Tag Archives: Translation Challenge

You can find more translations, recordings and related things in the “Media” section.

The North Wind and the Sun, Revisited

For the past few days, I have been retranslating the story by Aesop, “The North Wind and the Sun.” While translating, two things came up to consider:

  • How does Ayeri deal with gender resolution (Corbett 243–253)?
  • How does Ayeri handle “the … the …” and “as … as …” constructions? Does it have them at all, or will rephrasing be necessary when translating from e.g. English?

Regarding the latter question, there is a blog article, “Correlative Conjunctions” (2012-12-10), but it fails to account for the two combinations mentioned above.

  • Aesop. “The North Wind and the Sun.” Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Ed. International Phonetic Association. 9th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 39. Print.
  • Corbett, Greville G. Agreement. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics 52. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Print.

Translation Challenge: Fences and Gardens

Excerpt from Heidelberg Univ. Lib., Cod. Pal. germ. 164, fol. 17r (CC BY-SA)
Excerpt from Heidelberg Univ. Lib., Cod. Pal. germ. 164, fol. 17r (CC BY-SA; Source)
I am still busy collecting data for my MA thesis, but what with all the work during the day, I still needed to do something creative at night (and weekends), so I spent the last two-ish weeks working on a translation challenge I gave myself: one of the 13th century deeds I had come across during work that looked rather straightforward.

So if you’re curious about part of my current day job, want to see a first attempt at making up a sentence fragment in ‘Vaporlang’ and also look for some thorough annotation pointing out some Middle High German idioms (English translations provided and everything), you can download my translation here:

Fences and Gardens: An Ayeri Translation of a Medieval Neighborhood Dispute.

  • Demske, Ulrike. Merkmale und Relationen: Diachrone Studien zur Nominalphrase des Deutschen. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001. Print. Studia Linguistica Germanica 56.
  • Eike von Repgow. Sachsenspiegel. Heidelberg Manuscript, Cod. Pal. germ. 164. 17r. Eastern Middle Germany, 14th c. Heidelberger historische Bestände digital. Heidelberg University Library, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. ‹http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg164/0047›. CC BY-SA.
  • “N 163 (381 a).” Corpus der altdeutschen Originalurkunden bis zum Jahr 1300. Ed. Helmut de Boor et al. Vol. 5. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2004. 127. Print.

Translation Challenge: The Beginning of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”

Text in English

The text to be translated in this Translation Challenge is the initial passage of Tolstoy’s 1878 novel Anna Karenina.1 The Ayeri translation here follows the English one by Constance Garnett (1901), which can be found on Project Gutenberg.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him. This position of affairs had now lasted three days, and not only the husband and wife themselves, but all the members of their family and household, were painfully conscious of it. Every person in the house felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that the stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with one another than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not been at home for three days. The children ran wild all over the house; the English governess quarreled with the housekeeper, and wrote to a friend asking her to look out for a new situation for her; the man-cook had walked off the day before just at dinner time; the kitchen-maid, and the coachman had given warning. (Tolstoy 2013)

Ayeri translation

Translation Challenge: The Beginning of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"

Kamayon pandahajang-hen mino; minarya miraneri sitang-ton pandahāng-hen minarya.

Enyareng atauya kāryo nangaya pandahana Oblonski. Silvisaye sarisa envanang, ang manga miraya ayon yena cān-cānas layeri Kahani, seri ganvayās pandahaya ton, nay ang narisaye ayonyam yena, ang ming saylingoyye mitanyam nangaya kamo kayvo yāy. Eng manga yomāran eda-mineye luga bahisya kay, nay tong vakas ten pulengeri, sitang-tong-namoy ayonang nay envanang, nārya nasimayajang-hen pandahana nay nangānena ton naynay. Ang mayayo nyān-hen nangaya, ming tenubisoyrey, mitantong kadanya. Ang engyon vihyam miromānjas keynam si sa lancon kadanya apineri kondangaya, nasimayajas pandahana nay nangānena Oblonski. Ang saroyye envan sangalas yena, ang manga yomoyya ayon rangya ton luga bahisya kay. Sa senyon ganye nangaya-hen; ang ranye ganvaya Angli kayvo lomāyaya visam nay ang tahanye ledoyam, yam mya balangyeng pinyan yanoley gumo hiro ye; ang saraya ersaya bahisya sarisa pidimya tarika sirutayyānena; ang narisaton lomāya risang nay lantaya vapatanas ton.

