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que sobre esta moribunda constitución

English translation: on this obsolete/archaic/outdated constitution

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03:30 Sep 5, 2008
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Government / Politics
Spanish term or phrase: que sobre esta moribunda constitución
I'm trying to translate this part of Hugo Chávez's 1998 inaugural address, and I'm a little stuck on the phrase in the middle that says "que sobre esta moribunda Constitución."

First, here is the quote and my very uncertain attempt:

"Juro delante de Dios, juro delante de la Patria, juro delante de mi pueblo que sobre esta moribunda Constitución impulsaré las transformaciones democráticas necesarias para que la República nueva tenga una Carta Magna adecuada a los nuevos tiempos. Lo juro."

"I swear before God, before the nation, and before my people that over this moribund constitution I will push forward the democratic transformations that are necessary for the new republic to have a constitution that is suitable for the new times. I swear."

Specifically, my question is whether he was swearing by/upon the old constitution or something else. I can see how those prepositions would work because perhaps he was swearing "by" the old constitution that he would change it (but I can also see how that wording doesn't really make sense, given it would be strange to swear on a constitution that he considered obsolete). If not, what wording is appropriate for the phrase here? (Also, I have tried looking around online for an existing translation in the news, but only found a couple of partial translations that were inconsistent with each other, especially on this part).

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! :)
Rocky
English translation:on this obsolete/archaic/outdated constitution
Explanation:
I think Hugo Chavez is referring to a constitution that in his view doesn't serve it's purpose anymore and he is going to change it.

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Note added at 12 hrs (2008-09-05 16:07:48 GMT)
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Rocky, I still think that the preposition should be "on". What he is saying is that he will make changes to the old constitution. He says "....juro delante de mi pueblo que SOBRE ESTA MORIBUNDA CONSTITUCION IMPULSARE LAS TRANSFORMACIONES democráticas necesarias para que la República nueva tenga una Carta Magna adecuada a los nuevos tiempos...". That word "sobre" doesn't mean "over" it means that "on" the constitution he will make changes to transform it into something modern. That's my opinion, I hope it helps:-)

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Note added at 12 hrs (2008-09-05 16:18:59 GMT)
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You can also rephrase it to say:
BEFORE GOD, MY NATION AND MY PEOPLE I SWEAR THAT I WILL PUSH FORWARD THE NECESSARY DEMOCRATIC CHANGES TO MAKE THIS OBSOLETE/ARCHAIC/OUTDATED CONSTITUTION A MODERN MAGNA CARTA FOR THE NEW REPUBLIC.
Selected response from:

Nitza Ramos
United States
Local time: 06:57
Grading comment
Thanks to all of the people who responded, the conversation was helpful. I did end up going with "on" as Nitza and a couple others recommended. It still sounds a bit strange to me to be honest (i.e., swearing on a constitution he planned to change, but perhaps he was being satirical!). In any case, I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed replies from everyone, but Nitza got it first!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5that on this dying Constitutuion...
Ricardo Galarza
4dying/ deathly wounded constitution / in death throestrans4u
4... "in front of my people that, on this dying Constitution, I will propel the ...mikellys
3on this obsolete/archaic/outdated constitution
Nitza Ramos
Summary of reference entries provided
Adriana de Groote

Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
that on this dying Constitutuion...


Explanation:
Of course the preposition "on" fits here, Rocky. Normally, when Heads of States come to office, they have to swear ON the constitutions (or magna cartas) in place in their countries. An act that traditionally takes place in their inaugural addresses.

In this case, Chavez was taking a verbal turn to swear on a Constitution he knew he was going to change, as he actually did just a year after that.

Regards!

Ricardo Galarza
Uruguay
Local time: 07:57
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  mikellys: Does that mean you agree with my answer?
4 hrs
  -> I do agree with the use of the preposition "on" here. But asker had said he was not inclined to use it, inviting arguments one way or the other. And you didn't raise any in favor of using "on". I did. Regards!
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
on this obsolete/archaic/outdated constitution


Explanation:
I think Hugo Chavez is referring to a constitution that in his view doesn't serve it's purpose anymore and he is going to change it.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2008-09-05 16:07:48 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Rocky, I still think that the preposition should be "on". What he is saying is that he will make changes to the old constitution. He says "....juro delante de mi pueblo que SOBRE ESTA MORIBUNDA CONSTITUCION IMPULSARE LAS TRANSFORMACIONES democráticas necesarias para que la República nueva tenga una Carta Magna adecuada a los nuevos tiempos...". That word "sobre" doesn't mean "over" it means that "on" the constitution he will make changes to transform it into something modern. That's my opinion, I hope it helps:-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs (2008-09-05 16:18:59 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You can also rephrase it to say:
BEFORE GOD, MY NATION AND MY PEOPLE I SWEAR THAT I WILL PUSH FORWARD THE NECESSARY DEMOCRATIC CHANGES TO MAKE THIS OBSOLETE/ARCHAIC/OUTDATED CONSTITUTION A MODERN MAGNA CARTA FOR THE NEW REPUBLIC.

