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Translation of 2 arias from old English into German+French of the time. Do you think it's possible?
Thread poster: Yolande Haneder
Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:23
German to French
+ ...
Jan 30, 2007

I just got a request for a translation of 2 arias from old English into respectively German and French of the 18th (!!!!) century.
Not enough that it is sung, it must rhyme but to translate in the language of more than 230 years ago.
How much I would like to help the person, I gave up.
Do you think such proficiency as possible?


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:23
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Possible - by a specialist Jan 30, 2007

Yes, I think it is possible to translate arias into another language and in the style of a past age, but it should be done by someone with specialised knowledge both of the languages concerned and of the literature and style of the period - the 18th century in this case.
After all, most opera librettos (libretti?) have been translated, and in some opera houses the translation is simultaneously flashed above the stage in a kind of LCD - to the disgust of some opera fans and, possibly, the delight of others.
So if you are not very familiar with 18th century French and German literature and culture, I don't think you can be expected to do this job.
Best wishes, Jenny.


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:23
Finnish to English
Wouldn't worry too much Jan 30, 2007

The English translations of libretti are often terrible anyway. Thgis sector is not known for its linguistic brilliance.

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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:23
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Yes, it is possible, but you'll have to make compromises Jan 30, 2007

I think that this is possible, but you'll have to make compromises. A good composer makes text and music fit together, for the translator, the music is fixed, so he'll have to adapt the lyrics to it. This brings me to my main point:

Jenny Forbes wrote:

but it should be done by someone with specialised knowledge both of the languages concerned and of the literature and style of the period


Deep knowledge of and proficiency in music is absolutely necessary for a task like this.

Regards,
Erik


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:23
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, it seem possible Jan 30, 2007

I am happy to see that at least 10 translators seem to be able to do it (it has been sent as a potential job).

I would not have trusted myself to do it.


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Deschant
Local time: 07:23
Yes Jan 30, 2007

I have seen texts written nowadays in 16th or 17th Spanish just for fun, so yes, I would say it's possible. The best bet would be philologists specialized in the language/literature of the period, or even musicologists specialized in vocal music of that time. I have done myself a couple of jobs with Latin as the source language (yes my principle is "translate into your native language only" but at least I wasn't stealing this job from someone else!).

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