More information

I also made a PDF containing interlinear glosses and commentary for this translation.2,3

  • Plank, Frans, Thomas Mayer, Tatsiana Mayorava and Elena Filimonova, eds. The Universals Archive. 1998–2009. U Konstanz, 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. ‹http://typo.uni-konstanz.de/archive/intro›.
  • Schachter, Paul. “The Subject in Philippine Languages: Topic, Actor, Actor-Topic, or None of the Above?” Subject and Topic. Ed. Charles N. Li. New York: Academic P, 1976. 493–518. Print.
  • Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Eds. David Brannan, David Widger and Andrew Sly. Trans. by Constance Garnett. Project Gutenberg. 11 Oct. 2014. Project Gutenberg, 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. ‹http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1399›.
  1. Hat tip to Steven Lytle for suggesting it.
  2. Also, please let me add that XƎTEX is pretty darn awesome.
  3. Updated with some corrections on Dec 11, 2014. See the diff on Github for changes.

Pangram (revisited)

This is in continuation of an earlier post I wrote on trying to construct a pangram in Ayeri. I just played around with my dictionary a bit again tonight and came up with the following sentence:

4248-pangram
Da-bahatang,
Da=baha-tang,
so=shout-3PL.M.A,
sa
sa
PT
akaya
aka-ya
swallow-3SG.M
para
para
quickly
vaga
vaga-Ø
pig-T
lamana.
lama-na.
restaurant-GEN

‘So they shouted that the restaurant’s pig was quickly swallowed.’

This doesn’t make too much sense, but it’s grammatical (vaga ‘pig’ might better trigger neuter agreement on the verb, but whatever – let’s assume this is a boar), uses all consonant characters available in the Ayeri alphabet as well as the virama diacritic (‘gondaya’) only once, and no other diacritics are involved. Also, I didn’t have to make up new words specifically tailored to use up remaining consonants like last time: I admit, I had to make up daga ‘turtle’ in my previous article on pangrams for this purpose.

Translation Challenge: Honey Everlasting

I came across a website called The *Bʰlog recently, a blog about Proto-Indo-European edited by a lecturer from the University of Kentucky’s linguistics department, Andrew Byrd. The *Bʰlog was started as a reaction to the success of an article on the website of the journal Archaeology, which featured sound recordings of two short texts Byrd made using a reconstruction of the Indo-European proto-language, one of the texts being Schleicher’s “The Sheep and the Horses”.

I found one of the texts presented on The *Bʰlog“Everlasting Honey” by Erica Mattingly and translated into PIE (according to what we know about it) by Byrd’s 2014 PIE class – pretty neat and thought it may well be a nice, short text to translate into Ayeri. If you’re a longterm reader of my blog, you may remember a little translation on a similar topic – a 100-word story called “The Sugar Fairies”. I recommend you also try your hands on this other fun little text if you haven’t yet. The blog article, “Composing *Médhu n̥dhgwhitóm“, at The *Bʰlog also contains another, slightly longer story by Leah Hatch that may be of interest as a translation challenge for the more advanced conlanger or if you have a bit more time. I may try translating Hatch’s text again later, too.

Here is my translation of Mattingly’s text into Ayeri:

Biling
honey
saroyo
everlasting

‘Everlasting Honey’

Sa
sa
PT
yomareng
yoma-reng
exist-3SG.INAN.A
envan
envan-Ø
wife-T
lanyana.
lanya-na
king-GEN

‘There was the wife of the king.’

