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Old 21st January 2005, 15:28
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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"The First and the Last" (English)

Book "The First and the Last", English edition, translated by Mervyn Savill (he confessed!), first published 1955 by Methuen, London. 1986 reprint by Champlin Museum Press, Mesa, Arizona.

I had a look many years ago and I made a few notices. I'm not especially interested in the ENGLISH edition, the original being German. I probably did not even check chapter 8 (1940 French Campaign) systematically.

Page 43, line 1 : the sit-down war. Everybody in the world calls it "the phoney war" (in English). Clearly the translator had never heard of WW II. It is very often so.

Page 45, line 8 : "He rather clumsily avoided action". Wrong. Correct is : "He... took evasive action". (The action had begun, he was in the middle of it. To avoid action was out of the question.).

P. 47, lines 2-3 : TERRIBLE! "I had... shot away part of his tail". German Text : Der Heckschütze war ausgefallen. English : The tail gunner had been put out of action. [(He was either badly wounded or dead)]. Here you can see that so-called "translators" who look perfect never hesitate to write nonsense. This one certainly translated much too fast and didn't bother to CHECK his own translation, which is vital but doesn't give you more money.

Middle of this page : "Again we drew A.A. fire". Correct translation : "The sole result was wild 20 mm-AA fire". This, too, enrages me for the "translator" made the text and the translation simpler, taking away the spirit and the guts. It sounds much duller than the original. What's more, he simply dumped a whole sentence and Galland's comment : "Scheibenkleister!" - which jokingly means "Scheisse!", shit and is used only in order NOT to write or say that bad word. I don't know how you do this in English, perhaps "Sh.... shoeshine!" or some. The missing passage reads :

"We flew a bit to the North along the railroad in order to ask at a second station. Sh...oeshine! A.A. again."

The "translator" deleted also the mention that Rödel dived towards the first station IN ORDER TO READ ITS NAME (in order to know where the hell they were). This makes the whole, humorous passage impossible to understand correctly.

No wonder the English edition is about 20 % shorter, some passages are missing everywhere. So you see there are some differences : a « translation » is not always a translation (in most cases it’s not).

End of this paragr. : "I pulled at my brakes like mad." "Pulled"???

Same page, 2nd par., 3rd line : "revolvers" instead of pistols. Of course they carried PISTOLS, which you have to cock first before they can fire - in a narrow cockpit this is safer.

The passage about col. Ibel being shot down at Dunkerque was shortened too and, as usual, the whole humour was dumped (the "translator" probably didn't understand). This begins with the Spits being "sure of their target". "Zielbewusst" does not mean that, it means : determined, with (great) determination, without being distracted by anything. Here is the original version, which disappeared completely in the "translation" except Ibel coming back "on foot" :

"Because of this unusual way of moving he had got a "Blasenleiden" - at his feet".

The word "Blasenleiden" is very ambiguous and this is intentional. At the time the young pilots including Galland considered Ibel incredibly old, some sort of dinosaur from WW I. So it's not surprising that Galland jokingly suggests a "bladder ailment" for the German "Blase" means "bladder" and also "blisters" at the feet (when you walked too much and too hard like poor Ibel). So Ibel had a "Blase ailment", in fact at his feet. A "translator" who deletes all difficult passages is NOT a translator but a phoney. This is common practice.

The masterpiece is on page 52, next to last line : "Kesselring pinned the Knight's Cross on my tunic...". He didn't even know nor notice that they put it around their neck! Incredible! Did ever anybody protest?

I fear most book translations are of similar quality or worse.
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Old 21st January 2005, 16:35
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Cannot check it here, but I have a copy of the limited edition by the Champlin museum, wonder if it is the same. If it is not, you cannot simply state The First and the Last" (English).

I'll certainly check your examples with my copy later this evening.
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Old 21st January 2005, 17:28
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..yes, that's pretty dire.. the book could certainly do with a more 'modern' translation..there are only a couple of decent translators into English working in our field...Weal, Johnston ...possibly one other I can think of....(I won't mention Michelet as he works into French )
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Old 21st January 2005, 17:36
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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To Ruy : Yes, same edition

Ruy

Yes you have got exactly a copy of the same edition as mine : Champlin Museum Press - Mesa, Arizona.

By the way, I gave the translator's name so there is no ambiguity. SORRY I first wrote "Lesa" instead of Mesa.

Let us not dream : once a "translation" has been published they stick to it. Reprints often bear the mention "Comprehensive text" (sic!).

Only very famous, literary authors (Shakespeare...) are re-translated. Well, mostly.
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Old 21st January 2005, 18:32
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Well upon checking my Champlin edition I decided to order a copy of the original German first edition. Found a good offer and am looking forward to rereading this classic in the original language.

As for translations, there is a nice one in the Hans-Ekkehard Bob book.

page 88, line 9

Me 109 Staffeln were equipped with bomb discharge appliances.

As you'll agree that is too litteral a translation of Bombenabwurfgerät

Also there are various instances of mixing up OberSTleutnants, with Oberleutnants, Knights Crosses and Iron Crosses.

Non the less, you can filter through these whoppers.

Actually I rather like "Sitting War", its litteral, but it catches the German Sitzkrieg better than the more correct "Drole de Guerre" or "Phoney War". Correct translation doesn't always catch the right vibe.
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Old 21st January 2005, 19:13
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
As for translations, there is a nice one in the Hans-Ekkehard Bob book.

page 88, line 9

Me 109 Staffeln were equipped with bomb discharge appliances.

As you'll agree that is too litteral a translation of Bombenabwurfgerät
- Certainly! The right thing to do is to use the normal phrase used in the corresponding country(ies). Worse : "bomb discharge" doesn't make any sense.

Quote:
Actually I rather like "Sitting War", its litteral, but it catches the German Sitzkrieg better than the more correct "Drole de Guerre" or "Phoney War". Correct translation doesn't always catch the right vibe.
- I agree. Nevertheless this is one of many instances in which there is a worldwide known phrase (phoney war) and using another one will disturb the readers. The translator could use his own new version but explain in a foot note : "Also known as "Phoney War".
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