Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


29.5.06
  Carnival of Blog Translation (May 06)

This is a project of several blogs. Every month those who feel like it / have the time, will post a piece of translation, and one blog will host the links. The translations should be from your own or someone else's blog posts. Everything goes, translations to and from languages living or dead, well known or exotic. This month's Blog Translation Carnival will be hosted by Sauvage Noble. I've decided to join the fun.

For May, I stuck to my own blog and chose a German poem I translated into English, Am grauen Strand by Theodor Storm.

Theodor Storm (1817 - 1888): German poet and a novel-writer (and lawyer). He lived most of the time in a town by the shore of the North Sea called Husum and many of his poems describe this landscape.

Am grauen Strand, am grauen Meer,
Und seitab liegt die Stadt;
Der Nebel drückt die Dächer schwer,
Und durch die Stille braust das Meer
Eintönig um die Stadt.

Es rauscht kein Wald, es schlägt im Mai
Kein Vogel ohn' Unterlaß;
Die Wandergans mit hartem Schrei
Nur fliegt in Herbstesnacht vorbei;
Am Strande weht das Gras.

Doch hängt mein ganzes Herz an dir,
Du graue Stadt am Meer;
Der Jugend Zauber für und für
Ruht lächelnd doch auf dir, auf dir,
Du graue Stadt am Meer.


Grey is the shore, and grey the sea,
And nearby lies the town.
Approaching mists oppress the roofs,
The murmur of the sea, it mourns
Forever round the town.

No wind is whisp'ring in the woods,
No birds will sing in May;
The grey geese only with harsh cries
Will pass the town in autumn nights;
On the shore will move the grass.

But yet you are so dear to me,
You grey town by the sea,
Because enchanting dreams of youth,
Smiling sweetly, rest in you,
You grey town by the sea.

I tried to render the tone, the elegant simplicity of the language, rather than try for the best possible matching words. I've seen another translation that is maybe better English, but less Storm. :)
 
Comments:
That's beautiful!

I really appreciate you all being willing to take the time to share things like this with those of us who'd otherwise never see them.

And it's fascinating to see the differences in translations from one translator to another; I love seeing the different perspectives on the same piece.
 
Lovely translation, and an atmospheric photo to go with it.
 
Very nice. I've done a lot of translation (both literary and otherwise) and the hardest thing to capture is the simplicity of a poem like that.
 
Hey, Gabriele.
For someone who's based in Germany, you've got some nice photos of Scotland.
 
Hi tlh,
thanks for stopping by and commenting. Interesting link you give there. Translating Beaudelaire is very difficult; I took a course about comparative translations during my studies, and he featured among the poets chosen. But we also compared different German translations of fe. Dickens and how they changed during time.

I think I'll give the Swedish poet Edith Södergran a try next.

Carla,
thank you.

Liam,
thanks. Poetry is a lot more difficult to translate than prose. And I've done my share of translating Old Norse sagas into German. :)
 
Hi Duncan,
welcome to my blog. I've been to Scotland in 1998 and the photos I post I took back then. They are still good old scans and thus not fully as fine as the recent ones from German I took with my father's digicam.
 
Well done, Gabriele!
 
Thank you, Bernita.
 
I'd be interested in hearing something sometime about the different translations of Dickens. Sounds fascinating.
 
It's good to see the original as well as the translation. I don't mind poetry in other languages, because it's almost like music. You don't always need to understand what the words mean.

Though it is nice to, so thank you for the translation!
 
That is really lovely. It's hard to translate prose - catching the feeling and meaning is very difficult!
 
Susan,
it's a loong time since I took that course, I don't remember any details, nor where I have put my notes if I still have them. But I'll keep it in mind in case I find anything. :)

Ali and Sam,
thank you very much. It's good to know I can transfer something of the original into the translation.
 
It's very hard to translate poetry. There's the feel and meaning, but also the meter and rhyme scheme. Though you couldn't keep the rhyme scheme with this, you did a beautiful job of conveying the other elements.

Translations of Chaucer reveal the same problems as translating the Baudelaire. That's why I prefer the Middle English. I've three modern translations and each is very different from the other.

Idle question, Gabriele. Do you have a hard time with middle english, or is it familiar to you?
 
Mindy,
I can read it, but it requires more concentration than reading modern English. Same with Middle High German or Anglonorman French.

Old English is really tricky, though.
 
Old English is Greek to me.

*pause for bad joke groan*

I tried to read Don Quixote in Medieval Spanish - I don't know the official name for the language, just that it has a lot of 'x's.

Well...let's just say that I recognized some of the words. So kudos to you.
 
Just popping in to say MOO!

#1.
 
*waves hi*
 
Medieval Castilian (Gonzalo de Berceo, El Cid) is surprisingly easy. Spanish has changed less than English over the years.

M.G. -- just change the 'x's to 'j's.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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