Off topic: How do you say...."Be Happy" in other languages? What was/is your happiest moment in translation?
Thread poster: Patricia Baldwin

Patricia Baldwin
United States
Local time: 09:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 22, 2008

"Resolve to make at least one person
happy every day, and then in ten years you
may have made three thousand, six hundred
and fifty persons happy, or brightened a
small town by your contribution to the
fund of general enjoyment." - Sydney Smith

How do you say...."Be Happy" in other languages?

In my native tongue..
Que seas feliz!

What was/is your happiest moment in translation?
In my case when I translated a beautiful poem and when I transalte for non profit animal protection organizations.
What about you?

This is what Borges, our great poet and writer, thought of the importance of happy moments....


Si pudiera vivir nuevamente mi vida.
En la próxima trataría de cometer más errores.
No intentaría ser tan perfecto, me relajaría más.
Sería más tonto de lo que he sido, de hecho tomaría muy pocas cosas con seriedad.
Sería menos higiénico. Correría más riesgos, haría más viajes, contemplaría más atardeceres, subiría más montañas, nadaría más ríos.
Iría a más lugares adonde nunca he ido, comería más helados y menos habas, tendría más problemas reales y menos imaginarios.
Yo fui una de esas personas que vivió sensata y prolíficamente cada minuto de su vida; claro que tuve momentos de alegría.
Pero si pudiera volver atrás trataría de tener solamente buenos momentos.
Por si no lo saben, de eso está hecha la vida, sólo de momentos; no te pierdas el ahora.
Yo era uno de esos que nunca iban a ninguna parte sin termómetro, una bolsa de agua caliente, un paraguas y un paracaídas.
Si pudiera volver a vivir, viajaría más liviano.
Si pudiera volver a vivir comenzaría a andar descalzo a principios de la primavera y seguiría así hasta concluir el otoño.
Daría más vueltas en calesita, contemplaría más amaneceres y jugaría con más niños, si tuviera otra vez la vida por delante.
Pero ya tengo 85 años y sé que me estoy muriendo.

Jorge Luis Borges

If I were able to live my life anew,
In the next I would try to make more mistakes.
I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more.
I would be more foolish than I've been,
In fact, I would take few things seriously.
I would not be as clean.
I would run more risks,
take more vacations,
contemplate more sunsets,
climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would go to more places where I've never been,
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans,
I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.

I was one of those people that lived sensibly
and efficiently each minute of his life;
Of course I had moments of happiness.
If I could go back I would try
to have only good moments.

Because if you didn't know, of that is life made:
only of moments; Seize the now.

I was one of those that never
went anywhere without a thermometer,
a hot-water bottle,
an umbrella, and a parachute;
If I could live again, I would travel lighter.

If I could live again,
I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring
and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends.
I would take more cart rides,
contemplate more dawns,
and play with more children,
If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85,
and I know that I am dying.

Jorge Luis Borges

Each verse of this lovely poem is a true poem in itself ..and you know ...
“Cuando la vida te traiga limones, haz limonada”,
"When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade!"

Smile and life will smile at you!
¡Sonríe a la vida y la vida te sonreirá a ti!

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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:55
English to Norwegian
+ ...
proz Jan 22, 2008

had something to do with my happiest moment as regards translating ( so far...), I think. I stumbled upon it at a time when I needed some extra cash, and was very happy when I got my first assignment, and even happier when I was paid for it

However, I think your poem is rather sad. Words of wisdom, indeed - but to learn all this only at 85 and have nothing much but regrets to look forward to?

Happiness lies in balance, I think. If you let everything slide, you will end up unhappy. We need precautions, plans and insurance. But also to know not to take all this too seriously.

Don't worry - be happy!

-does not translate well into Norwegian at all (or maybe one of my colleagues will prove me wrong...) - perhaps that says something dreadful about us :S

[Edited at 2008-01-22 21:53]

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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
I'd do exactly the opposite... Jan 23, 2008

If I were able to live my life anew,
I'd be judicious and rational,
I wouldn't make so many mistakes,
I'd contemplate less sunsets and dawns,
I'd love less women,
And I would study harder!

But I'm a Poet, and I can't help it.

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ivo abdman
Local time: 23:55
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Life is Only Forward Doors Jan 23, 2008

When we open a door
We'll go through and face many doors
When we chose one and open again
We'll see many other doors inside
When we confuse and want go back
There is no reverse door for us

There is no other way, just chose one
Open and keep forward
Again and again

Till forget we already death even we are alive

[Edited at 2008-01-23 14:17]

[Edited at 2008-01-23 14:20]

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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree with those who disagree... Jan 23, 2008

Hello, dear colleagues!

Though I love Borges' work, I think life consists of analyzing our progress as we go forward, correcting mistakes, trying to straighten our steps, and "trying again" --while we still have the time to do so!!!

Here is my contribution, one of my favorite poems from early in my life:


by William Hickson

Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try Again;

If at first you don't succeed,
Try again.

Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear,
Try again.

If you would at last prevail,
Try again.

If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we did not win the race;
What should we do in that case?
Try again.

If you find your task is hard,
Try again;

All that other folk can do,
Why with patience, may not you?

Only keep this rule in view:
Try again!

Thank you for this posting, Patricia!

Now, to answer the question about our happiest moment in translation:

Actually, this profession of ours is so full of happy moments --even long, happy periods, if you ask me. But my greatest satisfaction was when I started freelancing and saw one new client coming after the other... I was as happy as tired!

I think, however, my very happiest moment is yet to come! If I felt I had already gone through that experience, I don't believe I would continue to translate

[Edited at 2008-01-23 19:34]

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Eleni Makantani
Local time: 19:55
English to Greek
+ ...
Still waiting for it! Jan 26, 2008

It doesn't translate well in my language, either - maybe because it is so elusive...

A modern Greek song, however, tries to define happiness:

Happiness is what is yet to come...
Ευτυχία είναι αυτό που περιμένουμε να 'ρθει...

And some more poetry...

Odysseas Elytis - The Trills of Love

A bitter feeling

Here I am, halfway,
and I have to say it:
It's other things I really love,
It's other things I'm really after

Truly or not,
I have to admit it:
I walked through life
as if it wasn't mine.

No matter how careful you can be,
no matter how much attention you pay,
It will always be too late,
because you only live once.

Οδυσσέας Ελύτης - Τα Ρω του Έρωτα

Το Παράπονο

Εδώ στου δρόμου τα μισά
έφτασε η ώρα να το πω
άλλα είναι εκείνα που αγαπώ
γι' αλλού γι' αλλού ξεκίνησα

Στ' αληθινά στα ψεύτικα
το λέω και τ'ομολογώ
σαν να μουν άλλος κι όχι εγώ
μες στη ζωή πορεύτηκα

Όσο κι αν κανείς προσέχει
όσο κι αν τα κυνηγά
πάντα πάντα θα ναι αργά
δεύτερη ζωή δεν έχει

... and I need to apologize, because I don't translate poetry, and I usually only translate into Greek, so this isn't the best possible translation for my favorite poet, but I really wanted to share it with you!

[Edited at 2008-01-26 16:01]

[Edited at 2008-01-26 16:07]

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