English translation: was trying to talk sense into (...) by knocking his teeth in
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10:25 Nov 28, 2013
Russian to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
Russian term or phrase:увещевать по зубам
This is from Gogol's Нос
... в ту же почти минуту Ковалев слышал уже голос его на улице, где он увещевал по зубам одного глупого мужика, наехавшего с своею телегою как раз на бульвар.
Thank you for your help. I'll not use your exact words but words to that effect, trying to express both a verbal reprimand ( after all Kovalyov hears his voice) together with a punch in the teeth. A tricky combination but then Gogol is a huge challenge for the translator! 4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
as long as you replicate this in English, you are spot-on. It’s quite possible, if not easy to make up a sentence like that. Say : “could hear him pontificating on the guilt of the poor peasant, who had the misfortune to drive his cart up the sidewalk, supporting his arguments with a certain measure of punches in the jaw.” Or: “could hear him growl through his teeth, while using long/highbrow words to express his anger to the poor peasant who had the bad luck…” You got the idea
Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to come up with an alternative translation if you think the ones available are not that good. Although I think Ronald Wilks did his best and what came out is quite acceptable. Short and powerful.
this exact word combination, but also similar ones are used in speech and even in writing. Some examples: “Если будем едины мы, то сможем их увещевать по наводке полиции, так как живем и работаем рядом с ними. ‘http://vol1oleg.livejournal.com/1693840.html?thread=9090192 - No light humor or sarcasm here ever intended.
“Такого же, который живет по своей воле, ради покоя телесного, а не ради душевной пользы, надлежит увещевать по временам, ради Хотящаго всем… Christian Orthodox text http://www.pagez.ru/lsn/vi/588.php
The problem, the incongruity of this phrase is in the following: Микширование контекстов (в том числе, сочетание слов из разных семантических зон, например - гоголевское "увещевать по зубам", где "увещевать=уговаривать" - высокое, книжное, мягкое, а "по зубам" - просторечное, грубое, агрессивное). http://www.litportal.ru/forum/8/topic17098.html
Thanks for this interesting comment, and I'm not really praising those translators, only pointing out that there are probably half a dozen published attempts in existence. And we don't know why the asker wants an English translation - just to quote it, or because she thinks all existing translations are bad and seeks a new one? Anyway, I also didn't mean to imply that "увещевать по зубам" was a Russian idiom, only that English translators had themselves used idioms and other tricks to try to capture this. Not too successfully, I agree. In fact, at least one often republished translation (maybe Constance Garnett's?) of "Нос" evidently SKIPPED THIS PARAGRAPH altogether! The way you characterize the turn of phrase seems very typical of Gogol's prose, don't you think? He'll appear to be describing something quite ordinary, but it will come across as startling or grotesque in some way. The story "Невский проспект" is like that, and of course "Нос" itself. I think people who try to translate Gogol are very brave.
@Rachel: the approach is sound) but neither version even tries to convey the source. увещевать по зубам is not a ready idiom, it's a blend made by Gogol. увещевать can usually take a direct object like увещевать кого-то, but another object, let alone indirect, is unexpected and creates a humourous/ironic effect.
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5 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +6
was trying to talk sense into (...) by knocking his teeth in
Explanation: I'm sure there are lots of ways to say the above in more natural English, but that's what it is basically about ))
-------------------------------------------------- Note added at 9 mins (2013-11-28 10:35:34 GMT) --------------------------------------------------
... and (...) might be replaced with either 'some silly/mindless/stupid peasant' or even with 'some dumb muzhik'... it depends, I guess.
Alexandra Schneeuhr Cyprus Local time: 02:43 Specializes in field Native speaker of: Russian PRO pts in category: 22 5 corroborated select projects in this pair and field
Thank you for your help. I'll not use your exact words but words to that effect, trying to express both a verbal reprimand ( after all Kovalyov hears his voice) together with a punch in the teeth. A tricky combination but then Gogol is a huge challenge for the translator!