by the trickery of Hotmail cookies.
I am seriously concerned that the Giant Jalapeño is going to waltz into this blog one of these days, especially because now I am getting referrals from Yahoo with keyword sex. The Panopticon is watching me unrelentlessly. I should move to Happyland, the modellstat conceived Isay Weinfeld and Marcio Kogan and featured at the 25th São Paulo Biennal, which I visited last night. Supposedly there is a photo of Denise and I at the mediatic artfest on mediamorphose.org, but I couldn't find it and that beret guy scares me. What's a girl to do but escape the urban jungle taking refuge in consumerism. Yesterday afternoon I took the Mermbaby to see Ice Age and couldn't resist this pen even though I am broke as can be. The truth is I edited their catalogue into Portuguese last year and I am a brand loyal knowledge worker. I don't translate bellic equipment brochures and I don't look like Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Apr 27, 2002
Sound guide to a horrid little dog
I bought this book in an effort to learn to bond with my pug Grendel. The burden falls on me to do it as my wife refuses to walk him as she says he adds 10 years to her appearance (15 with the dog jacket), and in a funny way I think she's probably right. He is a hard dog to to get to know, and even harder to like, but thanks to this superb guide I think were making progress until my kids put that "Kick Me" label on his jacket. 4 neighbours took up the invitation on a recent walk and Grendel has, if anything, become even more disagreeable.
As for malapropisms, well, they are a bit like bushisms...
The language, on the verge of disappearing, is believed to be the world's only women's language. It is used among women of the
Yao ethnic group in Jiangyong County of Hunan. The language was usually written on silks, paper fans or embroidery items. So far, more than 1,200 characters have been identified. Less than 700 characters are in common use." (Read more)
What about other nations? Which are the ethnography documents giving rise to other country mythologies? The Môr-forwyn Enigmatig would like to know, leave a comment, will ya?
Apr 26, 2002
via morfa, a weblog in Welsh
Other recent great finds:
sophismata, a mathematical weblog. The author is currently involved in a graph design discussion with patriarch Edward Tufte. Definitely worth a look.
nonharmful, a medical weblog. This blog has tons of interesting links, such as research findings about breast-feeding pheromones, the number of germs on the hand that types at the keyboard and a history of heroin addiction.
sysblog is not topical in content. But the writing and the life story behind it is very poignant. Posts such as rikki and my morning struck a chord in me.
consumptive is a grade A blog on art, photography and the uncanny. There I discover a link to a funny page listing signs you've been living in Japan for too long. Maybe The Brazilians has a similar list?
On the other hand of traffic, we've been recently noticed by the insolvent republic of blogistan, booboolina and blue tea leaf. Thanks for the linkage! And thanks to Google for driving lots of mermaid seekers to the blog.
If you're into microbes and insects, Tech Central Station has an article on bio-art, i.e. art that uses living organisms as a medium as seen in the works of Damien Hirst and Adam Zaretsky. Paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan, the roach is the message. Writing this post addition has made me feel a sudden nostalgia for the impressionists and their desire to paint outdoors to better capture the playfulness and density of shadow and light.
Apr 25, 2002
Apr 24, 2002
In factual, this tongue no other like is. His specialness from the two things come. First, he is by computer made, seems it by people who get out much don't. Second, when speaking him, no persons a bloody word you say understanding. So, to exhibition of myself, this article in him writing I am; and, to the judging of envelopes from readers receiving, parts other of this newsy paper being in him written also."
Do we have an extreme sports Hamlet yet?
Apr 23, 2002
Apr 22, 2002
(I know it's mean, but I can't resist it)
gastoban= gas turbine
shave comman= save command
computer= noun, masculine, always he.
ex: check if he is not running
common viks= coming weeks
loophole= lube oil
To make the application running it is something we are not using so often.
You can use the logic to make whatever or something in this way.
I was quite angry this morning because I was hit not by a compact but by a juggernaut truck, how do you call them, the type that takes money from the bank to wherever they put these tons of currency and has heavily armed security guards as passengers. I stepped out of my car red with indignation because the driver had just tried to cut me off so I felt it was a revenge of sorts.
Funny thing is his name turned out to be Dionisius Albino and I had received a virus infected e-mail from a certain C.Jung that very morning. Life is fraught with mysterious associations and synchronicities. And my neighborhood is teeming with those juggernaut trucks because the Transbank quasi-paramilitary compound is two blocks away. Anyway, Dionisius promised me Transbank is going to pay for the damage. I am just not sure I can trust a mythic persona with such a bad rep.
