KudoZ home » French to English » Art/Literary

extract from Les Châtiments by Victor Hugo

English translation: Be your own poet!

Advertisement

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.
09:50 Oct 10, 2001
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
French term or phrase: extract from Les Châtiments by Victor Hugo
In a text about fiscal solidarity and NGOs, I have to translate extracts from Les Châtiments by Victor Hugo. My deadline is fast approaching and I cannot find a translation on the web for the part I need to translate. Does anyone out there know a site where I can find a translation for the following extracts? I am tearing my hair out here!

Many thanks in advance.

Victor HUGO (1802-1885)
(Recueil : Les châtiments)

 
Ceux qui vivent, ce sont ceux qui luttent
Ceux qui vivent, ce sont ceux qui luttent ; ce sont
Ceux dont un dessein ferme emplit l'âme et le front.
Ceux qui d'un haut destin gravissent l'âpre cime.
Ceux qui marchent pensifs, épris d'un but sublime.
Ayant devant les yeux sans cesse, nuit et jour,
Ou quelque saint labeur ou quelque grand amour.
C'est le prophète saint prosterné devant l'arche,
C'est le travailleur, pâtre, ouvrier, patriarche.
Ceux dont le coeur est bon, ceux dont les jours sont pleins.
Ceux-là vivent, Seigneur ! les autres, je les plains.
Car de son vague ennui le néant les enivre,
Car le plus lourd fardeau, c'est d'exister sans vivre.
Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 11:15
English translation:Be your own poet!
Explanation:
Hugo's writings aren't copyrighted, so there is no one legitimate translation. I've looked around the Web, and am not coming up with anything, either, so I don't think you're going to be able to put your hands on a translation quickly enough.

Here is my own quick stab at translating this excerpt (I wouldn't call it an "extract" in English):

The living are those who wage battle
The living battle on, ever holding
a clear purpose in mind and spirit.
Their lofty destiny scales the jagged peak.
They march forth pondering, enraptured with sublime purpose.
Ever beholding, day and night,
Either some holy task or some great love.
The holy prophet prostrate before the ark,
The laborer, shepherd, workman, patriarch.
The good-hearted, the fulfilled.
The living, Lord! I grieve for all the others.
For they grow drunk on the void of their boredom,
And the heaviest burden is existing without living.

N.B. I've taken out all those relative clauses ("ceux qui"): poetic English uses plain old nouns and adjectives where French, in its fondness for referentiality, uses relative clauses.
Selected response from:

Yolanda Broad
United States
Local time: 05:15
Grading comment
Well, since we can't give a Légion d'honneur in ProZ, I will award the gold medal, or 4 points, to Yolanda for her incredible effort. I wasn't expecting anyone to translate this excerpt, but many thanks anyway. Thanks too for all the other information and to waynew for the second translation! I tried all the University libraries where I live (Barcelona, Spain), but they don't have a copy of an English translation. As far as I know there is only one book of Hugo's poems in English, translated by Blackmore & Blackmore and published this year by Chicago University Press. I am not even sure if this excerpt is in it.

So, I'll just have to scale the jagged peaks and translate it myself! It's a heavy burden!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +6Be your own poet!
Yolanda Broad
4 +2If you do not find a previous translation....JH Trads
4 +1...another variation...Wayne Waggoner
4 +1Need to change a line in my translation, above...
Yolanda Broad
5Yes. And if you live in a town with a good university,
athena22
4no betterpeterver
4Bravo (and merited kudos) to Ms. Broad... here's a collaborative attempt:Wayne Waggoner
4library of congressstudio


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
library of congress


Explanation:
try your local library or the library of congress, they should have a previoulsy translated English version, they may even be able to fax the page

studio
Local time: 04:15
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 28
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
If you do not find a previous translation....


Explanation:
I suggest that you give it a try, as we are lucky here, Hugo is a great poet, but he is not obscure as many others, so the text uses plain words in this wonderful text.
If you propose translations, I am sure that a lot of proz will help you perfect them and reach a good text

JH Trads
United States
Local time: 04:15
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 665

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Wayne Waggoner: Ceux qui traduisent, ce sont ceux qui luttent... contre des delais non raisonnables...
9 mins
  -> bien dit!

agree  athena22: Yes to this also
17 mins
  -> merci
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

34 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Yes. And if you live in a town with a good university,


Explanation:
they should have the complete works of Victor Hugo in translation in THEIR library. The reference librarian might well help you on the phone even. This is the kind of question that reference librarians often love!

