Posts Tagged ‘translating’

Poor Neglected Word

August 21, 2015
I found myself looking for the Esperanto word for ‘cleat‘ and discovered that there really wasn’t one, except for the kind on a boat.  In English I found at least 11 definitions for cleat, so I set out to fill in the blanks.

Well, I got them all today, although one use of the word is very obscure, it has something to do with a wedge on a scythe or a plow.  Not even a picture showing it did I find! Ah well, a wedge in any language is a wedge. I’m including my findings below:

Cleat (noun):

  1. fiks-tabul(et)o; ligtabul(et)o = strip of wood, metal, etc., fastened across a surface, as of a plank or series of adjacent planks, for strength or support.
  2. ŝnurfiksilo; bit(et)o = device consisting of two hornlike prongs projecting horizontally in opposite directions from a central base, used for securing lines on vessels, wharves, etc.
  3. (ŝu)planduma butono = one of a number of projecting pieces of metal, rubber, or other material on the sole of a shoe, designed to prevent the wearer from losing their footing.
  4. (bicikla) pedalkrampo = attachment for the sole of a cyclist’s shoe which clips on to a pedal, keeping the foot in place while cycling and increasing the application of force to the pedal.
  5. paŝŝtupo = strip of metal, wood, or the like, fastened across a surface, as a ramp or gangway, to provide sure footing.
  6. ŝuplat(et)o? = metal plate fastened to the sole or heel of a shoe, to protect against wear.
  7. (vitrada) trianguleto – small triangular-shaped nail used in glazing.
  8. kablofiksilo = cable restraint device installed at intervals to secure and protect cables.
  9. karbovejn-fendo = any of the main cleavage planes in a coal seam.
  10. kojn(et)o = small wedge, especially one on a plow or scythe.
  11. ludkampŝuo(j)’; golfŝuo(j); futbalŝuo(j); piedpilkoŝuo(j); ktp = athletic shoes with a cleated sole, typically used when playing football.

Asking vs Thinking when Translating

October 2, 2014

I’ve been putting up past projects and labeled tool diagrams on my Esperanto woodworking blog, Ligneroj. As I translate some of the woodworking terms, sometimes I get stuck.  What’s more is that sometimes none of my dictionaries are of any help, I have at least half a dozen, plus a few online sources. When this happens I have the choice of thinking harder, or of asking around of other Esperantists.

The problem is that the other Esperantists don’t tend to be of a technical or hands on mindset so I usually either get something that doesn’t fit the purpose, or a back wash from the way-too-jargon-ish Esperanto picture dictionary. I’m trying to do the write ups for my old woodworking projects in such a way that non-woodworkers have a chance of knowing what I’m saying.  I don’t want to call the threads on a rod ‘helicaj kaneletoj‘ (helical little channels) I want to call them ‘ŝraŭbaĵoj‘ (threads of a screw).

It reminds me of when I took a course in AutoCAD. The text book gave a very techy explanation of what a circle was like ‘a line inscribed a certain distance from a fixed point.’  Most of the time I just needed an answer like ‘a circle is round.’

So today I realized that I needed an Esperanto name for a Thumb Piano.  It’s also called a kalimba.  I had two choices, bring ‘Kalimba’ into Esperanto via the 15th rule of grammar, making it ‘Kalimbo’ or thinking harder for something more descriptive.

Doing some research, I found that the thumb piano came exclusively from the continent of Africa.  More research showed me that a similar instrument, a jaw harp is already named in Esperanto (buŝharpo), thus reinforcing my idea that a ‘Harpo‘ in Esperanto isn’t absolutely restricted to large triangular objects with plucked strings. I always say that Esperanto is a poetic language mistakenly labeled as logical. Calling it ‘Logical’ brings to mind emotionless Mr. Spock. It’s truer to say the language is regular in its grammar.