Ang
ang
AT
səsarayo
sə-sara-yo
FUT-cease-3SG.N
tadoy
tadoy
never
denan
denan-Ø
fame-T
bilingena
biling-ena
honey-GEN
paso
paso
sweet
yena.
yena
3SG.F.GEN

‘The fame for her sweet honey would never cease.’

Le
le
PT.INAN
veryaya
verya-ya
smell-3SG.M
patasang
patas-ang
bear-A
biling,
biling-Ø,
honey-T,
nay
nay
and
ang
ang
AT
saraya
sara-ya-Ø
go-3SG.M-T
lepadayam
lepada-yam
taste-PTCP
nangaya
nanga-ya
house-LOC
yena.
yena
3SG.F.GEN

‘A bear smelled the honey, and he went to taste it at her house.’

Ang
ang
AT
silvaye
silva-ye
see-3SG.F
envan
envan-Ø
woman-T
patasas
patas-as
bear-P
nay
nay
and
paronayeng,
parona-yeng
think-3SG.F.A
ang
ang
AT
tahaya
taha-ya-Ø
have-3SG.M-T
nivajas
niva-j-as
eye-PL-P
paso.
paso
sweet

‘The woman saw the bear and she thought he had sweet eyes.’

Yam
yam
DATT
tapyyeng
tapy-yeng
put-3SG.F.A
bilingley
biling-ley
honey-P.INAN
patas
patas-Ø
bear-T
marin
marin
surface.of
mehirya
mehir-ya
tree-LOC
tibenanya.
tibenan-ya
dawn-LOC

‘She put honey onto a tree at dawn for the bear.’

Ya
ya
LOCT
sahaya
saha-ya
come-3SG.M
lanyāng
lanya-ang
king-A
gino
gino
drunk
nanga,
nanga-Ø
house-T
sa
sa
PT
silvyāng
silv-yāng
see-3SG.M.A
patas
patas-Ø
bear-T
si
si
REL
ang
ang
AT
tahaya
taha-ya-Ø
have-3SG-T
bilingley
biling-ley
honey-P.INAN
vinaya,
vina-ya
nose-LOC
lāya
lā-ya
tongue-LOC
nay
nay
and
bantaya
banta-ya
mouth-LOC
yana,
yana
3SG.M.GEN
nay
nay
and
lanyāng
lanya-ang
king-A
sigi.
sigi
furious

‘The drunk king came to the house and saw the bear, who had honey on his nose, tongue and mouth, and the king was furious.’

Ang
ang
AT
praysaya
praysa-ya-Ø
kindle-3SG.M-T
tupoyas
tupoy-as
fire-P
kayvo
kayvo
with
runuya-ikan,
runu-ya=ikan,
smoke-LOC=much,
nay
nay
and
saraya
sara-ya
leave-3SG.M
patasang.
patas-ang
bear-A

‘He started a fire with much smoke, and the bear left.’

Silvoyya
silv-oy-ya
see-NEG-3SG.M
lanyāng
lanya-ang
king-A
gino,
gino,
drunk
sahaya
saha-ya
come-3SG.M
segasang
segas-ang
snake-A
kāryo
kāryo
big
sang
s-ang
REL-A
sa
sa
PT
gesyāng
ges-yāng
rob-3SG.M.A
lanvaya.
lanvaya-Ø
queen-T

‘The drunk king didn’t see that a big snake came, which robbed the queen.’

Ang
ang
AT
sa-sahaya
sa~saha-ya
again~come-3SG.M
nārya
nārya
but
patas
patas-Ø
bear-T
tombānyam
tomba-an-yam
kill-NMLZ-DAT
segasena,
segas-ena
snake-GEN
nay
nay
and
ang
ang
AT
ninya
nin-ya-Ø
carry-3SG.M-T
lanvayās
lanvaya-as
queen-P
mangasaha
mangasaha
towards
nangaya
nanga-ya
house-LOC
yena.
yena
3SG.F.GEN

But the bear came back for killing the snake, and he carried the queen to her house.

