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    Hey, I was wondering if any of you kind people could possibly help with this piece of translation. I can understand perfectly well what is being described, am just having a lil trouble getting it to make sense in english.

    Heure H moins vingt secondes. Dans le PC GOEN, tous les regards sont fixés sur les écrans de télévision où les bleus carte postale du lagon jouent avec la turquoise des hauts fonds coralliens. J’y écris une légende imaginaire “Bons baisers de Muroroa” avec l’appréhension du néophyte de voir s’ouvrir en deux le lagon sous l’impact du tir nucléaire imminent.

    GOEN = Groupement opérationnel d’expérimentation nucléaire. PC = militaire, c’est de la que part l’ordre de tir.

    So far I have something along the lines of: D-day minus 20 seconds. In the PC GOEN, all eyes are fixed on the television screens where the postcard blue lagoon...with the turquoise of the shallows. There, I write an imaginary fairytale "with love from Mururoa", with the apprehension of a novice seeing the lagoon open up under the impact of imminent nuclear fire.

    Any help much appreciated... thanks

    and by the way if anyone is really into translation there's an additional paragraph to do!!
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    (Original post by Skyblue Pink)
    Hey, I was wondering if any of you kind people could possibly help with this piece of translation. I can understand perfectly well what is being described, am just having a lil trouble getting it to make sense in english.

    Heure H moins vingt secondes. Dans le PC GOEN, tous les regards sont fixés sur les écrans de télévision où les bleus carte postale du lagon jouent avec la turquoise des hauts fonds coralliens. J’y écris une légende imaginaire “Bons baisers de Muroroa” avec l’appréhension du néophyte de voir s’ouvrir en deux le lagon sous l’impact du tir nucléaire imminent.

    GOEN = Groupement opérationnel d’expérimentation nucléaire. PC = militaire, c’est de la que part l’ordre de tir.

    So far I have something along the lines of: D-day minus 20 seconds. In the PC GOEN, all eyes are fixed on the television screens where the postcard blue lagoon...with the turquoise of the shallows. There, I write an imaginary fairytale "with love from Mururoa", with the apprehension of a novice seeing the lagoon open up under the impact of imminent nuclear fire.

    Any help much appreciated... thanks

    and by the way if anyone is really into translation there's an additional paragraph to do!!
    "Zero hour minus 20 seconds. In the control bunker, all eyes are fixed on the television screens, where the blue of the lagoon flickers against the turquoise of the deep coral reefs, as if on a holiday postcard. In my imagination, I write "With Love from Mururoa" on the card, as I fix my untrained eyes apprehensively on the waters of the lagoon which are about to split in two under the impact of the impending nuclear blast..."

    I wonder what this is for? I hope I'm not doing your coursework!

    Aitch
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    (Original post by Aitch)
    "Zero hour minus 20 seconds. In the control bunker, all eyes are fixed on the television screens, where the blue of the lagoon flickers against the turquoise of the deep coral reefs, as if on a holiday postcard. In my imagination, I write "With Love from Mururoa" on the card, as I fix my untrained eyes apprehensively on the waters of the lagoon which are about to split in two under the impact of the impending nuclear blast..."

    I wonder what this is for? I hope I'm not doing your coursework!

    Aitch
    hey, thanks a lot. No, it's not coursework just translation practice for next year's paper - I'm in AS at the moment- I normally manage fine, but that piece of text was quite descriptive and idiomatic, not like the factual stuff I'm used to translating. Thanks again though!!!
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    (Original post by Skyblue Pink)
    hey, thanks a lot. No, it's not coursework just translation practice for next year's paper - I'm in AS at the moment- I normally manage fine, but that piece of text was quite descriptive and idiomatic, not like the factual stuff I'm used to translating. Thanks again though!!!
    No problem! I really enjoy translation. It's an oddly acquired skill which always involves trade-offs between fact and style, but which can be hugely enjoyable...

    Aitch
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    (Original post by Aitch)
    No problem! I really enjoy translation. It's an oddly acquired skill which always involves trade-offs between fact and style, but which can be hugely enjoyable...

    Aitch
    If there's more, do your version and post it, and then I'll do a version for you to compare.

    [Other prospective candidates for interpreting/translating work might enjoy the workout too!]

    Back tomorrow.

    Aitch
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    I thought the last line sounded more like he was worried about seeing it rather than that it was definitely about to happen. Is that me reading the French wrong or is your translation partly the result of the context? I bow to your superior knowledge - I'm just interested!
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    (Original post by Dizzykiki)
    I thought the last line sounded more like he was worried about seeing it rather than that it was definitely about to happen. Is that me reading the French wrong or is your translation partly the result of the context? I bow to your superior knowledge - I'm just interested!
    I read

    "J’y écris une légende imaginaire “Bons baisers de Muroroa” avec l’appréhension du néophyte de voir s’ouvrir en deux le lagon sous l’impact du tir nucléaire imminent."

    as (because of the imminent and the néophyte) the narrator knowing what is about to happen, but never having seen it personally before, so being apprehensive about it. I think we must assume, (as you say, from the context) that he knows what is about to happen...