Nitza Ramos
United States
Local time: 06:57
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks to all of the people who responded, the conversation was helpful. I did end up going with "on" as Nitza and a couple others recommended. It still sounds a bit strange to me to be honest (i.e., swearing on a constitution he planned to change, but perhaps he was being satirical!). In any case, I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed replies from everyone, but Nitza got it first!
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi there Nitza and thanks for your quick reply! I was thinking of that option too, but the only problem is that I don't see how the preposition "on" would fit in the sentence. For instance, if "on" is the correct preposition here, then should it fit like this? "I swear before God, before the nation, before my people, and on this obsolete constitution that..." (please note that that seems to change the grammatical structure from the original sentence, which is what I was unsure about). If you try to replace my attempted preposition (over) with yours (on), then the wording doesn't seem to make sense: "I swear by God, before the nation, and before my people that on this obsolete constitution..." In other words, in this second option, how could he make new transformations on the old constitution, when really he was making new transformations to replace the old constitution? I'm not trying to be picky, but it's exactly this part that I'm struggling with, (i.e., how to choose the right preposition that makes sense within the context of the sentence). Yikes! Any other ideas of how your or another suggestion fits within the sentence? Thanks again for your suggestions!

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25 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
dying/ deathly wounded constitution / in death throes


Explanation:
1: pang, spasm <death throes> <throes of childbirth>
2plural : a hard or painful struggle <the throes of revolutionary social change

http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dicti...

death throes-angustia de agonización

http://www.dictionarist.com/death throes

Without a constitutional court to perform this important function, that in Mexico is attributed to the Supreme Court, we would have, in García de Enterría’s words, "…a deathly wounded Constitution, with its future linked to that of the political party in turn, that imposes in those cases, by simple factual relevance, the interpretation that in such moments convenes to its interests…".2

http://info8.juridicas.unam.mx/cont/4/arc/arc5.htm

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Note added at 21 hrs (2008-09-06 00:52:42 GMT)
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How about: I will use this deathly wounded constitution as a catapult/springboard to promote/propell/bring about the necessary democratic transformations.... (something to that effect.)

trans4u
Local time: 04:57
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 20
Notes to answerer
Asker: Hi there trans4u and thanks for your quick response. It looks like I didn't make myself clear in the original question, but I'm more concerned with translating how "sobre" works in this sentence than moribund (although I like Nitza's suggestion of obsolete for that). So, basically, how would "sobre" translate in this particular sentence?

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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
... "in front of my people that, on this dying Constitution, I will propel the ...


Explanation:
Puedes encontrar la traduccion en la pagina Page 367 del vinculo a continuacion.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZmAZcSbW-hgC&pg=PA367&lpg=P...

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Note added at 5 days (2008-09-10 04:09:01 GMT)
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.

mikellys
United States
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Ricardo Galarza: I wouldn't use "people" here, nor "propel". I agree with the rest; but asker stated he was more concerned with the prep. and added he wasn't convinced about "on". And though you chose it right in my view, you didn't mention why it is the best option here.
17 hrs
  -> If you click on the link, you'll find the complete translation. It's not my translation, it is from the book.
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Reference comments


54 mins peer agreement (net): +1
Reference

Reference information:
The crowd in Caracas's congressional hall cheered when Chavez, his right hand in the air and his left on the constitution, broke with the traditional pledge repeated by every president during 40 years of democracy.

"I swear in front of my people that over this dying constitution I will push forward the democratic transformations that are necessary so that the new republic will have an adequate Magna Carta for the times," he said.

Chavez contends Venezuela's current constitution is a product of old-style patronage politics and says a new one is needed to overhaul what he calls a corrupt political culture.

In his inaugural address, Chavez said he would sign a presidential decree setting up a referendum on whether Venezuelans want to form a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution that, he said, will "bring legitimacy to our democracy."



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Note added at 55 mins (2008-09-05 04:26:36 GMT)
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Yo dejaría "over" o "upon"

Adriana de Groote
Guatemala
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 72

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Сергей Лузан: "over/ above the casket/coffin of the Constitution" - the way it was translated into Russian.
18 mins
  -> ¡Muchas gracias y saludos!
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
PRO (3): Сергей Лузан, Adriana de Groote, mikellys


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Changes made by editors
Sep 5, 2008 - Changes made by mikellys:
LevelNon-PRO » PRO


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