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  #1  
Unread 09-24-2021, 08:08 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default Mini Translation Event (ends 30 Sept 2021)

This event is now over. See this thread to find out who won.



We used to have a Translation Bakeoff in this thread every year on September 30, St. Jerome's Day. (He's the patron saint of translators.)

It was way too much work to organize.

This is easier, since I've already done a lot of the setup for my own workshopped version of the poem, and I don't mind other people taking a crack at it.

THE RULES

In this thread, post as many translations of the following poem as you wish. You may keep editing your entries until 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time on September 30. (Poems edited after then will be disqualified.)

People who disagree with my French crib are invited to post their quibbles to this thread, so everyone can see those. Asking grammatical/lexicographical questions here is okay, too. And a lot of smart people were generous with their good advice in the workshop thread for my translation attempt, which you might find helpful.

Take as many or as few translation liberties as you think the audience will let you get away with. Turn the poem into double dactyls or limericks or even a country song, if you think that best conveys its spirit. Note that the original has a lot of identity rhymes--you may either stick to that example, or mix things up.

I'll start a new thread on Oct. 1, in which everyone who wants to will have until 11:59pm Oct. 3 to list their top three entries by translator name and post number. The top three winners, as determined by the voting, will receive their choice of a book from my shelves.

Voting for your own entries is not allowed, and I'm ineligible to compete.