    ...but this is, I concede, an opinion!

    Aitch
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    Indeed translation is personal... I wonder why there's so much confusion over the bible?:P
    Yes, i would say that he is "apprehensive about the impending" explosion. but both would be correct, as it's the nuance that's important, not the word for word translation. in my opinion.
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    (Original post by Goldenratio)
    Indeed translation is personal... I wonder why there's so much confusion over the bible?:P
    Yes, i would say that he is "apprehensive about the impending" explosion. but both would be correct, as it's the nuance that's important, not the word for word translation. in my opinion.
    I agree. There are always priorities in translation work, one of which has to be to produce a correct piece of English, if translating into English. A surprising number of translators lose sight of this!

    In this piece, you can make a good case for the second priority being to convey correctly to the reader the state of mind of the writer, even at the expense of a literally accurate translation. Much depends, of course, on whether you're translating for an examiner, or (say) for a reader who has not seen, and will not see, the original French.

    Aitch
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    Ok, here's the next section for all those wishing to help!

    A 4 heures du matin, le chant des sirènes avait jailli des cocotiers vers un ciel doux et étoilé, sortant de leur lit les trois mille hommes et trente femmes vivant sur l’atoll. Dans la nuit, les haut-parleurs hurlaient en tahitien et en français des consignes de sécurité. Pas question d’échapper à l’appel : si une seule personne n’est pas comptabilisée, le tir est annulé. Il peut l’être jusqu'à une seconde de l’heure H, bien que la dernière demi-heure du compte à rebours soit automatisée. A la deuxième sirène, l’eau coupée m’avait obligé à avaler mon dentifrice; tous les personnels étaient déjà à leurs postes de travail ou rassemblés sous les plateformes de sécurité en « zone vie » où sont regroupés les habitations et le PC GOEN. Échelonnées sur tout l’atoll ces plateformes surélevées permettent d’échapper à une éventuelle lame de fond.

    and my inaccurate and far too literal translation.....

    At 4 o clock in the morning the sound of sirens raised the coconut palms towards a soft and starry sky, the three million men and thirty women living on the atoll rising from their beds. The loud speakers roar security orders in both tahitian and french into the night. No question of escaping from the call: if a single peson is unacounted for the test is called off. It can be called off up to one second before zero hour, although the last half hour of the countdown is automated. At the second siren the water was cut off causing me to swallow my toothpaste; all the staff were already at their work stations or grouped on top of security platforms in the "live zone" where the residents are grouped with the military personnel. Spread out accross the coral island, these heightened platforms allow one to escape from a possible tidal wave.

    I know this is by no means perfect- but I agree, there is something enjoyable about being able to comprehend another language but also convey this information in a way that makes sense when reading the text as a whole, as opposed to a collection of individual words.

    Thanks in advance
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    (Original post by Skyblue Pink)
    Ok, here's the next section for all those wishing to help!

    A 4 heures du matin, le chant des sirènes avait jailli des cocotiers vers un ciel doux et étoilé, sortant de leur lit les trois mille hommes et trente femmes vivant sur l’atoll. Dans la nuit, les haut-parleurs hurlaient en tahitien et en français des consignes de sécurité. Pas question d’échapper à l’appel : si une seule personne n’est pas comptabilisée, le tir est annulé. Il peut l’être jusqu'à une seconde de l’heure H, bien que la dernière demi-heure du compte à rebours soit automatisée. A la deuxième sirène, l’eau coupée m’avait obligé à avaler mon dentifrice; tous les personnels étaient déjà à leurs postes de travail ou rassemblés sous les plateformes de sécurité en « zone vie » où sont regroupés les habitations et le PC GOEN. Échelonnées sur tout l’atoll ces plateformes surélevées permettent d’échapper à une éventuelle lame de fond.

    and my inaccurate and far too literal translation.....

    At 4 o clock in the morning the sound of sirens raised the coconut palms towards a soft and starry sky, the three million men and thirty women living on the atoll rising from their beds. The loud speakers roar security orders in both tahitian and french into the night. No question of escaping from the call: if a single peson is unacounted for the test is called off. It can be called off up to one second before zero hour, although the last half hour of the countdown is automated. At the second siren the water was cut off causing me to swallow my toothpaste; all the staff were already at their work stations or grouped on top of security platforms in the "live zone" where the residents are grouped with the military personnel. Spread out accross the coral island, these heightened platforms allow one to escape from a possible tidal wave.

    I know this is by no means perfect- but I agree, there is something enjoyable about being able to comprehend another language but also convey this information in a way that makes sense when reading the text as a whole, as opposed to a collection of individual words.

    Thanks in advance
    This is pretty good! I reckon you have 4 errors in about 150 words!

