Posts Tagged ‘translation’

Rosemary Sutcliff’s books are popular in Japan, (although I am not always accurate in judging which cover is which book—on Twitter today I have been told that what I, via Google, thought was The Mark of the Horse Lord was actually The Lantern Bearers …).

I am reminded that I was surprised to discover a few years ago that  Her Imperial Majesty The Empress Michiko of Japan linked Rosemary Sutcliff,  J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, and Philippa Pearce in the same breath in her keynote speech to the 26th (2001) Congress of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Keep linking children and books…Books are children’s valuable friends and are a help to them. So that children have firm roots within themselves; so that children have strong wings of joy and of imagination; so that children know love, accepting that at times love calls for pain; so that children see and face the challenge of life’s complexities, fully taking on the life given to each, and finally, upon this earth which is our common home, become, one day, true instruments of peace.

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Miekka ja auringonlasku | Finnish traslation of Rosemary Sutcliff’s 1963 bestseller Sword at Sunset

Suomentanut Tapio Hiisivaara. Kustantanut Weilin + Göös.

Rosemary Sutcliffin romaanit liikuvat usein historian ja fantasian välimaastossa. Niin myös tämä kirja, joka kertoo Artos Karhusta, maalaistytön pojasta, jossa isän puolelta virtaa roomalaisen sotilaskeisarin ja Britannian kuninkaiden verta. Artos on urhea soturi ja tunteellinen mies, onnekkaampi sodassa kuin rakkaudessa.

Mutta Artoksella on kutsumuksensa. Hän on koonnut oman ratsuväkijoukon ja taistellut koko elämänsä ajan Britanniaan tunkeutuvaa pakanallisten saksien heimoa vastaan.

Kirjailija on saanut virikkeen pyöreän pöydän ritarien tarustosta, kuningas Arturin henkilöhahmosta.

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Published this year  in Turkey, a version of The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff!

Odysseia | The Wanderings of Odysseus, by Rosemary Sutcliff, in Turkish

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Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth is currently ‘in print’  in English throughout the world published by OUP (Oxford University Press), and in twelve other languages (Language -Publisher):

Dutch – Facet
French – Gallimard
German – Freies Geistesleben
Greek – Aiora
Japan – Iwanami Shoten
Korean – Sigongsa
Portuguese – Gradiva
Portuguese (Brazil) – Record
Romanian – Literar
Russian – Azbooka
Spanish – Plataforma
Swedish – Barnstenen
Turkish – Ithaki


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“La trilogía sigue el hilo conductor de los miembros de una misma familia de soldados romanos en Britania, pero, lógicamente, en distintas épocas, siglos II, III y IV d. C., por lo que en sí están concebidas como novelas completamente independents.” A Spanish language post points to Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels published in Spanish, with striking covers, El Aguila de la Novena Legion (The Eagle of the Ninth), El Usapardor del Imperio (The Silver Branch) and Los Guardianes de la Luz (The Lantern Bearers).

Aguila de la Novena Legion coverEl Usurpador del Imperio by Rosemary Sutcliff

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Anjy posted a fascinating comment at the You Write! page about how well Rosemary Sutcliff‘s style translates into German, and about her powers of description.

I have been addicted to Sutcliff’s book for about 40 years now. I have read everything by her in German and a lot in English and she is one of the very few authors I came across who benefits from translations. Mostly, when I read a book in German and then in the English original I prefer the original in comparison. Even if the translation is good (not every one is, Harry Potter is a linguistic catastrophe) normally the power and motion of the English is hardly transferred into German. Not so with Rosemary Sutcliff. Even by different translators her books are every bit enjoyable in German, sometimes even more.

Where the English language is strongly built upon verbs and verbal structures (the abundant “-ing-forms” are something every German pupils has to struggle to understand the concept of), German sets the focus much more on nouns and adjectives – and so does Rosemary Sutcliff. When she describes a scene – maybe due to being forced to just sit and watch for so many years of her early life – she concentrates on things that don’t move or change, on colours and textures. Like in later life as a miniature painter she draws her scenes in minute detail – much like a German sentence as Mark Twain depicted it .

I find this most unusual and remarkable and one the increasingly rare examples for an author whose style of writing (not so much the plots) is in direct correspondence with her very special biography.

I look forward to comments on the post….and if you have your own detailed reflections on Rosemary Sutcliff and her work, do please post them at the You Write! page .

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Anita, a Dutch reader, has provided me with a bibliography of all Dutch translations of Rosemary Sutcliff’s books. The Internet works! For  I made contact with her via Library Thing. Previously someone  unknown to me of course, she has done a complete list. Thank you! (more…)

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NOVELAS HISTORICAS: El Usurpador del Imperio de Rosemary Sutcliff is a Spanish blog entry which I have yet to translate, but wanted to capture here.

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A Dutch enthusiast for Rosemary Sutcliff, Anita Meulstee, tells me that in 1971 Rosemary won the Zilveren Griffel – The Silver Pencil – which together with the Golden Pencil award is one of the major literary prizes for Dutch Children’s  and Young Adult literature. Each year in the Week of Childrens’ Books the CPNB (in Dutch the  Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek, which encourages the habits of book buying and book reading) awards the Pencils (more…)

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illustration by Charles KeepingMy father took my sister and me to the library every Saturday. I could hardly wait to get home and start on the giant pile of books … Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novels were among my favorites …  especially Dawn Wind. At the point where Dog dies, I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry my heart out under the mistaken assumption that no one would hear me, when actually my wails probably echoed through the entire house. “She’s reading that stupid book again,” I expect they said downstairs.
Source: Children’s Book Guild – Annette Curtis Klause.

And interesting extracts from a comment (full comment below), about translation into German:

I just reread Dawn Wind in an older German translation titled “Owins Weg in die Freiheit” (Owain’s way to freedom) and came upon some interesting issues. First the translator did a marvellous job, the story not only can be heard while reading but smelt and tasted. He makes me hear the waves crash on the ship-wreck Beornwulf comes home with, smells the burning barley breads and feel the mist creeping over the marshes. Second he doesn’t seem to know some facts about Britain. He constantly translates “corn” by the German “Mais”, whihc is, of course, the meaning the dictionary provides you with but I still believe Sutcliff may have used “corn” and just mean “Korn” (grain, wheat and rye and barley). This leads to the anachronistic scene of a 7th century british village situated behind a corn-field and the british warrior suggesting to draw “stalks of corn/maiz” for the feud between Vadir and Bryni. Also he translates Kyndylan the Fair as Kyndylan the Just, obviously taking the common meaning of “fair”, again provided by the dictionary, as just, reliable. Am I right in assuming that the title “fair” may mean that british leader’s colour of hair rather than his way of life, thus it should translate “Kyndylan der Helle (fair-haired)” or even “the blonde”?

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