So I decided the Thumb piano would best be named an African Harp, ‘Afrika Harpo‘.  At least it’s better than the total head scratching that would be brought on by calling it a ‘Kalimbo’ out of the blue with no further description. If  I’d asked others, I’m sure eventually the answers would devolve into how that musical instrument actually has about 15 names depending on where in Africa you were.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called a 'Afrika Harpo'.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called an ‘Afrika Harpo‘.

Translating for Subtitles

November 28, 2013

This year is the fourth time I’ve helped translate the dialog of a Mimiverse film for subtitles and a voice dub. The first time I was asked to do this, I looked around the internet for hints and tips about this process and I found absolutely nothing of help.  It reminds me of the first time I looked for information on the Sussex Branch of the Lackawanna Railroad.  There was only sparse inforation available onlne.

So this being my fourth time, I thought I’d tell others in the wide world how we do it. The process seems to have been honed down pretty well.

First and foremost, I want it clear that I am not the leader of this process.  I a merely a worker bee. George Baker is my Teamestro.

These translations are done for Christpher Mihm, who annually writes, casts, films, directs, edits, etc. a B-movie style film.  He has 8 films under his belt, but only the last 3 have subtitles and voice dubs in Esperanto. The current project is actually a double feature of two short films!

Step 1: The Translating

After Mr. Mihm finalizes the script he sends it along to George. George places the screenplay into a table which gives us room to add the translations side by side. He distributes the scenes to the team via a link to Dropbox.  There seems to be four of us translating this time.  I’m priviliged to be among movers and shakers in Esperantujo, though I’ve never met any of them face to face.

First we have to count the syllables in the english lines.  This is done to give us a target number of syllables for our translation. Closely matching the syllable count between the two languages helps avoid the ‘Godzilla Effect’ where the actors mouths either stop too soon or keep moving, not matching the spoken lines.

 

FADE IN  
SCENE 12 – Thick brush on outskirts of native village.  
The group stop on the outskirts of a native village. Hearing something in the thicket, Elijah whispers to call Thorn to him.  
1201     Elijah     4 3
Thorn, get up here. Thorn, venu,
Thorn approaches the form, making some soothing vocalizations. Shengek, seeing the native rise, gasps.  Glorin makes an observation.  
1202     Gloria     4 5
It looks human. Aspektas homa.
As Thorn tries to wave them to silence, Eloe mutters.  
1203     Elijah    3 3
Uwo Vhaim! Uvoŭ Vejm!
The native takes off for the village.  
1204     Thorn     1 2
Damn! Damne!
Elijah consults his watch.  
1205     Elijah     55 49
We’re very close to the village. Looks like we’re dealing with humans.

We’ll approach the village slowly. I’ll lead. Lt. Thorn will be right behind me. Your friend might recognize you. Mike, you bring up the rear and watch the ladies.

La vilaĝo tre proksimas. Verŝajne temas pri homoj.

Ni alproksimiĝos la vilaĝon malrapide. Mi antaŭiros.  Leŭtenanto Thorn tuj sekvos.

Via amiko eble rekonos vin. Mike, vi postsekvu kaj prizorgu la virinojn.

Above is a fictitious example of how our script is laid out. The lines are numbered by a code consisting of the scene numer (here 12) with the line number added to it (1201, 1202…)  We do not translate the scene descriptions, just the spoken lines.  Also, the names are not Esperantized.  In most cases this would add syllables and become prolematic.

When translating the lines, it’s not so important to render it word for word, but rather carry over the essence of the line in such a way that it avoids very wooden speech, and closely matches the syllable count of the English.  Sometimes the English has many ‘flavor words’ that can be discarded in the translation.  Other times there are so few syllables in the English that one has to really think to render a similar meaning.  Trying to preserve a play on words or a joke is usually all but impossible. Someties this is solved by usung a proverb from the Proverbaro.

Shorter lines I can usually do on the fly, matching the syllables fairly well. Since Esperanto is usually spoken a little less clipped than English, it’s better to come in a syllable or two short than over, but we do go over 1 or 2 as needed.  Longer lines I routinely translate on paper and then take account of the syllables.  If I’m over, I go through and see what can be rephrased or clipped.  As long as the essence of the lines remains, it’s OK.

