OT: rambles about translation

liril at gmx.net liril at gmx.net
Mon Sep 20 09:10:49 EDT 2004

> The translator gets a bonus point for the title, "Raumstation auf der
> Erde",
> which means "Space Station on Earth", but loses several points for making
> the hero's rifle into a shotgun (die Flinte).  

Oh. You know, I would have thought a rifle was a Flinte, not that this would
have made any difference to me as I couldn't tell the difference between
rifle and shotgun... And my dictionary says Flinte-shotgun, rifle-Gewehr and
I would have thought Gewehr is a general term in the sense that a Flinte is
a special kind of Gewehr. (?)

> obDWJ: thinking of Mark as district, in the Dalemark books, what are the
> Earls called in the German translation?  I often think of Dalemark as
> "Thalmark" anyway...

Grafen (counts?!) and Navis Herzog. Untilyouasked that I didn't think twice
about Dalemark consisting of Grafschaften.

Concering puns and counts, I only recently noticed that Sesame Street had a
Count who like to count - he's called Graf Zahl in German, and that's not
really funny (well, Zahl (number) sounds a bit like Zahn (tooth) and he's a
vampire). Is he called Count Number? Or just Count?

Bujold's counts are just Grafen, I don't know what happened to the passage
you mentioned as I read most of the books in English.

Recently I read some German translations of Brust books I already knew in
English, and I wasn't too happy with the translation. For unknown reasons,
the translator kept some English words, e.g. Dragon remains untranslated,
and apparently is supposed to be singular and plural ("Er gehört zum Haus
der Dragon" "Das war typisch für einen Dragon") The Lords of Judgement
become Lords des Jüngsten Gerichts which sounds strange. In Taltos the
Catcentaur Mist (she's called Mist because every time she throws her spear
-shut up) becomes Nebel (sie stochert nämlich immer im - Schnauze!), to
translate a pun, good idea, but a sloppy editor didn't notice that she is
still called Mist once or twice. I also noticed somthing I am not sure the
translator did, maybe that is something I missed in the original: All
characters somtimes talk like "casually"/modern slang (tough cookie, shit
happens etc.) I thought it was mainly Vlad and Loiosh (and Verra, maybe
Kragar) who would speak like this, and not Sethra or Morrolan. With those
two it felt like a shift in speech patterns, a shift I had not noticed in


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