Opinion on sentence needed
Thread poster: katazina

katazina
Local time: 21:45
Croatian to Polish
+ ...
Jul 13, 2010

Dear All,

Could you give me an opinion about this sentence? (I'm translating a manuscript)

("Users" refers to "drug-addicted people") Users remain secretly tranqulized into a snug-bubble stupor; doped up and merry with it, keeping a soft buffer between the harsh reality of life under siege and one’s own damaged, bored, self.


 

Yvette Neisser Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
odd phrasing Jul 13, 2010

The phrase "snug-bubble stupor" sounds odd.

 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Italian to English
+ ...
Opinion Jul 13, 2010

Yvette Neisser Moreno wrote:

The phrase "snug-bubble stupor" sounds odd.


I agree and is tranquillised with one 'l' American? Sorry and don't wish to be harsh but this just isn't right.
Is this a job or a favour because you could be heading for problems if this is a job?
Good luck

Suzi


 

xxxDesdemone
Local time: 16:45
French to English
It's terrible Jul 13, 2010

Is this the sentence you've been given to translate? Machine translation?
It's just awful.

[Edited at 2010-07-13 15:41 GMT]


 

katazina
Local time: 21:45
Croatian to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A British author Jul 13, 2010

It is the source. It's a sentence from a book written by a British author (not published in the UK).

[Zmieniono 2010-07-13 17:57 GMT]


 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Striking Jul 13, 2010

I think it is quite a striking sentence, almost poetic. It is what you might find in a magazine article about drugs. It would be totally out of place in any serious article.

A good example is the phrase "snug-bubble stupor" -- a very odd combination of words, but very striking for that reason, and neatly sums up why people escape into drugs. But ungrammatical.

One word - merry - does not fit in so well. "Merry" implies that you cheerful and happy probably because you are a little drunk. We say "Merry Christmas". Perhaps "carefree" instead?

In short, I think this sentence might work well in the right context -- an article with similar quirky expressions. Even so, I think I would give a more conventional translation.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
source or target? Jul 13, 2010

Is this the orginal text that you've been given or is it your translation?

 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Italian to English
+ ...
Wrong end of stick Jul 13, 2010

Sorry, wrong end of stick yet again.............this is your ST, isn't it?
One of those weeks

Suzi


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I think it's absolutely fine... Jul 13, 2010

...except for one small grammatical error: it switches from "they" to "one". It should be: "their own damaged, bored selves". It's a good piece of writing.

 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Peter Jul 13, 2010

Not one for the grammatical purists (have they learned to cope with Dylan Thomas yet? icon_wink.gif ), perhaps, but creative and evocative. I rather like the irony of "merry"; a superficial feeling of well-being (like the forced jollity at Christmas).

As Peter says, it could work in the right context. It all depends on who's saying this and what for. When in the UK I used to read The Big Issue regularly. One thing I liked was the mix of serious journalism and "from the horse's mouth" accounts and creative writing by the magazine's sellers - both well written in their own way.

Reactions might have been different if it had been presented as a poem (I've seen a lot worse!):

Users
remain
secretly tranquilized
into a snug-bubble stupor
doped up
and merry with it
keeping
a soft buffer
between
the harsh reality of life under siege
and one’s own
damaged
bored
self


 

katazina
Local time: 21:45
Croatian to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dear Friends! Jul 13, 2010

Dear Friends (you are my friends now!),

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! You've helped me a lot - I didn't expect sth like this! And you've encouraged me to show you some others:

1. She smiles in her prayer along side her, impressed by her new companion’s bold dedication and immersion in devotion, aloud and touching

2. She gives thanks to God in almost every sentence, but falters, overwhelmed in her memories and breaks down into tears, easily, before gathering herself back up over the raw edge of her grief, and re-asserting herself again in front of us.

3. Grief dissolving and disorganising daily life, the mind straining to remember and forget at the same time, to bear life and keep on, and to keep resisting, in ways big and small, the violence and life-taking of occupation.








[Zmieniono 2010-07-13 20:43 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:45
English to German
+ ...
What a wonderful challenge! Jul 13, 2010

I also agree with Peter and Wordeffect - there is nothing wrong with the text. As a matter of fact, I like it a lot.

What a beautiful opportunity for a translator to put his / her true writing skills to work.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:45
German to English
less enthusiastic about source text Jul 14, 2010

Dear Katazina,
"Users remain secretly tranqulized into a snug-bubble stupor; doped up and merry with it, keeping a soft buffer between the harsh reality of life under siege and one’s own damaged, bored, self."

I agree 100% with Peter that "snug-bubble stupor" is an effective departure from expectations and is poetic.

Authors are free to do whatever they want and almost anything can be effective in particular contexts, but...

The confusing grammar effectively communicates disorientation, but mostly just seems annoying to me. The unfamiliar combination "tranquillised into" and the confusing "it" in "merry with it" are OK on their own, but they add to the confusion of the sentence as a whole. Something is missing in "harsh reality of life under siege" ("a life under siege" or perhaps "life-under-siege" to make the unfamiliar construction more easily recognizable) and "damaged, bored, self" should be either "own , damaged and bored, self" or "damaged, bored self".

As far as the other examples go, it would be a big help to make use of more options than the comma while dividing up these very complex sentences.

The sentences are interesting in isolation (Wordeffect's suggestion here is particularly interesting), but I wouldn't be willing to read more than a couple pages written like this, not to mention a whole book.

I would say that it is important to know the rules before breaking them; the positive qualities of the writing get lost in the lack of attention to grammatic banalities.

That's my opinion of the source text. I hope that you are able to work together with the author during your translation and are being paid enough to devote the necessary time to this project.

Sincerely,
Michael


 


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