the beaten earth

English translation: the sentence is fine. You could say "trampled earth" however

06:16 Apr 28, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / children's literature
English term or phrase: the beaten earth
And he spurred his horse forward.
Its hooves churning up the ground, Firebolt tore out the poppies, roots and all, leaving only the beaten earth behind.

The context:
The rider rides through a dangerous poppy field, urging on his horse to leave it behind as soon as possible. As it gallops across the field, Firebolt (the horse) crushes the dangerous poppies.

Dear netive English speakers!
Please advise if it's OK to use 'beaten' here or if I should better use another word. Is the whole sentence quite comprehensible? This is my translation from Russian.
I'd appreciate any suggestions.
Andrew Vdovin
Local time: 14:06
English translation:the sentence is fine. You could say "trampled earth" however
Explanation:
it might be a little more explicit

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-04-28 09:11:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

what is wrong with EARTH?
You could say \"soil\" but \"earth\" is fine so why change it?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-04-28 10:33:07 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

they are messing about unnecessarily with your sentence. I though it was quite understandable and would keep \'its\' for the horse, if only to avoid confusion with the other possessives.
Selected response from:

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 09:06
Grading comment
Thank you for your help! Thanks everybody!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +6the sentence is fine. You could say "trampled earth" however
xxxCMJ_Trans
4 +3See comment below... [not for grading)
Tony M
4 +2trampled soil
xxx00000000
4 +2As he spurred his horse forward, Firebolt's hooves churned up the ground,
Refugio
4 +1in a time sense beaten is incorrect
Balasubramaniam L.
4leaving only a mess of loosened earth behind
xxxsergey


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
the sentence is fine. You could say "trampled earth" however


Explanation:
it might be a little more explicit

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-04-28 09:11:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

what is wrong with EARTH?
You could say \"soil\" but \"earth\" is fine so why change it?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-04-28 10:33:07 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

they are messing about unnecessarily with your sentence. I though it was quite understandable and would keep \'its\' for the horse, if only to avoid confusion with the other possessives.

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 09:06
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 52
Grading comment
Thank you for your help! Thanks everybody!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Stephania Heine: seems clear enough ;)
14 mins

agree  Robert Donahue: His hooves churning up the ground, Firebolt tore out the poppies, roots and all, leaving only trampled earth behind.
4 hrs

agree  Lawyer-Linguist: trampled earth works perfectly
5 hrs

neutral  xxxsergey: torn out poppies and 'trampled' (down) poppies (on the trampled earth) don't make sense
8 hrs

agree  Pawel Gromek
1 day 15 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
2 days 5 hrs

agree  jennifer newsome
2 days 9 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

29 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
trampled soil


Explanation:
Another possibility:

leaving only trampled soil behind

xxx00000000
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Oh yes, that's much better, to get rid of 'earth' and use 'soil' instead
17 mins

agree  xxxBritta Anion
2 hrs

neutral  xxxsergey: torn out poppies and 'trampled' (down) poppies (on the trampled earth) don't make sense
7 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
See comment below... [not for grading)


Explanation:
Personally, I would avoid 'beaten', but like CMJ's suggestion of 'trampled'

'Beaten earth' really means that deliberatly hard-beaten earth floor once common in peasant cottages and barns, so well beaten over the years that it has become hard; not a bit like the earth of this field that has been 'churned up' (there's another word for you!) by the horse's hooves and has had the poppies ripped out of it.

I think the image of 'beaten' is all wrong; the 'beaten track' is a solid path, well-worn and easy to walk on, not at all the sort of disaster area that your poppy field is after the galloping horse's passage...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 25 mins (2005-04-28 07:42:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Armorel has raised an interesting point there, about the \'its\' vs \'his\' or \'her\'; as I see it, the problem stems from the fact that the posessive pronoun is too prominent at the start of the second sentence like this, making changing it a nightmare. If we decide Firebolt is a stallion, then the \'His\' would sound uncomfortable following so closely on the \'his\' of the rider; on the other hand, is she is a mare, it\'s drawing unnecessary attention to the fact by putting it up front like that (oh dear, does it sound as if I\'m being sexist there?). The simple fact is, the pronoun is just to prominent where it is, and I would suggest re-phrasing slightly to avoid it. Maybe something like this:

As he spurred his horse forward, Firebolt\'s hooves churned up the ground, ripping out the poppies by their roots, leaving only trampled earth in his wake.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 28 mins (2005-04-28 07:45:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oh, horror! \'possessive\', of course! :-((

And \'too prominent\' as well!!! I\'m going from bad to worse... put it down to tiredness.

