KudoZ home » Spanish to English » Poetry & Literature

pozos de ventilación

English translation: air shafts

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.
10:34 Nov 18, 2006
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
Spanish term or phrase: pozos de ventilación
This is from "La Biblioteca de Babel" by Jorges Luis Borges
"El universo (que otros llaman la Biblioteca) se componte de un número indefinido, y tal vez infinito, de galerías hexagonales, con vastos pozos de ventilación en el medio, cercados por barandas bajísimas."
The standard translation by James E Irby translates it as an "air shaft". I translate from Italian to English and I have a piece of art criticism where the author quotes from an Italian translation of this piece from Borges. This author then takes the word "pozzo" in Italian which is used much more for a well in Italian rather than for a shaft. The author talks in Italian of a "pozzo di luce" which is a flood of light in Italian and not a "shaft of light". Anyway I'm having problems, can anybody elucidate the Spanish for me please?
James (Jim) Davis
Seychelles
Local time: 11:21
English translation:air shafts
Explanation:
I'm fairly certain the shafts/wells in question are indeed vertical. The story continues, "desde cualquier hexágono, se ven los pisos inferiores y superiores..." I presume the airshafts connect higher and lower floors. This justifies the word "pozo" in Spanish, but an air well simply doesn't sound natural in English.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-11-18 12:04:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

On second thought, I think "ventilation shaft" is also a good translation, and maybe more closely approximates the tone of the story.
Selected response from:

Lisa Camastro
Local time: 09:21
Grading comment
Your answer was most helpful thanks.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +1ventilation shaft
Barbara Cochran, MFA
4air shafts
Lisa Camastro
4air wells
Carol Gullidge
4air shafts
Margarita Ezquerra (Smart Translators, S.L.)


  

Answers


14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
air shafts


Explanation:
Suerte

Margarita Ezquerra (Smart Translators, S.L.)
Spain
Local time: 09:21
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 84
Notes to answerer
Asker: "air shafts" would suggest that they were for something other than ventilation. "suerte" I' m an Italian-English translator.

Asker: Thanks

Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
air wells


Explanation:
This could do as well, although I see nothing wrong with air shafts, which are perhaps smaller than air wells. This also has sonic connotations with stair wells. Air wells is slightly unusual, but acceptable in a literary text, which is in itself out of the ordinary. Definitely not "floods of air" or "air floods"!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-11-18 11:37:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

If they're horizontal (new info), then how about air tunnels, or even corridors - an unlikely possibility - but then it's all pretty unlikely!

Carol Gullidge
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 311
Notes to answerer
Asker: Part of my problem is that this writer spends some pages comparing this short story with a work of art, a video projection and hooks onto "pozos" or in Italian "pozzi". Now a ventilation shaft is can be vertical but I see them in this story as horizontal. Now a well is something which as my author says more than once goes down and down and down. But then again, why not "ventilation shafts" ? The Italian translation my author cites for "pozos de ventilacion" is "pozzo di ventilazione", which in English becomes a "ventilation well". A "ventilation shaft" would be a "condotto di ventilazione". There is a bad translation somewhere.

Asker: Thanks

Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
air shafts


Explanation:
I'm fairly certain the shafts/wells in question are indeed vertical. The story continues, "desde cualquier hexágono, se ven los pisos inferiores y superiores..." I presume the airshafts connect higher and lower floors. This justifies the word "pozo" in Spanish, but an air well simply doesn't sound natural in English.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-11-18 12:04:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

On second thought, I think "ventilation shaft" is also a good translation, and maybe more closely approximates the tone of the story.

Lisa Camastro
Local time: 09:21
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Your answer was most helpful thanks.
Notes to answerer
Asker: Yes Lisa These pozos (I don't know Spanish but it would seem very similar to pozzi in Italian) are definitely vertical looking more carefully: "Once I am dead, there will be no lack of pious hands to throw me over the railing; my grave will be the fathomless air; my body will sink endlessly and decay and dissolve in the wind generated by the fall, which is infinite." This is much more like a deep and wide well than a shaft. The shaft of an arrow comes to mind which is a different concept. My author is definitely thinking of a deep well rather than a narrow shaft. Thanks for the help.

Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
ventilation shaft


Explanation:
In Harper Collins Unabridged Spanish/English Dictionary, pozo de ventilacion=ventilation shaft.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 hrs (2006-11-19 03:55:49 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I mean "shafts."

Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 03:21
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 51

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  nedra
10 hrs
  -> Gracias, Nedra!
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