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Письмо N 7

Дата: 11 февраля 2001 г.
От: Владимир Свиридов <selim@freemail.ru>
Кому: Mark Hooker <mthooker@indiana.edu>
Тема: Thank for delight

Dear Mark,

Saturday, February 10, 2001 1:57:18 PM you wrote to me:

MH> I get the same types of arguments from professional translators
MH> into English who dislike my translations as being too literal. At
MH> the same time, I get compliments from readers who find them
MH> imaginative and refreshing. When I write (original things or
MH> translations), I always keep my eye on the intended audience, and
MH> cater to what I perceive as their tastes.

Fairly spoken! But who are the audience of Tolkien's books in Russia - that is the question. I have only one example on this subject. Some half year ago a movement for translation LoTR movie in Russian was formed itself. Now it shows almost no activity, but they have carried out a poll, what one of the existing translations of LoTR should be basic for LoTR movie russification. I don't remember exact figures, but probably more than half of people answered this question have preferred M&K.

MH> I never get comments on my подстрочники. I found you comments
MH> interesting, because your reactions could be applied to the
MH> original text by a native English literary critic as well.

I am glad to be helpful for you.

VS>> 5) "Севернники" is unpronounceable for a Russian.

MH> "Севернники" was built on the model of adjective ending in -Н- + ик,
MH> which is used for naming people who have the quality of the adjective.
MH> Checking my model, I see that it should not be a double Н, but a
MH> single Н. Compare: пленник, пожарник, конник, отпускник,
MH> карманник, высотник, лучник, where the implied collocation is
MH> пленный человек etc. The effect that I was looking for was северный
MH> человек >> северник. Tolkien's original North-men is also a little bit
MH> strange, but transparent to the reader.

Mark, please draw your attention that all the words which you gave as examples (конник, отпускник и т.д.) characterize a man by the kind of his deals while "Northmen" is a geographical notion. Russian has special suffixes for such cases: -янин, -чанин, -ец. I am воронежец, he who lives in Tambov - тамбовчанин, a Kursk guy be курянин.

More to say, no one of this words has double «нн» after a consonant. Surely there is one famous Russian word which contains six consonants in a series, but this is only an exclusion out of both the language and literary language.

By the way, it may be interesting for you that "пожарник" is that who fires. Those who fight fires, "пожарные", very dislike be called "пожарниками".

VS>> 7) As for "Южцы"

MH> I had not counted on the "humoristic or diminutive meaning". I was
MH> looking for something that was entirely new, which is why I rejected
MH> Южак >> Южаки, which sounds somewhat more pejorative to me.

As to me, "южаки" seems better to fit for an alien tribe from South.

VS>> 9) The word "лютый" is very negatively coloured in Russian. It is
VS>> used in combinations: "лютый зверь", "лютый враг", "лютый
VS>> мороз". For "лютовать" Ozhegov's dictionary gives
VS>> "зверствовать". So, applying this word to those who stand for
VS>> Good is erroneous.

MH> The same in English. We also say "bitter enemy", "bitter cold",
MH> however, "to be bitter" does not turn into Ozhegov's
MH> "зверствовать", which I missed, so it may be over the top. "To be
MH> bitter" is more like "to be very resentful". Perhaps I should have said:
MH> озлоблены.

Yes, this word is obviously closer to truth, but there stays yet a gap between them. "Озлоблены" is also too negative. "Обозлены" is a bit better, but not good as well. "Рассержены"? Too soft...

VS>> 10) "перед их яростным, как лесной пожар, натиском".
VS>> "Натиск" means an action by force, pressure. But forest fire does
VS>> not press - it frightens and stings.

MH> You've never fought a forest fire I see.

Mother of my wife has a house in the country. The house stands at the edge of a forest (known as Воронежский заповедник) and we live there in summer. 1996 was a year of forest fires, and I had to help to fight them. Yeah, there was fear in my heart, but nevertheless I'd not like to say that I was underwent to some force action.

VS>> С громовым лязгом сошлись они. Но светлая ярость северян
VS>> пылала ярче, и воинство их со своими длинными копьями было
VS>> опытнее и беспощаднее. Их было меньше, но они прошли сквозь
VS>> югиптян как раскаленный нож сквозь масло.

MH> 3) I did not like "беспощаднее" for the same reasons that you did not
MH> like "лютый". It seems a much too negative quality for the good
MH> guys.

I have said above that I failed to find out the right word that must stand here, so I agree with you in a part. But there is great difference between "лютый" и "беспощадный", approximately the same one as between "devil" and "not an angel". A good guy may be "беспощадный" to evil enemies but if he becomes "лютый" then he becomes evil himself. I believe that a Rohan horseman would slay Gollum, in the contrast with Frodo, but this doesn't mean that he's bad guy - this rather means that Frodo is a saint.

MH> 4) I like "югиптян", but would not want to show that to an
MH> Egyptian who spoke Russian. That was why I went for something
MH> really new in my version. Tolkien's name has absolutely no
MH> associations behind it for me.

"Югиптяне" are no more than a play of mind, so I don't insist on this word. Repeating once more, I prefer "южаки" of yours. Besides all, this is tightly associated with "чужаки".

MH> This was an interesting experiment. I learned a lot.

Me too... :-)

MH> I agree on this one as well. I rather believe that our positions
MH> are closer than they seem from the dialog that is going on.


Mark, thank you for the enormous intellectual delight that our discussion has given to me. It seems to be useful and interesting not only for us two. With your kind permission I shall post it on the TTT site www.ttt.by.ru (as you have asked for, the exact URL of the document I shall sent you immediately after the publication on the site) and ask other members of TTT team to make their comments. If you would like to omit some places from a letter or an entire letter, please write to me.

Владимир Свиридов

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