Actually, on reflection, in my re-phrased version, I\'d prefer \"As he spurred THE horse forward...\"

Tony M
France
Local time: 09:06
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 256

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  danya
15 mins
  -> Thanks, Danya! Entirely agree with you comment above, too.

agree  Armorel Young: I agree (and actually I prefer earth to soil). And, on a wider note, I'm not too keen on "its" - a horse is usually referred to as either he or she, especially where it has a personal name.
49 mins
  -> Thanks a lot, Armorel! I'm undecided earth/soil, and that personal pronoun is a thorny one...

agree  Refugio: Oops, hadn't seen your second revision.
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ruth! Well, at least it looks as though we're thinking along the same sort of lines :-)

neutral  xxxsergey: aren't they heaps of loosened earth mixed with torn out poppies? trampled (down) poppies would look different. ADDED: yes, but would you want to read a NOVEL with nonsensical imagery? i wouldn't. torn out poppies are torn out, trampled poppies are trample
8 hrs
  -> Thanks, Sergey! This isn't a gardening manual, so I think the imagery is sufficiently clear, if not 100% comprehensive :-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
As he spurred his horse forward, Firebolt's hooves churned up the ground,


Explanation:
tearing out the poppies roots and all and leaving only the trampled earth behind.

(I agree that 'its' doesn't work for a horse with a name.)

Refugio
Local time: 00:06
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 120

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: A neater take than my own, I think.
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Dusty, but pretty close, and yours came first

neutral  xxxsergey: aren't they heaps of loosened earth (churned up) mixed with torn out poppies? and only that was left behind? trampled (down) poppies would look different, they would look flattened (not torn out) on the trampled earth
2 hrs
  -> You are trying to second-guess the author, it seems. Trampled does not mean flattened.

agree  jennifer newsome
2 days 3 hrs
  -> Thanks, TC
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 days 5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
in a time sense beaten is incorrect


Explanation:
Here the context indicates instantaneous change. A horse passes by at a great gallop and leaves in its wake soil loosened up by its great hooves.

Whereas beaten happens over a time, it is a gradual process. Frequent passage of wagons on the track can turn it into a hardened surface. Here you can use the term beaten.

I would redo your translation in this way:
And he spurred Firebolt, his horse, forward. Its hooves churned up the ground, tearing out the poppies, roots and all, leaving only the loosened earth behind.

Balasubramaniam L.
India
Local time: 12:36
Native speaker of: Hindi
PRO pts in category: 32

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxsergey: yes, and mounds of it. it was, truly, an exceptional horse, which you come across only in a fairy-tale, which is the case here. Andrey has been translating this book for ages now.
4 hrs

neutral  Tony M: I agree entirely with your fundamental opening point; but I do feel you suggested re-ording ends weakly with 'loosened' --- 'trampled(, for example, seems to me like a much more energetic verb to use....
1 day 16 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
leaving only a mess of loosened earth behind


Explanation:
... The ground surrounding the outside of the violated crypt was a mess of loosened
earth and hardened, blood-soaked clods of mud, stamped by footprints, ...
www.casualvillain.com/ words/ThePoetryInBlood/blood3.html

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs 39 mins (2005-04-28 13:55:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I suspect in Russian it\'s \'vzbeataya kopytami zemlya\' where\'s \'vzbeataya\' - shaked up, fluffed up, beaten up, whisked etc, and if it\'s about the earth then it becomes - piles or mounds of loosened earth.
when the earth is trampled it looks different.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs 49 mins (2005-04-28 15:06:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

trample sb/smth down or on/over - the force is directed downwards

when the earth is churned up (by the horse\'s hooves), poppies torn out - everything becomes loosened and thrown into piles in my opinion - the force is directed upwards.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 days 10 hrs 6 mins (2005-05-01 16:23:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

to Ruth:
well, use your imagination. it\'s from a children\'s book.
if the horse managed to tore out poppies roots and all with such maddening precision, then creating mounds of loosened earth would be a piece of cake for such an exceptional animal :-)

xxxsergey
Local time: 08:06
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Refugio: Mess would be a rather weak word here, and as for mounds...well, mounds are larger than just kicked-up (thrown-up) earth.
3 hrs
  -> mounds of loosened earth?

neutral  Tony M: We don't need to be pedantic here --- a horse thundering across a field is going to leave dirty great holes, everything trampled, and not a mound in sight... 'churned' and 'trampled' are the key words here IMO
6 hrs
  -> yes, i agree that one should never underestimate a horse on a poppy field, but still torn out poppies are torn out, and trampled ones are bloody trampled IMO.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.

KudoZ™ translation help

The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.


See also:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search