Apr 21, 2002
Apr 20, 2002
Apr 19, 2002
For deeper understanding, though, you could do worse than pick up the Tao Te Ching. A new annotated translation of this classic text of ancient Chinese quietism has just been produced by Moss Roberts, professor of Chinese at New York University. Roberts’s version of the Tao Te Ching raises the political issue with unusual clarity. "
And while I am at it, The Economist compares the American bestseller list to the Brazilian counterpart without drawing any portendous conclusions. (print edition, but e-mail me and I'll send it to you if you ask nicely.)
They are anthropologists and psychologists who hang out with teenagers in local hostels, young families in their living rooms, fishermen on their boats in Alaska, American Indians on Navajo reservations and the poor in Brazil.
Their mission is to find out how technology can penetrate some of the unlikeliest places and spell potential future market growth for Intel." (Read more)
The thing is that to apply you need to collect signed agreements to prove that you have worked at least 50 days under their recommended conditions, fashioned after the AIIC working conditions. I've already worked way over 50 days in the six years I've been doing the booth thing but I am very sloppy when it's time to get the paperwork neatly filed in folders. I was so happy yesterday because I had a contract for four days to add to my collection, but then in the last minute I forgot to stash it in my purse. I claim self-sabotage! Does this mean that I secretly want to remain a slave to my computer and translate radiation therapy spec sheets till Jesus kingdom comes?
Apr 18, 2002
Apr 17, 2002
The 131th anniversary celebration of Bocaiúva do Sul, in the metropolitan area of Curitiba, has been marked by controversy. The high point in the festivities was the official announcement of plans to build a UFO-airport in town. According to mayor Élcio Berti, proponent of this polemic idea, a runway for space saucers would attract more tourists to Bocaiúva do Sul. Berti declared that he has sighted many UFOs in the region, but he won't disclose the location chosen for the UFO-port because the "extraterrials asked him not to tell".
Apr 16, 2002
Apr 15, 2002
via the tangerine newsfeed
Apr 14, 2002
Dilligence should be studying her glossaries for next week's interpreting assignments, but her xiphopagous sister Sloth won't let her. Dilligence has just visited her friend Scorn's blog and made a bunch of preposterous comments and also launched the revolutionary idea of airborne orgies for cross-atlantic flights, a new marketing gimmick that can save the destiny of aviation and the sanity of bored-to-death passengers. Dilligence is a bit bored herself, she knows that next week is another anticippointment for the readers of this blog because she won't have time to post anything. She tried to schedule some posts but she is full of self-doubt and doesn't think it will work at all.
Dilligence wishes Cupid would write more often and send her a picture of him in shorts. Failing that, she wishes that she wouldn't argue with Huge Sex Drive and No Brains every time they talk about Flowering Youth. Dilligence advises Scorn that he is going to end up like Flowering Youth's hamsters, forever spinning in the wheel of love. Dilligence is now going to take a last look at a cute new picture of Flowering Youth in last year's Festas Juninas, a gift from Scorn, log off and read Cartas de um Sedutor in bed, waiting expectantly for the Angelus and the always too sudden arrival of nightfall.
That is the situation of the quarter-million or more deaf people in North America whose primary language is American Sign Language. Although they form a vast linguistic minority, their language, as complex as any spoken one, has by its very nature defied most attempts to write it down.
In recent years, however, a system of graphic symbols based on dance notation has allowed the world's signed languages to be captured on paper. What's more, the system's advocates say, it may furnish deaf children with a long-sought bridge to literacy in English and other spoken languages, often a great struggle for signers." (Read more)
Apr 13, 2002
article by ian buruma via vincent buck
via elegant hack
The Oulipo - in full, the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, or Workshop for Potential Literature - was founded in France in 1960 by the French author Raymond Queneau and the mathematical historian François Le Lionnais. Made up of mathematicians as well as writers, the group assigned itself the task of exploring how mathematical structures might be used in literary creation. The idea of mathematical structure was soon broadened to include all highly restrictive methods, like the palindrome and the sestina, that are strict enough to play a decisive role in determining what their users write. The most notorious example of this approach is Georges Perec's novel, A Void, written without a single appearance of the letter e.
Added bonus: an article on Translation and the Oulipo : The Case of the Perservering Maltese, by Harry Matthews
via boing boing
Apr 12, 2002
Apr 11, 2002
Surprisingly, the Green-Eyed Temptation also writes after reading my entry on the Avenida Paulista mugging adventure. He offers some soothing words and hints at the fact that he didn't mail me a certain check for services that shall remained unspecified in this blog. Oh shoot, I couldn't bring myself to get mad at the little street urchins because they were too much like my daughter and I can't get angry at him because he is too handsome.