Ang
ang
AT
kutaye
kuta-ye
thank-3SG.F
lanvaya
lanvaya-Ø
queen-T
patasas
patas-as
bear-P
padangeri
padang-eri
heart-INS
ikan,
ikan,
whole,
nay
nay
and
ang
ang
AT
tavya
tav-ya
become-3SG.M
patas
patas-Ø
bear-T
ayonas.
ayon-as
man-P

‘The queen thanked the bear with her whole heart, and the bear became a man.’

The whole text without interlinear glossing:

4177-honeyeverlasting

Biling saroyo

Sa yomareng envan lanyana. Ang səsarayo tadoy denan bilingena paso yena. Le veryaya patasang biling, nay ang saraya lepadayam nangaya yena. Ang silvaye envan patasas nay paronayeng, ang tahaya nivajas paso. Yam tapyyeng bilingley patas marin mehirya tibenanya. Ya sahaya lanyāng gino nanga, sa silvyāng patas si ang tahaya bilingley vinaya, lāya nay bantaya yana, nay lanyāng sigi. Ang praysaya tupoyas kayvo runuya-ikan, nay saraya patasang. Silvoyya lanyāng gino, sahaya segasang kāryo sang sa gesyāng lanvaya. Ang sa-sahaya nārya patas tombānyam segasena, nay ang ninya lanvayās mangasaha nangaya yena. Ang kutaye lanvaya patasas padangeri ikan, nay ang tavya patas ayonas.

Some Legal Ponderings

If you look at the “Media” page, there hasn’t been much new material for 2013 and none so far for 2014. This is for one due to my university studies (graduating from my undergrad studies and starting work on an M.A.), but also because I had been working on and off on a partial translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella Le Petit Prince into Ayeri for the past year, consisting of the first two chapters. I’ve long had an itch to try this, especially since Le Petit Prince has been translated into over two hundred languages already. However, it turns out that a publication of such a translation here raises some legal questions. Note: I am not a lawyer!

Saint-Exupéry went missing on a flight in July 1944, which is almost 70 years ago. Now, according to German copyright law at least,1 an author’s work becomes Public Domain 70 years after an their death, calculated from the end of the year of their passing away (cf. Urheberrechtsgesetz, articles 64 and 69, in German). However, I’ve only recently learnt from Wikipedia that

[d]ue to Saint-Exupéry’s wartime death, his estate received the civil code designation Mort pour la France […]; thus most of Saint-Exupéry’s creative works will not fall out of copyright status in France for an extra 30 years. […] Note that although Saint-Exupéry’s regular French publisher, Gallimard, lists Le Petit Prince as being published in 1946, that is apparently a legalistic interpretation possibly designed to allow for an extra year of the novella’s copyright protection period […]. (Wikipedia, “The Little Prince”)

This means that contrary to my assumptions of when I started out translating with bold enthusiasm last May, Le Petit Prince is not strictly in the Public Domain yet, though the question is whether this only applies to France or in general. Furthermore, there is an estate administration to capitalize on Saint-Exupéry’s literary inheritance by licensing any derivative works. On their Twitter, they show off fan-created artwork, but as I see it, my translation of about six pages of the original text including the images from the book may well exceed the status of fanart and the bounds of Fair Use, in spite of scholarly annotation consisting of the interlinear glossing for everything and no expressed commercial interest.

Of course, I would like to avoid getting into legal trouble if I were to publish my efforts here, especially since I’d really like to include the illustrations from the book, which really are an intrinsic part of the text. However, at least as far as German law goes, I would only be able to put my translation online in January 2015 anyway, otherwise only in 2047.

