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The Difficulties of Translation (a Russian translator's perspective)
Thread poster: GaryG

GaryG  Identity Verified
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Apr 30, 2008

http://rbth.rg.ru/articles/2008_04_WP_07_Sketches_Russia.html

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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
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well... May 1, 2008

Probably the only phrase worthy of attention here (and it is not new, i believe):
'It always makes me happy when a book review admires the writer's skill without mentioning the translator because it means that the translator's main aim has been achieved: the writer speaks Russian through his translation.'

However, considering this phrase, we have to assume that a book review was actually about the translated piece not about the original writing (I mean what if the mentioned book review was about the writer's skill in the writer's native language and unrelated to any translation at all)


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GaryG  Identity Verified
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Credit where credit is due May 1, 2008

From time to time the Washington Post prints "op-eds" written
by foreign leaders, some of whom surely do not write English
well, or at all. Rarely does the Post mention that what we're
reading is a translation or at least something provided by one of the
writer's English-speaking press relations officials.


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
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It's a matter of traditions too May 1, 2008

Hi Gary

During my student's years in the '80s, especially at the time of the first summits between Brezhnev and Nickson, it was a rule for us students to translate (during our lessons) the speeches of Brezhnev as they were spoken, preserving the Russian structure of his heavy phrases without simplifying or omitting something. And the speeches of Nickson were translated into Russian using "easier" language, so the listeners could differentiate between what was said by a bear (for Americans) and a cowboy (for Russians) . That was just a training. May be what the Post publishes seemingly without editing, is pursuing the same objective to create to the readers additional sign of where an idea or an opinion is from. Quite reasonable approach.


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
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another inaccuracy May 1, 2008

Another inaccuracy (or distortion) in that article:

...For 70 years the Bible was not only banned, it simply did not exist.

Well, this is simply not true. There were churches and monasteries under the USSR all right; they did not study Bible at schools and there were no Sunday schools in the churches; and if you were in the Communist party you were not supposed to go to the church - this is true, but the Bible was not banned (you could not buy it in the bookstore, true, and it was very difficult for religious organizations to bring the loads of Bibles from abroad) and it definitely existed.


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
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it did not exist... May 1, 2008

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:
Another inaccuracy (or distortion) in that article:
...For 70 years the Bible was not only banned, it simply did not exist.
Well, this is simply not true.


...as part of everyday life, so to say, or part of culture. That's how I understand the author's statement. (Though it was not banned, indeed -- just strongly discouraged, a little short of being banned.)

In this sense, the Materials of the XXV Congress of CPSU or L.I.Brezhnev's trilogy do not exist for today's schoolchildren -- though they are not banned, of course.


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GaryG  Identity Verified
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Party papers May 1, 2008

> the Materials of the XXV Congress of CPSU or L.I.Brezhnev's trilogy do not exist for today's schoolchildren -- though they are not banned, of course.

Roman, I actually used to have these publications. I do have the Stenographic
Report of the XIX Party Conference, if you'd like to borrow it


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
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Oh, that one... May 1, 2008

GaryG wrote:
Roman, I actually used to have these publications. I do have the Stenographic
Report of the XIX Party Conference, if you'd like to borrow it


I remember listening to it (to Gorbachov's 5-hours-long speech) on the radio when I was a first-year student... No, thank you, but thank you, anyway.


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
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what i think May 2, 2008

Well the Bible existed as well as religious studies -
I am taking it from my shelf (so you may assume there was a lot more related publications):

И. Амусин, Рукописи мертвого моря, изд-во АН СССР, Москва 1960.
....(это о кумранских рукописях)... Найденные рукописи проливают свет ... дают в руки ученых важное звено в цепи событий, которые привели к зарождению христианства.... Неожиданная находка кумранских рукописей... ставит множество сложных проблем, касающихся апокалиптического сектанства и возникновения раннехристианской идеологии, истории БИБЛЕЙСКОГО ТЕКСТА и д р. ... обогатилось ... изучение истории библейской и послебиблейской литературы... неожиданное богатство версий библейских произведений... отодвинуло в глубь веков древность рукописной традиции Библии.. и т.п.

Г.М. Филист, Введение христианства на Руси: предпосылки, обстоятельства, последствия. Минск, Беларусь, 1988
книга помогает.. выявить основные причины и обстоятельства введения христианства, особенности формирования русской национальной церкви... Христианство.. могло бы стать основанием для последующего развития общества...

Атеистический словарь, Политиздат 1983 - отличный ресурс по истории религии, Библии, христианству.

А.Б. Ранович, Первоисточники по истории раннего христианства. Античные критики христианства, Москва ИПЛ, 1990

Апокрифы древних христиан., Москва, Мысль, 1989 (изд-во АОН при ЦК КПСС !!). Это ПЕРЕВОДЫ АПОКРИФИЧЕСКИХ ЕВАНГЕЛИЙ.