"Our friend referred us to Key Words in Multicultural Interventions. According to that dictionary, Japanese who immigrated to the U.S. are known as Issei, literally, "first generation." Children of the Issei are Nisei, literally "second generation." Third generation were Sansei, and fourth, Yonsei. That's where things get interesting. The Japanese language counting system that produced the terms Issei, Nisei, and Sansei logically produces Shisei for the fourth generation, but since shi also means "death," an alternative counting system was used to arrive at yon meaning "four," before returning to the original counting system and labeling the fifth generation Gosei.
The story doesn't end there, either. When Issei (Japanese Americans who immigrated to this country) send their children (the Nisei) back to Japan to be educated, that generation of children is renamed Kibei, literally, "the ones who returned to America."
(shouldn't this be the ones who returned to Japan??)
Apr 10, 2002
Over the entire course of recorded history, languages have gone in and out of fashion as a preferred tool of international communication. At the dawn of civilisation in the ancient Middle East, Egyptian rose to preeminence among nations; by the end of the Middle Ages it was extinct. In the Hellenistic period, Greek was spoken all the way from Athens to the banks of the Amu Darya in Central Asia; now it is confined to the southern extremity of the Balkan peninsula. Latin once reigned supreme over European territory south of the Danube and west of the Rhine, not to mention North Africa; it even survived the fall of Rome by well over a millennium, and was actively used by scholars as a pan-European language as late as the eighteenth century. Today Latin is no longer used for communication (except in the Vatican), and appears to be rapidly disappearing from school curricula.
These examples serve to demonstrate that there is nothing new about the concept of an international language, and equally that no one language has secured this status permanently, though the life span of a successful international language is a long one, amounting to a thousand years or more. None of the languages mentioned extended their sway beyond a certain region of the globe; other regions have seen the development of their own international languages (like Arabic in the countries of Maghreb and Mashreq, Mandarin Chinese in South-East Asia or Swahili in Eastern Africa). What is different about today’s situation is not so much essence as scale: for the first time in history, due to the political developments and technological progress, it is possible to speculate about the emergence of a global language. (Read more)
Apr 8, 2002
Apr 7, 2002
thanks to animaemk for the link
The Overwhelming Allure of English focuses on the proliferation of Spanish within US borders but argues that bilingualism is so hard to maintain because "English is so dominant and so highly rewarded".
The People vs. Potty Mouth offers a cautionary tale for the hard cussers among us. Apparently there is a little-known Michigan law against cursing and while the convition of Timothy J. Boomer was overturned last week, it really sounds like the stupidest of things to have your criminal record blemished as a result of falling into the frigid waters of the Rifle River and unleashing an emphatic stream of profanities.
Some Say Hospitals Lack Vital Procedure: Translation describes the plight of the non-native speaker who has a child delivered by a non-Spanish speaking staff and is told only hours later by a social worker that her baby has died.
The Verses from Bin Laden's War tells of a poem found in an abandoned house used by Al Qaeda fighters in Kabul. Specialists in Arabic literature say the verses were written by Bin Laden who tries "to use poetry, a revered art form in the Muslim world, to further his cause and burnish his image as a pan-Islamic warrior, savior and muse (sic)."
Lastly, The Return of the Caravels: Getting and Losing the Portuguese Empire is a rave review of António Lobo's book where Gregory Rabassa is scolded for not making things any easier for the reader and creating a "a translation in which you are never quite sure if you are concentrating furiously on Antunes's genius or Rabassa's problems". Several illustrative examples of translation faux-pas are described, such as using aphta instead of cold sore.
Apr 6, 2002
By the way, I notice that Reuters said the offending word was xenophobic while The Guardian reported it as racist. So what is it going to be, baby? What was the actual German word ? And still in the inquiring string...any translators in need of a good whipping today?
Yesterday for example the Swiss-German instructor at the course I was interpreting went out on a limb to please his students. He brought a neat little package with cake for the morning coffee break. As we opened the package, expectation soon gave way to gastronomic unease. Four large éclairs looked very festively back at us. Rich gourmandises they were, with icing and fine decorations as if made in an Austrian patisserie, side by side with the graham crackers Angela had brought.
How can a foreigner know that by decree of some unspoken law or Brazilian custom elaborate cakes and pastries are meant to be eaten only in the afternoon? A sponge cake would have been fine but those marvelous delicacies looked unnapetizing to us for reasons of time and occasion.
But Brazilians are also known for their hospitable and corteous ways. After a long wait and many uneasy glances, one of the students picked one of the éclairs in a token sacrifice to gastronomic and multicultural harmony.
If you are Brazilian that means fresh fruit, pão de queijo, bolo de fubá, sometimes rosquinhas or for small appetites a média which is the local name for caffé au lait and a frugal pão na chapa consisting of a French roll with butter heated on the hot plate. In Japan, it means miso, rice, fish and vegetables. For Americans it's eggs and sausage and bacon as well as other delicacies.