I suppose that if I really want a definitive answer, I’ll have to write to Gallimard’s licensing department. For the time being, as much as I’m sorry about it, I will not make my Ayeri translation publically available out of caution about copyright issues.

  1. I am German, living in Germany. However, since this website is hosted on an American server, the question is if German law applies at all, or possibly both American and German law.

Translation Challenge: The Scientific Method

The other day, when I was reading io9, I came across an article about One of the World’s First Statements About the Scientific Method. The article is about a quote by Alhazen – Ibn al-Haytham, an Arab polymath of the 10th/11th cenutry –, the quotation from his book Doubts Concerning Ptolemy (Al-Shukūk ‛alā Baṭlamyūs). I don’t know how accurate the translation is, but I thought that it would still be nice as a Translation Challenge, so I’m basing the following translation off of this English translation, since I don’t know any Arabic. Unfortunately, there is no indication of the edition the translated passage is quoted from. According to a comment on the article by Bradley Steffens, the source of this quotation is the closing passage of his own book Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist. Contrary to what Steffens says in the comment, however, there is a critical translation of Alhazen’s book into English by Don L. Voss, published in 1985 as a Ph.D. thesis at the University of Chicago, but it doesn’t seem to be easily available outside of UChicago. Since I don’t have access to either book, I’m quoting this from the io9 article:1

The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration and not the sayings of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of of its content, attack it from every side. [H]e should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.

What struck me as challenging here is that this rather lengthy quotation consists of just three sentences with both a complex structure and interesting vocabulary that exceeds that of daily language, e.g. seeker after truth, the ancients, natural disposition, deficiency, investigate, … However, since I don’t like too complex sentences in Ayeri, I split the three sentences in the quote up into multiple sentences, which makes translation a bit easier. The first sentence especially also lends itself well to using anaphora and parallelism as a stylistic device. The English text also does that, but obscures it a little by using a lot of coordinated clauses in a single sentence.

Balang
Seek
kalam
truth
-maya
-AGTZ
-ang
-A
voy
NEG
nyān
person
-as
-P
si
REL
le
PT.INAN
sobisa
study
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
tahang
writing
-ye
-PL
-T
timbay
ancient
-an
-NMLZ
-ena
-GEN
nay
and
parona
trust
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
suhing
nature
-ya
-LOC
yana
3SG.M.GEN
nasyam.
according.to.

‘The truth-seeker is not a person who studies the writings of the ancient and trusts in them according to his nature.’

Adanya
That.one
-ang
-A
nāreng
rather
nyān
person
-as
-P
si
REL
sa
PT
birenya
doubt
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
paronān
trust
-T
yana
3SG.M.GEN
nay
and
sa
PT
nikang
question
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
adanya
that.one
-T
si
REL
sob
learn
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
ray.
3PL.INAN.INS.

‘He is rather a person who doubts his trust and questions what he learns from them.’

Adanya
That.one
-ang
-A
māy
AFF
nyān
person
-as
-P
si
REL
ya
LOCT
sitang=
self=
avan
subject
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
mandan
argumentation
-T
nay
and
pukatan
proof
-Ø,
-T,
nāroy
but.not
narān
word
-ya
-LOC
keynam
people
-ena
-GEN
=nama
=mere
si
REL
-GEN
-nā
-GEN
suhing
nature
-ang
-A
tan
3PL.M.GEN
deng
full
miran
kind
-ye
-PL
-ri
-INS
=hen
=all
sempay
perfect
-arya
-NEG
-na
-GEN
nay
and
sinka
flaw
-ye
-PL
-na.
-GEN.

‘He is a person who subjects himself to argumentation and proof, but not to the word of mere humans the nature of which is full of all kinds of imperfections and flaws.’