БИБЛЕЙСКАЯ ЭНЦИКЛОПЕДИЯ, Москва, Терра, 1991

...so someone might think the Bible did not exist - then it was possible to assume and say "did not exist" but it was far from being a fact.

Roman Bulkiewicz wrote:

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:
Another inaccuracy (or distortion) in that article:
...For 70 years the Bible was not only banned, it simply did not exist.
Well, this is simply not true.


...as part of everyday life, so to say, or part of culture. That's how I understand the author's statement. (Though it was not banned, indeed -- just strongly discouraged, a little short of being banned.)

In this sense, the Materials of the XXV Congress of CPSU or L.I.Brezhnev's trilogy do not exist for today's schoolchildren -- though they are not banned, of course.


[Edited at 2008-05-02 02:04]


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Blithe
Local time: 11:51
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it was kinda banned... May 2, 2008

When the author says that the Bible was banned/did not exist, he means the original text, not numerous reviews, explanations or even quotations from the Bible. Yes, there was plenty of that stuff, sure. But if you could not buy a Bible or even bring it from abroad (it was confiscated at the customs if they found it), does not it mean that the Bible was banned? I think it does. Well, people were not thrown in jail for owning the Bible, true, so in this sense you could say it was not banned. But it looks like splitting hairs, if you ask me. It is like: sure you could own a Bible... if you could get one.

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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
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I brought a vopy of the Bible from Ethiopia May 2, 2008

In 1987 I returned home after the army service. I was not the only one carrying the Bible, but I wasnt't checked thoroughly at the customs. Those who were, if the Bible was discovered it was confiscated as "литература религиозного содержания".

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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
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Remember the times... May 2, 2008

Bad times, for spiritual life, before the spring 1985. Easter bans, when the churches were cordoned off by militia volunteers (narodna druzhina) and by the police too (and not yet crowded as it became usual later). I would draw a visible watershed of public interest to Christianity (in the Russian Far East only because I lived there, and for Russian orthodox confession only because it was the only more or less known one, to me) in the times of Jesus Christ Super Star and Master and Margherita. Russian language has changed a lot since those times. If say in 1979 one would need a half page footnote or comment to explain covertly (or as it was used to say then - scientifically )what Gilead is, now I guess a simple remark (see the Bible, Book.. verse..) will do.
And a little offtime: A Russian joke about Leonid Brezhnev looking in the mirror: Ya star (old), ya otchen' star (old), ya super star (here [super star]).

[Edited at 2008-05-02 09:42]

[Edited at 2008-05-02 10:05]

[Edited at 2008-05-02 10:13]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
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i was working at the Customs at that time May 3, 2008

The rule was - not to allow commercial amounts of religious literature being imported (especially without special permits). The religious organizations who could provide such permits (which was a rare thing but could be issued for "proven believers") should wait for months and months for their cargo to be released - and it was definitely done deliberately not by customs but by special "political" officers within the border guards. They could always find numerous reasons not to release the religious literature (including Bibles).

In fact, people could bring the Bible inside the country. But you had to prove that you, as a 'real' believer, need it exclusively for yourself, not for 'distribution' and 'religious propaganda' (and the punishment for distribution and propaganda was severe enough to be cautious and better stay away).

Actually, from time to time, - I worked there for about 4 years - some weird restrictions happened (introduced, stayed for a while, then lifted).
For instance, once the Beatles LPs were not allowed (same with Michael Jackson's) - the officers actually did not know the reasons - they were simply following orders coming from Moscow headquarters.

Then, quite often, they confiscated books - ordinary paperback - from stupefied foreigners.

The officer - who as a rule did not speak any language - took the book and then sat and turned pages (pretending to read it). Then, making a 'you may have a problem' face such officer disappeared with a book and we, customs inspectors, should explain something to the tourist or foreign worker. And we could not tell them the real reason: no books with svastika or anything related to Nazi on the cover were allowed (and many anti-Nazi novels had those swastikas and Nazi banners on the covers).

Oleg Rudavin wrote:

In 1987 I returned home after the army service. I was not the only one carrying the Bible, but I wasnt't checked thoroughly at the customs. Those who were, if the Bible was discovered it was confiscated as "литература религиозного содержания".


[Edited at 2008-05-03 04:52]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
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it depends May 3, 2008

If he is contracted by the author (I mean the agent / company who holds copyright in favor of the author) then the pay can be more (or much more) substantial than what you mentioned.

Yelena Pestereva wrote:

I wonder what this poor guy (I mean Veber) gets for his work. They paid me all in all about $400 for the only not scientific book I have translated. And recently they called me and offered $100 for the right to publish it once more. I haven't yet decided to take the money or not.


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