When I was living in California, Rick and I used to breakfast at Mexican restaurants, burritos and spicy huevos rancheros because that was the food that made him remember his not so lovable childhood where the crowning happy memory was his adorable Mexican mom pontificating in the kitchen.
Apr 5, 2002
Says the Oxford History of Mexico, however, that her importance as an interpreter has been considerably overstated because "the truly crucial linguistic leap was not between two indigenous languages but rather between a European and an indigenous one. This connection was achieved not by Marina but by Geronimo Aguilar, who spoke both Spanish and Maya and accompanied her throughout the Conquest."
Ascending to the status of a myth for also mothering the "first" Mexican with Cortés, no less, Malinche's name has evolved into the adjective malinchista, used to describe a person who turns her back on her culture. Her name also designates a volcano in Mexico.
Apr 4, 2002
After going to Livraria Cultura twice today (don't ask!), I find myself reading in delectation a brand new copy of Cartas de um Sedutor, which is in turns a disturbing and hilarious roman épistolaire. This is book is part of her pornography trilogy which she undertook in an attempt to check if by writing smut she would reach a larger audience. But then "My French publisher Gallimard said that I had elevated pornography to an art form and nobody read the books".
The Brazilian media like to portray her as a difficult, impenetrable author, which probably aggravates her condition of ignored homegrown genius. This embitters her deeply, as I had the opportunity of hearing from her own lips. Is she really such a rocky read? I don't think so. Her prose is brilliant, fluent and sparkling and it will set your brain cells into high spinning motion.
Luckily, Editora Globo is churning Hilda's books fast so soon there will be no need to scour the second-hand bookstores or borrow them from your friends, which is how I came to lose most of my HH books. I also noticed that her site now offers samples of her works in German and French. No English translations yet (we are still waiting for Blind Tangerine to find the translations lost on his drive), although this épostouflante author has won the respect of French critics and has a small squad of readers who regard her with undying admiration.
If all my efforts were not in vain and if I managed to tingle your imagination, you can start your Hilda Hilst education by downloading some of her poetry in .pdf format and some writings for the E-rocket reader. There is also a chat session transcript.Desejo.com, an excellent site for erotic poetry, also presents some of her works. My favorite one over there is the sad sad tale of Cidao, the Dwarf.
At the risk of sounding naive, before starting this blog I had never realized how thorny a subject is language from the political point of view.
Apr 3, 2002
This is too awful for words.
TECHNIBAN. A fundamentalist mindset, repressively opposed to ground-breaking technologies that could upset the status quo. Apparently coined by info warrior Richard Forno in a rant about politicians protecting the entertainment industry from new technology that would undermine its current business model.
Take my advice: it's all part of the grand conspiracy that aims at transforming the primeval force of sex into consumables and making sex look as tame as a box of cocoa puffs on a supermarket aisle. It's as demeaning as the nefarious "how to enjoy a better sex life" manuals.
I can't stand it when Marie Claire publishes an article on "Tantric Sex: Two Couples Tell How it Changed their Sex Life", imparting in wishy-washy subtext that sex is not only healthy for you but that there is a certain trendy modus operandi to sex and if you don't stick to the fashion, girlfriend are you missing out. Consider those bulleted lists with 10 items that appear on every sex article published by brainless female magazines. "First clean up the environment, then light the room with colors that stimulate the chakras such as red, yellow and orange, then do this then do that." Oh, aromatic candles are high on the list too.
Even when they try to get it right, like some webzine whose URL I forget, they tend to blow it. I was so excited when I clicked on the hyperlink to How I Became a Discerning Consumer of Porn, alas disappointment awaited me (anticippointment, see DOF). The author was driven by a reasoning that equated choosing your porn to browsing through discount racks at Loehmann's until you find the little number that is all the rage this summer, without giving any sign of reverence for the astounding performances of Rocco Siffredi. Actually, I take it back: The SoapBox girls got their thing right, their take is more how to choose the little number that best compliments your libido. But for every SoapBox girl there are a thousand practical bulleted lists that kill every last atom of raunchiness in you.
Today few dare speak out the truth about sex, as Norman Mailer did in this interview on Ethics and Pornography or Bigas Luna in his The Ages of Lulu.
"Great sex is apocalyptic". All you have to do is think of turn-of-the-century hardcore postcards and the lasciviousness that irradiated from them and compare it to aesthetically pleasing vibrators to feel that they are really trying to rob us of our erotica. I won't stand for this theft.
Apr 2, 2002
"But Paul Rayson, a research fellow at Lancaster University, adds that unskilled translators may confuse the meaning of individual words. 'The problem is you generally need the context to get a good translation,' he says.
No shit. I guess that will be translated as "não merda".