Step 2: Proofing

We submit our work back to George and wait.  The translations get a once over by George, then we are assigned scenes to proofread.  Sometimes there are quandraries that must be worked out. There may be a stylistic error, or a convention established in an earlier scene may need to be brought forward to later ones or one from a later scene carried back to earlier ones.

Step 3: Assigning Parts

When the translation is finalized, George offers a part to the voice actors. There are more voice actors than translators and usually those willing get to voice act the same corresponding English-speaking actor.  Last time this landed me in the lead male role.  I was happy to do it, and glad I got through it.

George tells us which scenes to read (aloud).  I use Audacity to record my line. My microphone is one I bought from Walmart for about $20 and it’s surprisingly sensitive. (I once had to reread a few lines because it picked up my wife playing the piano upstairs while I was recording.)

When we record each line, we begin by stating the film name, the character name, our name and the line numer we are reading.  We then read the line at least twice with slightly different inflections. (I usually have to redo a few because I either slur something or speak too deliberately.)

The sound files are uploaded to a folder on Dropbox after being made into mp3 files, (Audacity makes them WAV files by default.)

From here the process becomes fuzzy.  I know that George and a compatriot do some sound editing before the files are sent to Mr. Mihm before being added to the film.

Step 4: Subtitles, etc.

Last year George had us go over the text for the subtitles as well. He also had us help with an Esperanto version of the fil trailer, which is cool when it appears on YouTube.

The films always premier on or before Memorial Day and I usually receive my complimentary copy of the film a day or two after the premier.  To me that compensation is enough because I also get enjoyment from the translating and recording. I also smile to myself for helping to add something that Esperantists enjoy watching.  The films are usually shown at the main Esperanto conventions around he world each summer.

 

 

Wolves of the Beyond #1

May 26, 2013

The Latest of my back cover translations:

Wolves of the Beyond

Lone Wolf

A Destiny Written in the Stars

By Katheryn Lasky

Lupoj de la Preterejo

Sola Lupo

Destino Skribita en la Steloj

lone wolf En la severa sovagejo preter la striga mondo de Ga’Hul, lupopatrino kaŝas en timo. Ŝia novnaskita ido, tamen sana, havas torditan piedon.  La patrino scias la striktan leĝojn de sia speco. La luparo ne toleras malfortecon. Ŝia ido estas forlasenda ĉe glacia riverbordo – kondamnita al morto.

Sed sola en la arbaro, la lupeto, Faolan, faras la nepenseblan;  li pluvivas. Jen la historio de Faolan, la historio de kuraĝa lupeto kiu leviĝas por ĉiam ŝanĝi la lupoj de la preterejo.

Howard will have a New Jersey Accent in Esperanto

February 21, 2013

giant-spider01I was honored to be asked to voice the hero in Christopher Mihm’s lasted movie, The Giant Spider. I, of course am voicing the Esperanto version of the hero, Howard.  Since I’m born and bred here in New Jersey, I cannot help but have a New Jersey accent in my Esperanto speaking.  Hopefully it won’t be too obvious.

At this point the Esperanto translation has been completed, mulled over a bit and finalized.  My character has over 150 lines, so I got an earlier start than my samprojektanoj.  My Esperanto task-master, George Baker occasionally asks that I redo a few lines because I didn’t quite get the essence of how they should be spoken.  That is that because I need to mimic the tone of the English, I sometimes get it not quite right.

Still, this is a fun process from which I’m sure to reap benefits:  translating, English into Esperanto, B-Movie style English, can be challenging, plus the idea that our word choices cannot be too obscure else we lose the listening audience of avid Esperantists around the world.  Having spoken almost all my lines, I’ve found that reading the lines out loud after translating would be a good idea.  I’ve found a few wicked tongue twisters for which I might have chosen alternate words. I’ll have to bring that up next year, presuming Mr. Mihm continues making bi-lingual films.