Dila
find.out
-yam
-PTCP
-an
-NMLZ
-ang
-A
kalam
truth
-ena
-GEN
bahalan
goal
-as
-P
ayon
man
-ena
-GEN
si
REL
le
PT.INAN
nivisa
investigate
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
tahang
writing
-ye
-GEN
-T
sobisaya
scholar
-ye
-PL
-na,
-GEN,
ruān
duty
-as
-P
yana
3SG.M.GEN
kada,
thus,
sa
PT
tav
become
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
kehin
enemy
-T
enya
everything
-na
-GEN
si
REL
laya
read
-yāng.
-3SG.M.A.

‘If finding out the truth is the goal of the man who investigates the writings of the scholars, his duty is thus for him to become the enemy of everything he reads.’

Na
GENT
pakua
apply
-yāng
-3SG.M.A
tenuban
reason
-as
-P
yana
3SG.M.GEN
terpeng
center
-yam
-DAT
nay
and
lito
margin
-yam
-DAT
erar
content
-T
nay
and
ang
AT
kongr
attack
-ya
-3SG.M.A
ray
side
-ena
-GEN
=hen.
=every.

‘He applies his reason to the center and the margin of the content and attacks it from every side.’

Ang
AT
mya
be.supposed.to
birenya
doubt
-ya
-3SG
-T
sitang=
self=
yās
3SG.M.P
naynay
as.well
ling
during
nivisān
investigation
-j
-PL
-ya
-LOC
yana,
3SG.M.GEN,
kadāre
so.that
ang
AT
mya
may
manang
avoid
-ya
-3SG
-T
tav
become
-yam
-PTCP
kimbisan
prey
-as
-P
adun
prejudice
-ena
-GEN
soyang
or
tataman
leniency
-ena.
-GEN.

‘He is to doubt himself as well during his investigations so that he may avoid becoming the prey of prejudice or leniency.’

The whole text:

4092-alhazenquote
Balangkalamayāng voy nyānas si le sobisayāng tahangye timbayanyena nay paronayāng suhingya yana nasyam. Adanyāng nāreng nyānas si sa birenyayāng paronān yana nay sa nikangyāng adanya si sobyāng ray. Adanyāng māy nyānas si ya sitang-avanyāng mandan nay pukatan, nāroy narānya keynamena-nama sinā suhingang tan deng miranyeri-hen sempāryana nay sinkayena. Dilayamanang kalamena bahalanas ayonena si le nivisayāng tahangye sobisayayena, ruānas yana kada, sa tavyāng kehin enyana si layayāng. Na pakuayāng tenubanas yana terpengyam nay litoyam erar nay ang kongrya rayena-hen. Ang mya birenyaya sitang-yās naynay ling nivisānjya yana, kadāre ang mya manangya tavyam kimbisanas adunena soyang tatamanena.

  • Added pretty scriptie and recording; fixed some errors and redundancies both in translation and in wording.
  1. I hope Mr. Steffens will excuse my lifting this passage from his book, here with proper attribution, though.

Names of European Nations and Capitals in Ayeri

Just for fun, I’m sometimes trying to hunt down etymologies of place names and try to translate them more or less literally into Ayeri:

Names of European Nations and Capitals in Ayeri
Names of European Nations and Capitals in Ayeri. (Original map: “Maix”/Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-2.5 license (Source). Captions in Ayeri added)

My method in making the map linked here was not terribly scholarly, though, as my source was mostly Wikipedia, so your mileage may vary. Where there was more than one etymology, I picked the one that seemed most reasonable (roughly going by Ockham’s razor, ish) or otherwise appealing to me; if guesses at the etymology were too insecure, I just sticked with phonologically adapting the name into Ayeri. There’s a few territories included which are not strictly independent nations or whose status as such is disputed – I included those because they still seemed relevant enough to me.

The complete list can be found on a separate page. More continents may follow as I feel like doing conlang work. I started with Europe since that’s where I live.