There seems to be a complete works around with an intro. by Robert Louis Stevenson, also another from Luxembourg Press. Both of these are from around 1900. (Info came from library catalog at UC Berkeley, an excellent academic library.)

In addition, Universities with good on-line websites include UCBerkeley (http://sunsite2.berkeley.edu:8000, Cornell University

athena22
United States
Local time: 02:15
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
Be your own poet!


Explanation:
Hugo's writings aren't copyrighted, so there is no one legitimate translation. I've looked around the Web, and am not coming up with anything, either, so I don't think you're going to be able to put your hands on a translation quickly enough.

Here is my own quick stab at translating this excerpt (I wouldn't call it an "extract" in English):

The living are those who wage battle
The living battle on, ever holding
a clear purpose in mind and spirit.
Their lofty destiny scales the jagged peak.
They march forth pondering, enraptured with sublime purpose.
Ever beholding, day and night,
Either some holy task or some great love.
The holy prophet prostrate before the ark,
The laborer, shepherd, workman, patriarch.
The good-hearted, the fulfilled.
The living, Lord! I grieve for all the others.
For they grow drunk on the void of their boredom,
And the heaviest burden is existing without living.

N.B. I've taken out all those relative clauses ("ceux qui"): poetic English uses plain old nouns and adjectives where French, in its fondness for referentiality, uses relative clauses.


    WordPerfect thesaurus
Yolanda Broad
United States
Local time: 05:15
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 1551
Grading comment
Well, since we can't give a Légion d'honneur in ProZ, I will award the gold medal, or 4 points, to Yolanda for her incredible effort. I wasn't expecting anyone to translate this excerpt, but many thanks anyway. Thanks too for all the other information and to waynew for the second translation! I tried all the University libraries where I live (Barcelona, Spain), but they don't have a copy of an English translation. As far as I know there is only one book of Hugo's poems in English, translated by Blackmore & Blackmore and published this year by Chicago University Press. I am not even sure if this excerpt is in it.

So, I'll just have to scale the jagged peaks and translate it myself! It's a heavy burden!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  peterver: you deserve a medal for going through all this trouble
38 mins

agree  JH Trads: more than a medal, la Legion d'Honneur!:-))
45 mins

agree  Wayne Waggoner: Amen to the other pros opinions here above
54 mins

agree  Alexandra Hague: Wonderful
1 hr

agree  Maya Jurt: Very inspired! Congrast. Unfortunately, I am buy elsewhere.
3 hrs
  -> Thank you. Not sure what you mean by "buy" ??

agree  Anna Beria: Just like that! Brilliant!
4 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

44 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Need to change a line in my translation, above...


Explanation:
I just decided I didn't like "Ever beholding, day and night"

Make it "The eye ever fixed, day and night,"
"On some holy task or some great love."

Yolanda Broad
United States
Local time: 05:15
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 1551

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Wayne Waggoner: Please don't select my following - Ms. Broad is deserving - I'm just trying to help a little more than comments here.
53 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Bravo (and merited kudos) to Ms. Broad... here's a collaborative attempt:


Explanation:
The living are those who struggle [Title]

The living are those who struggle, ever fulfilling
a firm conviction (or "cause")in mind and spirit.
Their lofty destiny scales the jagged peak.
They walk in contemplation, enraptured with sublime purpose.
The eye ever fixed, day and night,
On some holy task or some great love.
The holy prophet prostrate before the ark,
The laborer, shepherd, workman, patriarch.
The good-hearted, those whose days are filled.
They live, Lord! I grieve for all the others.
For they grow besotted on the emptiness of spirit,
For the heaviest burden is to exist without living.


Just to give you a few variations, if useful.

Ms. Broad, you set a fine example, in more ways than one!



Wayne Waggoner
Local time: 04:15
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 32
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
...another variation...


Explanation:
Those who strive


And for, "Ceux qui d'un haut destin gravissent l'âpre cime." -

Whose higher calling drives them to scale the jagged peaks.

Wayne Waggoner
Local time: 04:15
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 32

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Yolanda Broad: I like. :-)
45 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
no better


Explanation:
sorry - but just wanted to tell you I found where this bit belongs in his work!(In case you want to call a library tomorrow)

The Castigations- Livre 4 : La religion glorifiee
There are books 1-7 + fin
so no wonder it is so hard to find anything on the net

but did find this reference, for an American translation...

Good luck- I think we all did what we could, and some much more!!!!!!(no, not talking about myself!)


    Reference: http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Books-X!Art...
peterver
Local time: 10:15
PRO pts in pair: 8
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


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:



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