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5th ProZ.com Translation Contest
French to English Finalists:8
Je pensais en route : Est-ce un grand mal de ne pas avoir vu Smara au soleil couchant, de ne pas m’être assis devant ces ruines, de ne pas avoir appuyé longuement mes yeux sur ses édifices, sur ses horizons ? – Peut-être pas. Je ne me sens pas d’humeur à imiter Chateaubriand sur le Forum romain.
Je ne suis pas venu ici pour cela.
Le corps : ces choses qui me préoccuperaient, ptôse des organes, les dos qui se voûte – ici peu importe.
Que peu de haltes encore j’espère – que peu de nuits ! Ces haltes, les dernières, quand il n’y en aura plus qu’une, que deux avec les chikhs, quelle valeur renouvelée elles prennent, elles prendront pour moi: le partage en cinq parts de la viande, le tirage au sort, etc., comme les dernières cerises les plus belles, au fond du compotier.
Le retour : en plus de cette joie profonde, admirable, venant de nos vies renouvelées ou plutôt hardiment poussées sur un chemin merveilleux – que je ne dirai point –, je songeais, avec quel plaisir, au bain chaud que je prendrais tout de suite – à la première minute –, au premier repas, à la première nuit. Ne plus avoir de poux, ne plus avoir si froid ou si chaud. Dormir dans un lit. Manger. Retrouver tout cela après deux mois très durs, l’acte accompli.
Marché hier soir de 5 heures et demie à 8 heures et demie à travers des vallonnements assez forts. C’est pendant cette marche que je me fis ces réflexions ; (…)
“SMARA. Carnets de route d’un fou du désert” par Michel Vieuchange Éditions Phébus, Paris, 1990. Page 218-219.
As I walked, I pondered: would it be a great misfortune not to have seen Smara at sunset, not to have sat before those ruins, not to have gazed at length on its buildings and horizons? Perhaps not. I don't feel inclined to imitate Chateaubriand in the Roman Forum.
That is not why I came here.
Bodily things: everything that would normally worry me - the prolapse of the organs, the bent back - are of scant importance here.
There are so few stops to come now, Show full text
Along the road, I mused: Is it such a great shame not to have seen Smara under a setting sun, not to have sat before its ruins, not to have settled my eyes slowly along its edifices, upon its horizons?
Perhaps not. I’m not in the mood to imitate Chateaubriand at the Roman Forum.
I didn't come here for that.
The body: those things that would bother me, the sagging organs, the bowing back -- here, they hardly matter.
I hope that there will be only a few stops left -- only Show full text
Along the way I thought, ‘Is it so bad not to have seen Smara at sunset, not to have sat before those ruins, not to have let my eyes linger on its buildings and skyline?’ Possibly not. I’m in no mood to be like Chateaubriand at the Roman Forum.
I didn’t come here for that.
The human body - those things that used to preoccupy me, organ ptosis, hunch backs – has little meaning here.
Only a few more stopovers to go, I hope, only a few more nights! Those Show full text
I was thinking along the way, is it really bad not to have seen Smara at sunset, not to have sat in front of those ruins, not to have let my eyes linger on its buildings, on its horizons? Perhaps not. I am not feeling in the mood to imitate Chateaubriand on the Roman Forum.
I did not come here for that.
The body. Those things that would normally worry me – organ ptosis, a stooped back. Here, little matters.
Few stops remain, I hope – yet so few nights! These stops Show full text
Along the way, I thought: was it wrong of me not to have seen Smara at sunset, not to have sat amid the ruins, not to have gazed long and hard at its buildings and prospects? Maybe not. I was in no mood to play Chateaubriand at the Forum in Rome.
That is not what I had come for.
My body and all of its cares: the prolapsed organs, the stooped back—none of that matters here.
Only a few more bivouacs—I hope. Only a few more nights to go! These Show full text
I think this reads quite well despite the rather too (in my opinion) colloquial feel of "no mood to play Chateaubriand". On the other hand I think "bivouac" may sound a little too sophisticated for what in fact were extremely basic conditions, in the same way as "cutting" the meat is not the same as "sharing" the meat. I'm not sure about "mission accomplished", although he was indeed on a mission. There is to my mind something altogether more sacred about the notion of the "acte". Otherwise, I think this reads fairly well considering that it was quite a difficult source text.
Walking along, I kept thinking to myself : Is it such a terrible thing not to have seen Smara under a setting sun, not to have sat down before those ruins, not to have cast a lingering gaze on her edifices, on her horizons? – Maybe not. I am not of a mind to emulate Chateaubriand as he stood atop the Forum in Rome.
That is not what I came here for.
The body : such worrisome things as a ptosis of the organs, a gradual stooping – those matter but little here.
How few the stops Show full text
I was thinking along the way – is it so very dreadful not to have seen Smara at sunset, nor sat before its ruins and feasted my eyes at leisure on its walls and vistas? Perhaps not. I have no inclination to imitate Chateaubriand’s descriptions of the Roman Forum.
That is not why I came here.
My body, the things which might otherwise cause me concern such as the prolapse of organs or becoming stooped over, matter little here.
Please let there be only a few stops more, I hope, and just Show full text
On the way I was thinking: was there any great harm in not having seen Smara at sundown, in not having sat in front of those ruins, in not having long rested my eyes upon her buildings, her horizons? – Perhaps not. I am not in the mood of emulating Chateaubriand at the Roman Forum.
This is not what I came here for.
The body: those things that would worry me, organs sagging, back bowing – here matter little. So few are the stopovers I still look forward to – so few nights! Show full text
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