  • Updated map to include a title, the European part of Turkey, and correct licensing as required by the source.
  • Ugly CC-BY-SA badge in the picture is not necessary, so removed that. Also, bigger image, smaller file size.
  • Hopefully fixed the caption box at top right in the SVG file now. When viewed in programs other than Inkscape, the text didn’t show or only as a black box.

Imperial Messages XV – Round-up (with video)

Background: “光绪皇帝大婚图.” [“Picture of the Wedding of Emperor Guangxu.”] Wikimedia Commons. (Published in the Public Domain; cropped and label added)
Background: “光绪皇帝大婚图,” Wikimedia Commons (Published in the Public Domain; cropped and label added)
This is really the last and conclusive posting in my series on translating the short story “Eine kaiserliche Botschaft” by Franz Kafka into Ayeri that I started on February 15. Below you can find the whole text again with the sentence numbers serving as links to the individual installments. You can download the whole thing as a PDF as well.

Also, you can still tell me how you liked this series, in case I decide to do something like this again. Now that it’s over it might make even more sense to ask. So far, one (1) person has participated. Thanks for your vote, man!

The full text

Budang lanyana iray

1 Yam turakaya lanyāng iray – da-ningrey – va, si kebay, avanaya dipakan, karano, si iyin marinya perinena desay iray nay si danguvāng mangasaha timangya kahu-vā: yam māy turakaya va pakas lanyāng iray budangas mangasara pinamya pang-vā yana. 2 Sā sarayya ya ninayāng pinamya nay ang naraya taran budangas tangya ninayana. Budangang kapo-ing padangyam sitang-yana, sā na-narayāng yos tangya yana bayhi. 3 Ri kaytisyāng halinganley narānjas ninayana naban devona yana. 4 Nay marin yenuya silvayana ikan tenyanena yana – manga adruran merengyeley-hen bidis nay ang manga bengyan nyānye tiga similena hicanya ling rivanya ehen, siya lingreng iray nay apan – sā tavya mayisa ya ninayāng marin enyaya-hen. 5 Ang saraya edauyikan ninaya sasanyam: ayonang mico nay pisu tadoy – ri tiya itingley manga luga ikananya pinkasān tinuna patameng yana menanyam, tinuna nuveng yana palunganyam – 6 ang bidisaya arilinya itingley, ang mapaya ninaya hevenya yana sijya telbānley perin – saylingyāng kovaro naynay, ku-ranyāng palung. 7 Nārya ikananang kāryo-ing – ang tahoyyon midayanye tan litoley. 8 Ya sahongyāng simil apan, āh, ang nunaya ku-vipin nay ang pətangongva ankyu haruyamanas nanang megayena yana kunangya vana. 9 Da-yamva nārya, da-penyāng riayo – ya manga pastayāng tarela sangalye mitanena kong-vā – ang sēyraya tadoy adanyās – 10 nay viturongyāng, le gamarongyāng ranya – ang rua kotongya apanjam rivanley ehen – 11 nay viturongyāng, le gamarongyāng ranya – sa rua lugongyāng mandayye – nay pang mandayēa, samanas mitanyena si midaytong – nay ehenyeley nay mandayjas sayling – nay mitanas menikaneng – nay edāre manga luga pericanyēa samang – 12 nay ang pragongya panca manga agonan kunangyēa pang-vā ikan – nārya amangoyreng tadoy – ang yomongyo tarela ayromitan marin yāy, Terpeng Mavayena, sang nujyos deng idaseri avan sitang-yona. 13 Ang ming lugaya ranya – ang da-miraya nilarya-vā kayvo budangya nyānena tenya. — 14 Ang nedrasava nārya silvenoya vana nay ri sitang-tivāng budangas mangan tadayya si apanjo perinang.

