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Thread: Any mistakes?

  1. #1
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    Default Any mistakes?

    I have translated a Russian poem. Could you please correct it so that it sounded a little bit more natural to a native ear (feel free to make any corrections you like, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, I need it for an international conference of ornithologists)

    In the marshes among the tree trunks
    The sky in the east is bright as fire.
    Suddenly, above my attic and above the long forgotten swamps
    I might see the cranes.
    Their sad crying all over Russia will wake me up and call me away.
    They are flying high as heralds of fading.
    And they can fully tell what’s in the soul.
    People all over Russia wave to the cranes
    Whose cries are about all those forgotten marshes and fields,
    As a tale of ancient manuscripts.
    Here they fly… People, open the gates,
    Come out to see them on high!
    Now they are silent and the nature is deserted and so is the soul,
    Because (just keep quiet!) no one can express them so fully as the cranes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    I have translated a Russian poem. Could you please correct it so that it sounded a little bit more natural to a native ear (feel free to make any corrections you like, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, I need it for an international conference of ornithologists)

    In the marshes among the tree trunks
    The sky in the east is bright as fire.
    Suddenly, above my attic and above the long forgotten swamps
    I might see the cranes.
    You might? This doesn't sound right. You probably do see the cranes.

    Their sad crying all over Russia will wakes me up and calls me away.
    They are flying high as heralds of fading. (What is a "herald of fading?")
    And they can fully tell what’s in the soul.
    People all over Russia wave to the cranes
    Whose cries are about all those forgotten marshes and fields,
    As a tale of ancient manuscripts.
    Here they fly… People, open the gates,
    Come out to see them on high!
    Now they are silent and the nature is deserted and so is the soul,
    Because (just keep quiet!) no one can express them so fully as the cranes.
    No one can express what as fully as the cranes - ie. what is the referent of 'them'?
    Also, does the original poet not deserve mention? He seems to have put a lot of work into it. (Forgive my ignorance, but are artists of the Soviet era thought of as producing their work for the good of the State, and hence not entitled to having their works attributed?)

  3. #3
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any mistakes?

    Raymott, thank you very much for your comment. I have corrected the poem in accord with your remarks (see below).
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post

    I might see the cranes.
    You might? This doesn't sound right. You probably do see the cranes.

    This time I wrote “I see the cranes” (or “I will see the cranes”). In the original poem the author writes “The cranes will appear” – does this sound better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post

    They are flying high as heralds of fading. (What is a "herald of fading?")
    A herald of fading is someone (or a bird))) who declares that there’s a certain date for everyone to pass away (does “messengers of withering” sound better?)
    In Russia when seeing cranes people feel sad – there’s another poem, a well-known song to be exact. In this song the author says it sometimes seems to him that the soldiers who had perished in the war are not in the ground – they have turned to white cranes. And these cranes cry and sadly call us from the sky.
    In the poem under consideration it sounds like this: They are flying high and crying as if heralding the date of fading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post

    Now they are silent and the nature is deserted and so is the soul,
    Because (just keep quiet!) no one can express them so fully as the cranes.
    No one can express what as fully as the cranes - ie. what is the referent of 'them'?

    Them = Nature and Soul mentioned in the previous line (Russians like to speak about soul, especially if you are not rich – but your soul is kind and other things are of less importance )))


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post


    Also, does the original poet not deserve mention? He seems to have put a lot of work into it. (Forgive my ignorance, but are artists of the Soviet era thought of as producing their work for the good of the State, and hence not entitled to having their works attributed?)
    Of course, they are not )))) The author does deserve mentioning, it’s all my fault. You’re right, I should have mentioned him – it’s Nikolai Rubtsov. I don’t think he is famous outside Russia, though. This poem is to be read in Russian at the opening of a conference of ornitologists (it’s devoted to protection of cranes) and there should be a very general English translation for some foreign guests to understand what it is about.

    So here is the whole poem with corrections:

    Cranes
    A poem by Nikolai Rubtsov

    In the marshes among the tree trunks
    The sky in the east is bright as fire.
    Suddenly, above my attic and above the long forgotten swamps
    I see the cranes. (The cranes will appear.???)

    Their sad crying all over Russia wakes me up and calls me away.
    They are flying high, messengers of fading (whithering? decline?).
    And they can fully tell what’s in the soul.
    People all over Russia wave to the cranes
    Whose cries are about all those forgotten marshes and fields,
    As a tale of ancient manuscripts.
    Here they fly… People, open the gates,
    Come out to see them on high!
    Now they are silent and Nature is deserted and so is the Soul,
    Because (just keep quiet!) no one can express them??? (Nature and soul) so fully as cranes.


    I would appreciate any comment on this translation, thanks in advance.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post

    So here is the whole poem with corrections:

    Cranes
    A poem by Nikolai Rubtsov

    In the marshes among the tree trunks
    The sky in the east is bright as fire.
    Suddenly, above my attic and above the long forgotten swamps
    The cranes will appear.
    Yes, this is OK, especially since it is in the original. It's just ""might see" that sounded odd.

    Their sad crying all over Russia wakes me up and calls me away.
    They are flying high, harbingers of decline
    And they can fully tell what’s in the soul.
    People all over Russia wave to the cranes
    Whose cries are about all those forgotten marshes and fields,
    As a tale of ancient manuscripts.
    Here they fly… People, open the gates,
    Come out to see them on high!
    Now they are silent and Nature is deserted and so is the Soul,
    Because (just keep quiet!) no one can express these things so fully as cranes.


    I would appreciate any comment on this translation, thanks in advance.
    How about that version?

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    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any mistakes?

    Great! "Harbingers of decline" - I wish I could feel how it sounds in English as native speakers do))) As for "these things" - I thought about it. Thank you so much.

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