Posts Tagged ‘The Lorax’

Sonderling Sunday – You Need a Schnauch!

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

This week, I’m going to dive back into Der Lorax, von Dr. Seuss! Last time, we left off when the Einstler had just seen die Bäume! Die Trüffelabäume!

Lorax

And here’s where we can see how Dr. Seuss’s use of made-up words actually makes a rhyming translation easier:

“And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots
frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits
as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits.”

= Im Schatten der Bäume sah ich Braunfelliwullis.
Die hüpften in ihren Braunfellipullis
auf puscheligen Braunfellifüßen
und naschten von den Trüffelanüssen.

(“In the shadow of the trees saw I Brown-felli-wullis.
They hopped in their Brown-felli-pullovers
on puscheligen [?] Brown-felli-feet
and nibbled on the Truffula nuts.”)

As suspected, kräusligen is also made-up, from sich kräuseln, “to ripple.”

“From the rippulous pond
came the comfortable sound
of the Humming-Fish humming
while splashing around.”

= Vom kräusligen Teich
stieg ein wohliger Klang,
wo der Summerfisch summte
und planschte und sang.

Oh, alas! The first two lines of this are lovely, but the next two lines? Well, it’s a noble effort, but the German lines don’t have the same rhythm as the original.

“But those trees! Those trees!
Those Truffula Trees!

All my life I’d been searching
for trees such as these.”

Doch die Bäume! Diese Bäume!
Die Trüffelabäume!
Mein ganzes Leben lang wünschte ich mir
Bäume wie diese,
nun standen sie hier.

Really, it’s a challenge to translate rhymes like these:

“The touch of their tufts
was much softer than silk.
And they had the sweet smell
of fresh butterfly milk.”

= Der Tuff dieser Bäume,
zu meinem Entzücken,
glänzte so seidig
wie Schmetterlingsrücken.

(“The tufts of these trees
to my delight,
shone so silky
as butterfly backs.”)

(Notice they didn’t even attempt butterfly milk!)

And it just feels like we’re losing something:

“In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed,
I took the soft tuft. And I knitted a Thneed!”

= Am Mittag war alles schon ausgepackt,
ein Laden gebaut und ein Baum abgehackt.
Und schneller als schnell, den geschickt war ich auch:
Aus dem kuschligen Tuff strickte ich einen Schnauch.

(“By noon was everything already unpacked,
a shop built and a tree hacked down.
And faster than fast, skillful was I also:
From the cuddly tuft knitted I a Schnauch.”)

I like this page:

“The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I looked.
I saw something pop out of the stump
of the tree I’d chopped down. It was sort of a man.
Describe him?… That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.”

= Und grad war ich fertig, da machte es plumpf!
ich schaute
und sah, etwas sprang aus dem Stumpf —
aus dem Baum, den ich fällte. Es war so ein Mann.
Ihn beschreiben? Ich weiß nicht, ob ich das kann.

The schimpfte und schnauzte line here makes up for a lot:

“He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.”

= Er war kurz, braun und ältlich
und oben bemoost.
Er schimpfte und schnauzte
und machte auf Boss.

(“He was short, brown, and elderly
and over be-mossed.
He grumbled and snarled
and acted the boss.”)

They don’t do badly with this classic line:

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

= Ich sprech’ für die Bäume, den die können’s ja nicht.

(“I speak for the trees, for they cannot.”)

And I do like the Thneed description:

“I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!
Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!”

= Ich mache mich nützlich. Dieses Ding is ein Schnauch.
Und ein Schnauch ist etwas, was jedermann braucht.
Man nimmt ihn als Pulli, als Socke, als Kragen.
Ein Schnauch ist sehr praktisch, sozusagen.
Er geht auch als Teppich und Nackenstütze,
als Vorhang, als Kissen oder Fahrradsitzmütze.

(“I’m making myself useful. This thing is a Schnauch.
And a Schnauch is something, that all people need.
One takes it as a pullover, as a sock, as a collar.
A Thneed is very practical, so to speak.
It goes also as a carpet and neck-rest,
as a curtain, as a cushion or bicycle-seat-cap.”)

And I’ll finish off with some words with far too much truth:

“I laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.”

= Ich lachte: Du Dummkopf, jetzt hör auf zu schnaufen!
Man weiß eben nie, was die Leute so kaufen.

That’s it for this week! In general, the translator, Nadia Budde, did come up with lines that still roll off the tongue.

Sonderling Sunday – Der Lorax

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. And look what I found at Powell’s books in Portland! A copy of Der Lorax!

Lorax

It’s been many weeks since I last did Sonderling Sunday. No, I’m not going to let it fall by the wayside. But I’ve had a busy summer, including a wonderful vacation in Oregon. And I haven’t posted on my website much lately, because this week my computer broke. But I’ve managed to restore the operating system, and I’m hoping to spend my Labor Day restoring files. And fortunately, I can post Sonderling Sunday without having my files back. While I was in Oregon, I visited my oldest son Josh, and we went to Powell’s Books in Portland. I had no idea they had a small German section — and I found Der Lorax.

