darchildre: the seventh doctor explaining things to ace (seven explains the plot)
[personal profile] darchildre
Recently, I have been spending some time doing seneshi translations of randomly selected passages from books I like. Would you like to see them? (Of course you would.)


You get the original text, the seneshi translation, and then a translation back into English, with notes if they're warranted. Weirdass letters pronounced as explained in this post.

From The Haunting of Hill House:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

sheðish cjupeŋ sălehīn tju-canêl ot arameðen mjatelic ilacoen meŋ fertī pashet; lane a-shirpī un a-tlocu shă-relīt swinef mjanasec. le puru tonjet, ilaco shwe, tju-upantule entjon tam lie a-puru, alêhīn le umon unan lis; li esole upantef rīle a-mês a-srera un lan-ăŋ-canêl upantec rīle a-mês a-srera seð. unan lis, a-tjeð tju-hlămăle tari, a-temo rele mūn, un a-por rele cromif căêlen; mumusem omuăle sa neð tam le turot un ðot ul le puru tonjet, ul li epe ancăle hjem, ancăle entjon.

No living creature is able a long time to exist sanely with real/actual* truth; even sparrows and grasshoppers, I hear**, are thought to dream. The hill house, not sane, stood alone against its hills, holding the dark inside it; it had stood eighty years and, I believe**, could stand eighty years more. Inside it, walls continued straight, floors were firm, and doors were wisely closed; silence lay like sand against the wood and stone of the hill house, and that which walked there, walked alone.


*'pashet' doesn't translate terribly well - it means something like 'real' or 'actual' but carries a really strong conotation of "this is the truthiest true thing that could ever be true." So...
**Most of this passage uses a tju- evidential, which is the storytelling evidential. But these two phrases shift to shă- ('I am reliably told') and la- ('I believe this') respectively. Though I've used the word 'I' in translating the passage back to English, the use of those evidentials doesn't necessarily imply an actual speaker - shă- gives the same flavor of "some people believe this" as the original, and la- in the future tense introduces some of the same kind of uncertainty as "might".




From Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell:

The rain made a door for me and I went through it; The stones made a throne for me and I sat upon it; Three kingdoms were given to me to be mine forever; England was given to me to be mine forever. The nameless slave wore a silver crown; The nameless slave was a king in a strange country.

le shehjê tju-shemăle sher êl o por, un ê ħilu ashe lis; le a-ðot tju-shemălt sher êl o sucot, un ê usiă u lis; wê a-ros cwe-relut taðif ăt êl un pa-relīt yên sherneram; ancūlant* cwe-rele taðif ăt êl un pa-rel yên sherneram. le recateði rehjamam tjun-ūselule o mocut ul lemca naha; le recateði rehjamam tju-rele ot ocjat u o ros njêta.

The rain made for me a door, and I went through it; the stones made for me a throne, and I sat on it; three lands were given to me and are surely mine forever; England was given to me and is surely mine forever. The nameless slave wore a crown of shining metal**; the nameless slave was a king in a strange land.


*I really like transliterating names, you guys.
**I do have an actual word that means silver, but this is basically a seneshi kenning that I've used in a couple translations now and I like it. "lemca naha" rolls off the tongue nicely.
***There's no good place to footnote this, but I really like talking about evidentials, so: there are some unnecessarily repeated evidentials in this passage. 'tju-shemălt' or 'tju-rele' don't technically need them - those sentences are still covered by the last-used evidential. It's still in effect, as it were, and since it doesn't need to be changed, it also doesn't need to be repeated. But this is a poetic passage, so the evidentials repeat so as not to throw off the rhythm. (Both uses of cwe- and pa- are necessary, though, as those evidentials are changing. tju- says 'I'm telling a story', cwe- says 'I witnessed this', and pa- says 'this is self-evidently true', which is why it gets translated as 'surely'.)




From The Lord of the Rings (I'm very proud of this one):

“Begone, foul dwimmerlaik*, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!"

A cold voice answered: 'Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."

A sword rang as it was drawn. "Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may."

"Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”


“njan nja-ħilêl, ðrăcīs ūmūli, matorê ul farsheð! le shimeði nja-leherðil ăt ūlala!”

ot ahen ðis tjun-ătcăule: “nan na-fatil shwe nihas le nascul un luen mjet! ta lu pan-ăŋ-cītelil nan shwe u nin sur. lu ăŋ-peraêl nan ăt le a-tonjet ul ulonamêt, utjam ene al-umonum, ðosh nin ceres ăŋ-rel ireseif, un nin ħusī ħisisef ăŋ-rel shecif racun īris le aineðen locemam.”

o sceres tju-tliŋole shas li rele fetef. “lims nja-shemel epe anja lelăsinja; af ê lan-ăŋ-strushi lims.”

“strushia ana êl, căðis? sheðish rotī sălehīn cwe-canêl strushic êl!”

mon meri tju-cutăle ul al-ăni u ene u masem tjas le njêtaeðen. weða sūŋuăle epe ternjelm rinesăle, un le ahen cilim rele sa le tliŋihīn ul terai. “af sheðish rotī sălehīn cwe-ra ê! anja mărinja ăt o shêtī. êowīn ê ra, le têŋali ul êomūnt. anja upantênja nihas êl un nê matorê un taluið. njan nja-ħilêl, ði anja canênja shimeic! shertjī weða sălehīn ta cyostam shelescam, ê pan-ăŋ-cjumel njan, ði anja ðocenja lums.”


“Get you gone, filthy demon*, ruler of carrion! Leave the dead at peace!”

A cold voice answered: “Come thou** not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he surely will not slay thee in thy turn. He will carry thee to the houses of wailing, beyond all darknesses, where thy flesh will be devoured, and thy dried up mind will be left naked before the Great Lidless Eye.”

A sword rang as it was drawn. “Do that which you desire; but I believe*** I will hinder it.”

“Thou hinderest me, fool? No living man is able to hinder me!”

Then Merry heard of sounds in all in that hour the strangest. It appeared that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ringing of steel. “But no living man am I! You look on a woman. Eowyn I am, the youngest daughter**** of Eomund. You stand between me and my ruler and kinsman. Get you gone, if you are able to die! Because living thing or unclean spirit, I surely will smite you, if you touch him.”



*You guys, I just found out today that this is a word Professor Tolkien made up. I always just assumed it was some obscure English thing. Huh. ('Demon' is not a super great translation of 'ðrăcīs', but it's the closest English term that only takes one word to say so I'm sticking with it.)
**Ahahaha, senesh has a formal and informal 'you', that means I get to use the thou form in translations! (senesh also has an informal plural you, but English doesn't have even an archaic informal plural you that I know of, so that wouldn't be obvious.)
***Eowyn is using a la- evidential here, which expresses belief or, since it's future tense, hope that what she's saying is true. The translation back into English has a nice, matter-of-fact Icelandic saga sound to it that I find very pleasing.
****I mean, she's also Eomund's eldest daughter, but youngest daughters are considered auspicious by the seneshi and they have very exact kinship terms, so...



And that is what I did during the last few days when I wasn't working.

Date: 2016-03-11 06:10 pm (UTC)
syntheid: [Elementary] Watson drinking tea looking contemplative (Default)
From: [personal profile] syntheid
You are really making me want to dust off my conlang and rework it. This is very cool.

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darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)
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June 2016

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