Quote for the day!


(According to legend, the very first couplet in
മഞ്ജരി inspired by which കൃഷ്ണഗാഥ was written.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lost in Translation

In a previous post, I briefly hinted on ശൈലി being a component of characterizing something as pure mallu. I thought I could explore that a little bit by means of some small pieces of translation that I attempted.

I must admit up front that these are not the very best of translations, but one can always learn a thing or two from a bad example :-) At the very least, I thought it will help as an (indirect) application of the theoretical pure mallu that I have been writing about.

I should also add that I was a bit (over?) inspired by one of AR Rajarajavarma's articles that I found at puzha.com.

The first piece is from Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus. The following lines are from Scene 1 where Dr. Faustus welcomes Valdes and Cornelius and says that he is ready to learn dark magic.

Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,
And make me blest with your sage conference.
Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,
Know that your words have won me at last.

Here is how I attempted to translate this into malayalam:

വാള്‍ഡസേ, വാങ്ക കൊര്‍ണേലിയോസേ,
വാഴ്ത്തുവീനെന്നെ വിശേഷവാക്കാല്‍
വാള്‍ഡസേ, ചാരു കൊര്‍ണേലിയോസേ,
വാക്കുകള്‍ താവകമെന്നെ വെന്നു.
(Like I warned you before, not the best piece of translation)

The second one is from the short story The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. The story begins as follows:

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
And this is the translation that I came up with:
ഒരു രൂപാ എണ്പത്തേഴു പൈസാ. അത്രമാത്രം. അതില്‍ അറുപതു പൈസയും ഒറ്റയണകള്‍. നാണവും മാനവും വകവെക്കാതെ, കന്നം ചുവക്കുംവരെ കുടക്കാരനോടും കടക്കാരനോടും ഗുസ്തി പിടിച്ചു സ്വരൂപിച്ച ഒറ്റയണകള്‍ ...
പിറ്റേന്നാണു ക്രിസ്മസ്.
(I personally think this is much better than the Faustus translation, but still not definitely the best.)

The third one is from an old Hindi movie song. Here it goes:
राजा के माथे तिलक लगेगा
राणी के मांग सिन्दूर, राणी के मांग सिन्दूर...
मैं भी अपनी मन की आशा
पूरी करूंगी ज़रूर, पूरी करूंगी ज़रूर...
Which, when translated by me, becomes:
രാജാവുതാനോ തൊടുകുറി ചാര്‍ത്തി
സിന്ദൂരം ചാര്‍ത്തി റാണീ, സിന്ദൂരം ചാര്‍ത്തി റാണീ...
ഞാനുമെന്റെ അഭിലാഷങ്ങള്‍
സംപൂര്‍ണമാക്കും തോഴീ, സംപൂര്‍ണമാക്കും തോഴീ...
Now, that I have gotten the worst part of this post out we can proceed with the analysis (if you are still with me, that is).

Primarily we want to see what aspects of translations are close to pure mallu and what aspects are not.

Before I proceed with my own analysis, do you have any thoughts?

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