    In view of this, I've used your translation as a basis for mine! I'll put in bold some renderings I'm not completely happy with, and which you might improve, together with a few comments at the end.

    At 4 o clock in the morning the call of sirens had risen from the coconut palms towards the calm and starry sky, rousing from their beds the three thousand men and thirty women who lived on the atoll. The loud speakers roared security instructions into the night in both Tahitian and French. Missing the roll-call is out of the question: if a single person is unaccounted for, the test is called off. It can be called off even one second before detonation, in spite of the fact that the last half-hour of the countdown is automated. At the second siren the water was cut off, and I had to swallow my toothpaste; all the staff were already at their work stations or gathered below the security platforms in the "live zone" which contains the living accommodation and the military command centre. These raised platforms are spaced out across the whole island, and provide a safe refuge in the event of a tidal wave.

    call? (wail is a bit of a cliché) chant is a reference to the song of the Sirens drawing the sailors of Ulysses towards them. Difficult to keep this allusion.

    rousing. Sortir is used transitively here, with a direct object, and means to take out. (J'ai sorti un livre = I've taken a book out.) Monter, descendre, and rentrer are also frequently used like this. J'ai monté(descendu) les valises (I've taken the cases up (down)...) J'ai rentré la voiture (I've put the car away...)

    is? dramatic switch to the present tense in this sentence in French. This is more a French device than an English one.

    roared? screamed?

    night? dark?

    detonation? chosen because one second before zero hour looks odd!

    Platforms? shelters? Platforms preferred since later it is clear they are raised up.

    safe refuge? Perhaps a bit of a tautology.

    Aitch
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    merci beaucoup once more! I agree with the suggestions you've made, I was actually searching for the word rousing- I realised that the verb in question was "to raise" but in french mode couldn't manipulate the english!

    Do you have a particular technique when translating? Is it better to perhaps literally translate the whole text, then re-write it in a way that makes sense, and then finally revise this to make it read well, or is it more advisable to go through the text sentence by sentence, ensuring that each one is translated as best is possible before moving on to the next?

    Obviously you probably do this all in one reading- but for a novice such as myself how would you go about it?
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    It depends as Aitch said earlier, on who the target audience is. If it is an examiner, then you need to go line by line to ensure you haven't missed out any important detail. They're looking for preciseness not just the gist.
    If it's oral translation work, then the gist is generally fine. In my opinion anyway.
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    (Original post by Goldenratio)
    It depends as Aitch said earlier, on who the target audience is. If it is an examiner, then you need to go line by line to ensure you haven't missed out any important detail. They're looking for preciseness not just the gist.
    If it's oral translation work, then the gist is generally fine. In my opinion anyway.
    I'd agree with this. In a previous post, I mentioned being clear about your priorities. Writing for an examiner, your priority is to demonstrate your comprehesion through the precision of your translation, even if it seems stilted in places.

    In a different context, accuracy is less important. A couple of examples:
    First this:

    http://www.planete-jeunesse.com/sour...?cle=553&sec=1

    Note that the last line of this résumé:

    "Vous connaissez tous le dénouement de cette belle histoire et du soulier de vair, je n'ai point besoin de vous le narrer..."

    ...mentions the soulier de vair (a fur mule, probably squirrel) - not a soulier de verre, which we know as the glass slipper. Gross mistranslation! But what the hell! It's a fairy tale!... and I, for one, find the glass slipper much more appealing than some fur mule, which has all the tacky charm of a New Orleans brothel!

    Second example. Translating poetry and songs is another world. The quality of the end product may be more important than the accuracy of the rendering. Edward Fitzgerald's first translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam may be better than the original, and is at least as famous.

    In the 1960s, Hugues Aufray recorded numerous Bob Dylan songs, translated into French. They're worth listening to, and the translation style is interesting. Here's a sample:

    Girl from the North Country - Bob Dylan

    http://bobdylan.com/songs/girlnorth.html

    Third verse:

    Please see for me if her hair hangs long,
    If it rolls and flows all down her breast.
    Please see for me if her hair hangs long,
    That's the way I remember her best.

    La Fille du Nord - Hugues Aufray - Paroles de Bob Dylan

    http://www.frmusique.ru/texts/a/aufr...illedunord.htm

    Third verse:

    A-t-elle encore ses blonds cheveux si longs,
    Qui dansaient jusqu'au creux de ses reins?
    A-t-elle encore ses blonds cheveux si longs?
    C'est ainsi que je l'aimais bien.

    Now, from the point of view of accuracy, lots of marks lost! Who says her hair is blond? What right does the translator have to her hair dancing down her back rather than flowing down her front?

    I would suggest, however that if lyricism is to be the prime criterion, then

    Qui dansaient jusqu'au creux de ses reins

    is at least as poetic as

    it rolls and flows all down her breast.

    Sometimes accuracy is very low on your priority list.

    Aitch
 
 
 
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