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Old 04-07-2002, 03:23 PM   #1
nocke7
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Question Different editions of LOTR?

In an futile attempt to improve my long forgotten French I´ve tried to read a French pocket edition of LOTR along with my old English edition from 1962. I was surprised to find some differences, indicating that the French book must have been translated from a slightly different version of the book.
For example, in the chapter "Many partings", just after the encounter with Saruman, my version goes like this [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]Gandalf):
"-All the same, I am not sure that Treebeard is right: I fancy he could do some mischief still in a small mean way."
And then, in the French version follows this:
"Le lendemain, ils poursuivrent leur route dans le nord du Pays de Dun, où ne demeuraient plus d´hommes, bien que ce fût une région verdoyante et agréable. Septembre venait avec ses jours dorés et ses nuits argentées, et ils chevauchèrent tranquillement jusqu´au moment où ils atteignirent la Rivière des Cygnes; ils trouvèrent alors l´ancien Gué, à l´est des chutes par lesquelles elle descendait dans une brume les marais et les ilôts parmi lesquels elles serpentait jusqu´au Flot Gris : lá d´innombrables cygnes gitaient parmi les roseaux.
Ils passèrent ainsi en Eregion et enfin vint une belle aurore, qui rayonnait au-dessus de brumes chatôyantes; et, regardant de leur camp sur une colline peu élevée, les voyageurs virent le Soleil dans l´Est lointain sur trois cimes qui se dressaient dans le ciel à travers les nuages flottants : le Caradhras,......"
In my English version Gandalf's words are followed by only this:
"September came in with golden days and silver nights. At last a fair morningdawned, shimmering above gleaming mists; and looking from a their camp on a low hill the travellers saw away in the east the Sun catching three peaks that thrust up into the sky throughfloating clouds: Caradhras....."
I wonder if anyone could tell where the French version comes from. Is it from the original edition, or something added in a later edition than mine? As far as I remember I haven't read about the "Swan River" anywhere else, or seen the name on any map. (But evidently it's the name of the tributary to Greyflood that comes from the gate of Moria). I hope I'm excused for not trying to translate the French text back into Tolkien's English. As You can see it's not even my native language, but I doubt I would have dared to do so anyway.
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Old 04-09-2002, 07:51 AM   #2
Orodhromeus
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Do NOT try to make sense out of the French edition. It will be hard to find any worse translatoin in the literary world. And I'm not harsh enough. The number of sentences cut, brackets forgotten, names badly spelled, inconsistencies in translation, etc, etc, is too great to be given a reasonable number. I'd leave the french edition alone until someone tries to translate it again with more success I hope. Enjoy LotR in other languages.
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Old 04-09-2002, 08:08 PM   #3
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Ah... The French edition was NOT... I REPEAT... NOT from a different version. Some English words had to be adapted to French from The LOTR. Because the French didn't have words for some of our English, they had to put something in that would make sense to those who read it. That's your answer.
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"'Hold it up!' said Gandalf. 'And look closely.'
As Frodo did so, he now saw fine lines, finer than the finest pen-strokes, running along the ring, outside and inside: lines of fire that seemed to form the letters of a flowing script. They shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth.
'I cannot read the fiery letters,' said Frodo in a quavering voice.
'No,' said Gandalf, 'but I can. The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But this in the Common Tongue is what is said, close enough:
One Ring to Bring them all and in the darkness bind them.'"
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Old 04-10-2002, 06:42 AM   #4
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They didn't even try hard enough! A french translation could be done much better. With such a translation as the current, no wonder there are not as many Tolkien fans as in the UK. BTW, only HoME 1&2 have been translated to English. And yes, there was only one source for the translation.
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Old 04-10-2002, 09:18 AM   #5
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I have never come across a version of LOTR in an international (i.e. not Engish) language. It would be interesting to (try and) read. Anyone know where I can get one?
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Old 04-10-2002, 11:40 AM   #6
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It's hard for me to have any opinion of the quality of the French translation. For me it was just hard to read, lacking any kind of the life,taste and smell that I love so much in Tolkiens own language. The reason for that could of course quite simply be my deficient knowledge of French.
But obviously the example I've given can't just be a matter of translation. The passage in French that I have shown (almost) doesn't have any correspondence in my English version (you should be able to see that for yourself,if you know any French). It would be interesting if you who say otherwise could give the English version of my French passage, and tell me which edition or impression your English text comes from.
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