The movie comes out in May and even if you don’t know Esperanto, the English version is great viewing and fun as well.

Next Mihm Movie to have Esperanto Translation–Again!

December 16, 2012

giant_spiderI got a very nice and appropriate surprise yesterday, December 15 which is also (among Esperantists) the birthday of Dr. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto. In my email I got a request from George Baker, my Tradukestro to help translate and have a voice role in Christopher Mihm’s next movie, The Giant Spider.

I was very glad to get this news as I had thought we (the esperantists) were being passed over on this film.  For Mr. Mihm’s last one, House of Ghosts we were on the job over the summer.  When nothing was said of our involvement this year, I felt, OK we’re out this time.

Chris Mihm evidently likes getting orders from all over the world from Esperanto fan everywhere.  I’m sure this translation will be of the great quality as the House of Ghosts.  Well, George is cracking the whip, so I better dig out my dictionaries…

New Mihm Movie has Esperanto Voice Track

June 2, 2012

Christopher Mihm’s new movie, House of Ghosts has just come out and has an Esperanto voice track as well as subtitles. This is the second Mihmiverse movie to include Esperanto, the first being Attack of the Moon Zombies.

Even though I was on the translation team for this movie, as well as a voice actor, I was thrilled to hear the good quality of the Esperanto voice track in this film. The translation is also of better quality due to our having our anasoj  in a row.  For this film, we were told to match the syllable count of the English as closely as possible to avoid the Japanese affliction of dialog continuing way after the lips stopping.

this necessitated a little creative translating on our part.  We couldn’t just translate the lines word for word. We had to  capture the essence of the line and find a way to put it in Esperanto. Sometimes this wasn’t so easy, but I think we did a great job in the end.

Mr. Mihm has himself started learning Esperanto, so it’s very possible this tradition of Esperanto dubs for his films will continue.  If you’d be interested in joining our team of translators or voice actors contact me at nj.esperantist.com and I’ll pass your name to our team leader.

If you’re interested in securing a copy of this movie, drop by Sainteuphoria.com

I Coached the Shat in Esperanto (sort of)

August 24, 2011

In October there is a new book coming out by William Shatner. Within the book is about a page and a half of Esperanto text, (I have no idea why.) For the audiobook version, I was asked to write out a phonetic pronunciation of the Esperanto for the reader, (Shatner himself!) This was a fun gig and … (I actually got paid to exercise my Esperantic mental muscle.)

For those who would rush out and pre-order the audiobook just to hear the Shat speak Esperanto, you should know there is no guarantee the Shat followed my humble advice.

Ghostly Film with Esperanto Dub is in the Works

August 11, 2011

Christopher Mihm’s next film is now in pre-production. His last film Attack of the Moon Zombies, included an Esperanto soundtrack recorded by volunteer Esperantists across the U.S.  This coming production will also have an Esperanto Dub track and I have been asked to be on the team of Translators. Hura! The quality of this translation and dub should be of even better quality than the last because we’re already more organized.  The last project we admittedly just dove right into. If you’re at least adequate in Esperanto and want to help, I can put you in touch with our project leader, George Baker.

Esperanto Tomtom Update

May 2, 2011

Well, After creating Havoc at the Lernu Forums for over a week and Asking several Esteemed colleagues their opinions. I’ve finally settled on what I believe to be the best translation of the needed Tomtom voice commands. The biggest bone of contention was how to express the idea of ‘U-Turn’ in Esperanto. Who would have thought such a concept could create so much malpaco?

So I’m now recording my voice speaking each of the commands as required, hoping that the tone of my voice will mesh together with the way the Tomtom puts things together in a sentence. f not, I’ll make corrections. I’ll be making possibly 3 versions of this voice, which I’ll be naming ‘Dachjo‘ The first version will use ‘maldekstren‘ for the purists. The second will use ‘liven‘ for those who in the heat of driving while lost can’t always hear the ‘mal‘ but only catch the ‘dekstren‘. The third version will be more comical (presuming I can think of something funny to do with it.)