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paragraph translation

English translation: blade = guillotine, but you've left bits out.

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13:44 Mar 6, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
English term or phrase: paragraph translation
He drops a pebble and listens. A second, less a second,before it strikes the water. God's grace is swift, but might not the great blade of tempered steel, being heavier than a pebble and being greased with tallow, be swifter? How will dash so busily hither and thither across the kingkom, from one spectacle of death to another(clubbing, beheadeds), sending in report after report?

I'm translating J.M.Coetzee's Nobel Lecture from English to Chinese.Tell me how to understand the sentence aboved mentioned. Thanks.
macky
Local time: 15:02
English translation:blade = guillotine, but you've left bits out.
Explanation:
1) The first "He" in fact replaces a much longer first part of the first sentence.
2) "How will dash..." should read "How will we ever escape it? And what species of man can it be who will dash...".
3) The steel blade is that of the "engine from Halifax", mentioned in the missing first part of the first sentence. This 'engine' was a guillotine used for execution. The writer compares the time a pebble takes to drop from the harbour wall (also mentioned in the missing first part of the first sentence) into the water with the time taken for the guillotine blade to drop.
4) Note that a phrase you chose to leave out actually provides two important clues to the meaning!
Selected response from:

David Sirett
Local time: 09:02
Grading comment
2 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +5blade = guillotine, but you've left bits out.David Sirett
4see comments below
Hacene
2 +1at first glance
Jonathan MacKerron


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
see comments below


Explanation:
firstly, the second sentence adjunct should read less THAN a second.
The man is reflecting by the side of a well probably (first 2 sentences). He then goes on thinking about war. His thoughts follow this pattern: God imparts justice swiftly, but what about the sword? he is using the pebble an a parabole for the drop of the sword on the neck (execution?) The last sentence of the paragraph is referring to the work of the sword applying justice (through act of war?) where each time an execution has taken place, a report is sent to the king.
Overall, it seems that this man is a knight whose mission is to go throughout the kingdom and impart justice on behalf of the king and wonder if God would not be more appropriate than the sword. As a soldier, he is having an existential crisis.
It might be helpful if you were to add some generic context.

Hacene
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:02
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  chica nueva: an a parabole? as a parable?
8 hrs
  -> well spotted
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
at first glance


Explanation:
"One second, then less than one second just before the pebble hits the water. God acts very quickly. But - because it is heavier - wouldn't a greased blade of steel be even faster than a pebbel? He will quickly go from one deadly combat to another (hitting people with a big stick and chopping their heads off), all the while duely sending in his many reports?"

Jonathan MacKerron
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
46 mins
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42 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
blade = guillotine, but you've left bits out.


Explanation:
1) The first "He" in fact replaces a much longer first part of the first sentence.
2) "How will dash..." should read "How will we ever escape it? And what species of man can it be who will dash...".
3) The steel blade is that of the "engine from Halifax", mentioned in the missing first part of the first sentence. This 'engine' was a guillotine used for execution. The writer compares the time a pebble takes to drop from the harbour wall (also mentioned in the missing first part of the first sentence) into the water with the time taken for the guillotine blade to drop.
4) Note that a phrase you chose to leave out actually provides two important clues to the meaning!



    Reference: http://www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/2003/coetzee-lectur...
David Sirett
Local time: 09:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 2

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nancy Arrowsmith
22 mins

agree  R. A. Stegemann: Bravo! Well done.
1 hr

agree  Refugio
2 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
14 hrs

agree  Jörgen Slet
1 day17 hrs
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