Thursday, June 25, 2009

Star Track, Love Is My

That's how the computer translated "Стар Трек, любовь моя," which is the Russian translation of "Star Trek, My Love."

It's been a delight e-mailing back and forth about the English-Russian translation with "Jean-Luc," the Russian Trekker who asked for a Russian version of my vid.
And interesting: What exactly did I mean "Spock was a bit of a pill" and Kirk seemed "a bit of a dolt"?

And what does "No greater love" mean?

That last one was a bit of trouble.
When I used it, I trusted that most native English speakers would recognize its meaning, even if they didn't know its source. (John 15:13, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.") I wonder if I'm wrong... Anyway, I used it as shorthand, not as a religious reference.

But Jean-Luc tells me that she doesn't know what it means and that Russians know the Beatles better than the Bible. (Just like John Lennon said!)
Should we use the whole quote? she wondered.

No, that would make it specifically Christian, which would be all wrong--the characters are not Christian. (Especially not Spock, which is one reason Trekkies objected to "Amazing Grace" being played at his funeral, though I was OK with that: it was part of Scotty's cultural repertoire, and he had the bagpipes.)

After fretting about another way to say it, I finally realized we could just use the second half of the quote--"he gave his life for his friends". Easy, but it took me more effort to arrive at that than you'd think.

Here's a funny thing. Turns out the way you write "Bluetooth" in Russian is "Bluetooth."


Anonymous said...

HEy! Here're some thoughts on all this..if you're interested... for future intercultural exchanges:
when I read stuff or hear stuff--even if it's all "just in English"--and i don't understand or can't grasp whatever the phrase or word is in context, i sometimes feel a little crazy and will use a dictionary or other source to help. But, if I'm reading in English, and say, there's a quote in Latin,ancient or Koineion Greek, Italian, French, Middle/Old/Elizabethan English or German, I am generally locked out of comprehension, unless i can glean anything resembling such based on my meager Spanish and demotic Greek capabilities. As you know, those abilities don't usually get me very far in the literary world. Then, if it's esoteric vocab. like computer geekspeak or political economic theory, I'm still struggling, but i can look it up.
Since you are Fresca the Goddess of geography books, appendices and gall-bladder surgery recovery, maybe you could compile a sort of cultural reference guide or glossary or annotated versions for some of your creations, so they're ready to go when folks from various language communities want to know sources or essences and references. I mean, now, that you've "finished" your Slovakia--(sorry, I thought you were doing Slovenia!)--project up to this point, you've oodles of time! Right!?! I've got lots of other tales and thoughts on this, but i'll save it for a lunch or tea date.
As I bid you adieu, I wonder how veriword of the moment "fackin" would translate in the Russian, or any other language. One can only grin at what it conjures up in English!



fresca said...

Yikes! THAT would be a mammoth undertaking! Anyway, it already exists--it's called Google. : )

Anonymous said...

Whoops! I always forget about this, being a Luddite and all. But, sometimes when I google stuff, there is the feeling of still missing something...'tho I suppose, that sometimes happens even when there's someone familiar with whatever explaining firsthand...depends on how far removed from, or anxious I feel about whatever the phrase or reference is. Please keep creating and sharing!


fresca said...

Of course, you're right, Stef--we are each a world, and a person's associations with a cultural reference is particular to them--to understand Shakespeare, it's not enough to look up his words and phrases...
Fun stuff.