Later, my younger son Tim and I had a marvelous time taking turns reading pages of the whole thing aloud. He reflected that it’s probably not as hard as you might think to translate Dr. Seuss — a lot of his words are invented, so just invent a word that rhymes as needed. You’ll see what he means….

And the translation is done by Nadia Budde.

I like the places where they had to put words in the pictures. “The Street of the Lifted Lorax” fits much more neatly than Weg des Entschwundenen Lorax.

I can’t resist giving you the entire first page and sentence:

“At the far end of town
where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows…
is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.”

Auf Deutsch:

Am Ende der Stadt,
wo das Mickergras steht
und der Wind fast versauert, wenn er langsam weht,
und außer den Krähen kein Vogel mehr kräht,
liegt der Weg des entschwundenen Lorax.

(“At the end of the city, where the Micker-grass stands
and the wind almost soured, when it slowly goes,
and except the crows no bird more crows,
lies the way of the vanished Lorax.”)

Here the meaning is changed slightly for rhyme:
“What was the Lorax?
And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere…”

= Was war der Lorax?
Warum war er dort?
Und wohin entschwand er? Denn jetzt ist er fort.

(That last line is roughly, “And to where did he disappear? For now he is gone.”)

This translation makes sense:
“Once-ler” = Einstler

Here’s a section that loses a little something in translation:

“You won’t see the Once-ler.
Don’t knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own clothes out of miff-muffered moof.”

= Du wirst ihn nicht sehen
und klopfst lieber nicht.
Er haust ganz oben bei schummrigem Licht.
Er lugt durch die Ritzen. Im kalten Mief
näht er seine Lumpen,
vermuffelt und schief.

(“You will him not see
and knock better not.
He lives at the top in dim light.
He peeks through the cracks. In cold stale air
sews he his rags,
vermuffelt and crooked.”)
Hmm. She didn’t even try to translate “Lerkim.” Not as many made-up words, but it does give the feeling of the Once-ler’s Lerkim.

“And on special dank midnights in August,
he peeks
out of the shutters…”

= Doch an schwülen Tagen um Mitternacht
wird oben der Sehschlitz größer gemacht.

(“But on humid days at midnight
will over the see-slit bigger make.”)

“tin pail” = Eimer

“nail” = Zwecke

“the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail” = das Haus einer Ur-Ur-Ur-Uropaschnecke

Here you can see how it’s changed for the sake of rhyme:
“Then he pulls up the pail,
makes a most careful count
to see if you’ve paid him
the proper amount.”

= Dann zieht er den Eimer
hinauf unters Dach
und zählt seinen Lohn
noch hundertmal nach.

(“Then he pulls the bucket
up to the roof
and counts his reward
a hundred times after.”)

Again, I don’t think the translation has quite the same charm:
“Then he hides what you paid him
away in his Snuvv,
his secret strange hole
in his gruvvulous glove.”

= Dann stopft er das alles
hinein in sein Schmoch:
Im schnorrigen Handschuh
Ein seltsames Loch.

(“Then stuffs he it all
into his Schmoch:
In the schnorrigen glove
A strange hole.”)

“Whisper-ma-phone” = Flüsterfon

SLUPP!
Down slupps the Whisper-ma-phone to your ear
and the old Once-ler’s whispers are not very clear,
since they have to come down
through a snergelly hose,
and he sounds
as if he had smallish bees up his nose.”

= SCHLUPP!
saust das Flüsterfon ran an dein Ohr.
Das Einstler-Genuschel kriecht mühsam durchs Rohr.
Hinab durch die Enge,
und aus seinem Mund
klingt es, als steckten ihm
Hummeln im Schlund.

(“Schlupp!
rushes the Flüsterfon to your ear.
The Einstler-Genuschel crawls laboriously through the tube.
Down through the narrows,
and out of his mouth
sounds it, as if stuck him
Bumblebees in the throat.”)

Ah, and I like this page so much, I have to quote it:

“Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the pond was still wet
and the clouds were still clean,
and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space…
one morning, I came to this glorious place.
And I first saw the trees!
The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.”

= Lang, lang ist es her, noch grün war das Gras,
die Wolken ganz weiß
und der Teich herrlich nass,
und die Schwippschwäne sangen, der Wind trug es fort.
Da kam ich an diesen herrlichen Ort.
Und ich sah die Bäume!
Die Trüffelabäume!
Hier schaukelten sie auf grüner Wiese
die knallbunten Tuffs in der Morgenbrise.

(“Long, long ago, still green was the grass,
the clouds all white
and the pond delightfully wet,
and the Schwipp-swans sang, the wind carried it away.
There came I to this glorious place.
And I saw the trees!
The Trüffela-trees!
Here swayed they on the green meadow
the brightly colored Tuffs in the morning breeze.”)

Well, it’s getting late, and I haven’t gotten very far. So I will save the rest for another day. May you experience grün Gras, weiß Wolken, und ein Teich herrlich nass.