“Pretty scripty” and recording

See the video on Youtube. A sound recording and artistic rendering of the text are available as well. Sound and video released under CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Conclusion

So what was gained from this experiment? For one, I’ve so far only ever translated texts into Ayeri without actually documenting choices and problems I’ve come across. Only the result counted. That way, however, especially questions about syntax, style, and pragmatic aspects of the language were left mostly undocumented. Forcing myself to document exactly those aspects of translating, left you, as the reader, as well as myself with an idea of what was going on in my head at the time of editing. And I think this is a good thing, even though translating this not too long text took ten times longer that usual. And fourteen times longer to publish, which was torture for impatient little me. I am still to finish writing the Grammar and don’t get anything done, sadly, but I hope that the thoughts and ideas written down in the individual parts of these series will add to the undertaking.

Speaking of stagnating grammar writing, the problem for me is that whenever I’m halfway through, I’ve usually changed enough that the whole thing needs to be reworked from the beginning, because examples need to be changed, or passages need to be rewritten to reflect the new decisions.

  • To do the concept of creative-commons licensing justice better, I have just uploaded the raw, spoken parts of the recording to my Soundcloud account as well. You can download them there.

Imperial Messages XIV – “Ang nedrasava nārya …”

This is the fourteenth posting in a series on the process of translating the short story “Eine kaiserliche Botschaft” by the Praguer writer Franz Kafka (*1883, †1924). The individual installments will go through the text mostly sentence by sentence, quoting from the German text as well as a translation of it into English. Following these quotations, I will discuss and comment on newly coined words and thoughts I had on grammar while doing the translation.

The text

Du aber sitzt an Deinem Fenster und erträumst sie dir, wenn der Abend kommt. (Kafka 1994, 282:6–7)

You, however, sit at your window and dream of the message when evening comes. (Kafka 2011)

Ang nedrasava nārya silvenoya vana nay ri sitang-tivāng budangas mangan tadayya si apanjo perinang.

Interlinear glossing

Ang
AF
nedra-asa-va
sit-HAB-2S
nārya
though
silveno-ya
window-LOC
vana
2S.GEN
nay
and
ri
INSF
sitang=ti-vāng
self=create-2S.A
budang-as
message-P
mangan
dream
taday-ya
time-LOC
si
REL
apand-yo
descend-3SN
perin-ang.
sun-A.

‘You, though, sit at your window as usual and create the message yourself with a dream when the sun descends.’

Notes on translation

One interesting thing I can think of to comment on for this passage is the habit of both nārya ‘but’ and naynay ‘also’ to differ slightly in meaning depending on their position in the phrase. If nārya precedes the verb it works as a concessive adverb with a contrastive meaning – essentially, ‘but’. If it follows the verb like in case of today’s sentence, however, it has a stronger antithetical meaning: ‘however, though’. Similarly, naynay, literally ‘and-and’, preverbally has a meaning of ‘and also’, while postpositioned means something more like ‘furthermore, in addition to that’.

Note also that Ayeri does not like to introduce relative clauses with question pronouns like English does, which is exemplified here by how “wenn der Abend kommt” (Kafka 1994, 282:7; “when evening comes”, Kafka 2011) is relativized as a noun-phrase construction with the regular relative pronoun si connecting the attributive main clause: tadayya si ‹CLAUSE ‘time-LOC REL ‹CLAUSE›’.

A notable difference between the German and English translation in this sentence is that in German, the message is created by the recipient within a dream by and for themselves since the messenger won’t come (cf. Kafka 1994, 282:6–7), while in English, the message is merely dreamed about, as though it was general knowledge (Kafka 2011).

Other than that: We’re through! This was the last sentence in the text. On Saturday there’ll be a round-up, in spite of the Easter holidays.

  • Kafka, Franz. “Eine kaiserliche Botschaft.” Drucke zu Lebzeiten. By Franz Kafka. Eds. Wolf Kittler et al. Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer, 1994. 280–82. Print.
  • ———. “A Message from the Emperor.” Trans. by Mark Harman. NYRblog. The New York Review of Books, 1 Jul. 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2012. ‹http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/jul/01/message-emperor-new-translation›