Bonne chance !

~~~~~

Rondeau LIII (more specifically, a rondel; eight syllables per line, not counting unstressed final syllables of feminine rhymes)
Charles d’Orléans (1394-1465)

Middle French original                           |            Literal English prose crib

Il fauldroit faire l’arquemie,           A      |       He would (conditional mood) have to* do/use alchemy,
Qui vouldroit forgier Faulce           B      |       [the one] who would (conditional mood) wish to melt/forge/reform/reshape** Falsity
Tant qu’elle devint Loyaul,           b      |       so much that it became Loyalty,
Quant en malice est endurcie.      a      |       so hardened in spitefulness/deceptiveness/mischief*** it is.

C’est rompre sa teste en folie,      a      |       It is to break his head in foolishness/madness,
Et temps perdre en oysive.      b      |       and lose time in idleness/unproductiveness/futility.
Il fauldroit faire l’arquemie,           A      |       He would have to do alchemy,
Qui vouldroit forgier Faulce.      B      |       [the one] who would wish to melt/forge/reform/mold Falsity.

Plus avant qu’on y estudie,           a      |       The more, beforehand, that one studies about it,
Et moins y congnoist on seur,      b      |       even less one knows certainty about it,
Car de faire de mal, bon,           b      |       for to make from evil, goodness,
L’un à l’autre est trop contrarié,      b      |       the one is with regard to the other too opposed/opposite/thwarted/hindered,
Il fauldroit faire l’arquemie.           A      |       it would require doing alchemy.

* Note: "Il faut" plus an infinitive is usually impersonal and means "It is necessary to" or "One has to"--often translated more colloquially as "You must"--but it can also be personal, and mean "He needs;" the "Qui"(who) in the next line suggests that it's personal here, but in the final line of the poem it is probably impersonal. The verb is in the conditional mood: "He would have to" or "It would be necessary for him to."

** Note: Sorry about the misleading "melt" above in association with "forgier"/"forger." That's probably the result of an initial mixup on my part with fondre, which is another thing alchemists might do with metal while trying to transmute it. Here's my translation of the entry in the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française for the verb "forger," in which you will note no mention of reducing anything to a truly molten state, despite making it more malleable by heating it:

Quote:
FORGER transitive verb (conjugated like Bouger)

1. To work a metal according to various processes, the most often with heat, by shock or by pressure, with the goal of giving it a shape. To forge iron, copper, silver. To forge an alliance. Literally: To hammer-forge, press-. To cold-forge, without heating the metal. By metonymy: To fashion an object of metal according to these processes. Forge an iron bar, a plowshare, a horseshoe. Forge a sword, arms. Forge a wrought iron fence or gate. Figurative: These trials will forge his character, they will toughen him, they will fortify him. Literary: To forge the irons of a people, to drive a people into servitude.

2. Figurative: To form, create through the work of the imagination, of thought; pejorative: to invent in a fantasy-influenced manner or with the intention of deceiving. To forge/coin a new word, a metaphor. An ideal, a conviction was forged in him. To forge chimerae, to imagine things without any basis. To forge himself an alibi. To forge a lie, a calumny, false news.
*** Note: "Malice" has three meanings in modern French. One is equivalent to the ill-will, spitefulness, and desire to harm others that the word "malice" also carries in English. The main sense that it has in modern French is equivalent to mere mischievousness, like that of a cheeky child. The third meaning is that of fraud and deception, like that associated with a magician's bag of tricks (sac à malice). Which one is meant here? You decide.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 10-04-2021 at 01:37 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 09-24-2021, 09:48 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Hi Julie,
thank you for organizing this! It should be fun!

Martin
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  #3  
Unread 09-25-2021, 01:32 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Thanks, Julie. I'm on it!
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  #4  
Unread 09-25-2021, 04:39 AM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Can I join in? Please! It's fun! I had a go this morning (I do read French, though very badly indeed, and not mediaeval French, but I did study Chaucer years ago so I have a tiny, very ignorant sense of how different the mediaeval universe was).

I haven't had much time yet and I have to work now but this is my attempt so far. I can post revisions I hope!

Sarah-Jane

Version 2

You’d have to practice alchemy
to temper insincerity
and transform it to loyalty
for it’s a brittle bitchiness.

To strive’s the work of lunacy
(you might as well love idleness)
One has to practice alchemy
to temper insincerity.

We read that life’s transmutable
but know it’s irrefutable
that good and bad are opposites.
To forge a truth from falsity
we’d have to practice alchemy


Version 1

You’d have to practice alchemy
to temper insincerity
and turn it into loyalty
the trickster that it is.

It is the work of lunacy
(You might as well love idleness)
You’d have to practice alchemy
to temper insincerity.

The more they seem transmutable
the more it’s irrefutable
that good and bad are opposites.
To forge a truth from falsity
You’d have to practice alchemy

melt base insincerity to 'temper' insincerity

[swapping out 'sweet', for 'base'. Have just read Julie's notes and will come back again as, reading them, I don't think the 'you' in the last strophe is quite right at all! First time I've tried this but it's fun - thank you Julie!]

Last edited by Sarah-Jane Crowson; 09-25-2021 at 01:36 PM.
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  #5  
Unread 09-25-2021, 07:42 AM
George Simmers's Avatar
George Simmers George Simmers is offline
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It would take quite some alchemy
To transform utter Falsity
(Deep-dyed in slick depravity)
To its great opposite, Loyalty.

Believe me, it is lunacy
To waste time on futility
Like dabbling with alchemy
To reform/transform Falsity.

The more you try, the less you’ll be
Convinced that any strategy
Exists to turn indecency
To sweet and lovely Loyalty.
That would take quite some alchemy.
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  #6  
Unread 09-25-2021, 08:17 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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An alchemist is what you'd be
if you could forge a shattered trust
and turn it into something just
and loyal, purged of perfidy.

Go rack your brains until you bust,
exhausted by futility.
An alchemist is what you'd be
if you could forge a shattered trust.

The more you try, the more you'll see
your fondest hopes dissolve to dust.
Faith can't come from faithlessness,
and if it could, at your behest,
an alchemist is what you'd be.

Last edited by Roger Slater; 09-25-2021 at 08:05 PM.
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  #7  
Unread 09-25-2021, 09:13 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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We're off to a good start!

In the original post, I've added notes on the rhyme scheme and form, have linked to Wikipedia and WordReference entries, and have translated the entry for "forger" (the original's "forgier") from the Dictionary of the Académie Française above, in case that extra level of detail is helpful.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 12:56 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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One would need alchemy, no less,
to try to change Duplicity
till it’s transformed to Honesty,
so hardened is its spitefulness.

It wastes one’s time without success
and cracks one’s brain with lunacy.
One would need alchemy, no less,
to try to change Duplicity.

The more one delves and tries to guess,
the less one knows with certainty.
To make good will from enmity
when one’s the other’s contrary,
one would need alchemy, no less.
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  #9  
Unread 09-25-2021, 08:42 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Rondel

The art of alchemy alone
can transmute hardened Falsity
and make it precious Loyalty,
for malice is set deep in stone.

Your head will ache until you moan
“It’s nothing but futility!”
The art of alchemy alone
can transmute hardened Falsity.

With more study, all that’s known
is more and more uncertainty!
What makes virtue from knavery,
two things that are so contrary?
The art of alchemy alone.
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  #10  
Unread 09-26-2021, 02:51 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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You’d have to be an alchemist
to render down duplicity
and turn it into loyalty,
so basic is its wicked twist.

Why do your head in? why insist
on spaffing effort uselessly?
Nobody but an alchemist
would try to alter falsity.

The more you play the scientist
the less you guess the recipe.
Righteousness and iniquity
maintain their own integrity.
You’d need to be an alchemist.
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