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Subject: Are you good in English? Can you help me? rss

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Laszlo Molnar
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Hi all,

Today I've been working on a translation. The author of Krysis is working on a new game that is loosely based on and uses the graphics of a popular ('70s) funny graphic novel (it's a comic adaptation) that is based on a popular funny pulp fiction from 1940. The game is in final testing phases but it looks promising so we're trying to show it to some English language publishers as well. For this they might/sould be interested in the comic book and just to show what the style of the comic book is, I have translated its first 3 pages to English. But I do think it would be important to have these sentences right so... can you help me and point out my grammar mistakes, also offer suggestions where and what I should change in the translation?

Thank you very much in advance.

So the translation looks like this:

Quote:
(the drawing shows the location: it’s at the door of a bar in a not so safe part of a little town, during the night.)

‘Sir! I’ve come for my knife!’
‘Where did you leave it?’
‘In some sailor… This good knife was a rarity with steel blade. Haven’t you seen it?’
‘Let me think, please… Bit by bit… What was its handle made of?’
‘Shell. It was made of one piece.’
‘Then there’s no problem. We have the knife!’
‘Where?’
‘In my back…’

‘Is this the one? The barman told me what a nice one I have in me. A piece of a shell rarity of 8 inches.’
‘That’s it, thank you. I would have really regretted it. Now if you mind…’
‘Don’t pull it out! The barman said I should leave the knife there until he arrives with the doctor, otherwise I will bleed to death. The bartender is adept at this, even a doctor was killed here*. It’s an old restaurant.’
‘But I’m in a hurry, please! You can’t expect me to go home without a knife in the night.’
‘If you kept stabbing, sir, well, then hold the sack!’
‘Just because a knife was prodded into you, you don’t possess the right to keep it… It’s vigilantism!
But you know what? I do have a heart, I help you out of trouble. I pull my knife out of you, and replace it with another one. This kitchen knife will do until the doctor arrives.’
‘All right. But it mustn’t be smaller than yours in order to lock the wound! As health is the most important thing, you know… ‘
Even the successful operation doesn’t zing up the sad victim. He reveals himself after the young man’s commiserating inquiry. His name is Hobbs and he’s quartermaster on a luxury steamship called Honolulu Star which departs to Tahiti at dawn. However, the headcount of the usable crew members has strongly decreased because of a certain hard-fisted youngster, an incident that the steward keenly passes remarks on.
‘Sir, you have knocked down twelve of my seamen.’
‘The liqueur cupboard fell on one of them, that wasn’t my fault.’
‘That was the head stoker!’
‘How would a liqueur cupboard know that?’
‘And there is the ship waiter on the ground. Where can I find a ship waiter now?’
‘I’m sorry that you have recruited such a weak crew – the stripling-faced answers cheekily, then – free from care – he exits through the door…’

The quartermaster sadly claps and he also leaves the battlefield. On the way to the harbor Mr. Hobbs – not without ulterior motives – initiates a convivial talk.
‘Young man! Would you please check if the knife is located correctly in the wound? This kind of stab shouldn’t be neglected. Maybe it’s bleeding inward…’
‘It’s not too likely. I could not stab you from there.’
‘True… What’s your name?’
‘Jimmy the Grin.’
‘I happen to have an idea you can earn lots of money with, Mr. Grin… Have you ever been out to the sea?’
‘You ask stupid questions… I’ve been to two expeditions with captain Byrd as a stripling!’
‘What kind of writings do you have?’
‘Cursive… I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned writing from a quartermaster!’ ‘Moron!’
‘That’s true! But clever quartermasters are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have documents… Er… But after all, you do want to work, don’t you?’
‘No, I don’t. Viz. I have lost my persuasion.’
‘And how did it come about?’
‘I stole a checked topcoat last year in Naples, and ever since I felt I am an inborn lord. I’ve come to the decision I will not work anymore.’
‘Did you work before?’
‘No. But I lacked decision.’
‘Look… I need a ship waiter and a stoker, otherwise I’m fired. So listen to me: I have the documents of the waiter and the stoker with me. Substitute them. You could do the work of both. I’ve rarely seen such a strong buffalo.’
‘You get no change out of flattery!’
‘But maybe of something else. The salary of two men from here to Tahiti is practically a kind of substance. You stoke for half a day, you wait at tables half a day. No one would know the stoker and the waiter is the same person.’
‘And when would I sleep?’
‘Well, when we have arrived in Tahiti. I’m exaggerating if I say it’s five weeks… So… Do you come?’
After they shake hands, Mr. Hobbs proceeds going to the docks, surprisingly briskly from a moribund. Jimmy follows him whistling …
‘So I mind you: you’re Wilson Hutchins American stoker in the night and José Pombio Spanish waiter during the day!... Do you speak Spanish?’
‘I only know the name of some appetizers… It’s enough to make myself more or less clear.’

*That sentence is awkward this way I guess. The original has more or less these words but it means something like “it’s such an old place that there were so many murders here that even a doctor was killed someday”
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(the drawing shows the location: it’s at the door of a bar in a not so safe part of a little town, during the night.)

‘Sir! I’ve come for my knife!’
‘Where did you leave it?’
‘In some sailor. It was a good knife with a steel blade, and very rare. Have you seen it?’
‘Let me think, please. Hmmm... What was its handle made of?’
‘Shell. It was made from a single piece.’
‘Then there’s no problem. We have the knife!’
‘Where?’
‘In my back…’

‘Is this the one? The barman told me what a nice one was stuck in me. About 8 inches, with a rare piece of a shell.’
‘That’s it, thank you. I would have really regretted losing it. Now if you don't mind...’
‘Don’t pull it out! The barman said I should leave the knife there until he arrives with the doctor, otherwise I will bleed to death. The bartender is adept at this. It’s an old restaurant and one time, even a doctor was killed here.’
‘But I’m in a hurry! Please! You can’t expect me to go home in the dark without a knife.’

‘If you kept stabbing, sir, well, then hold the sack!’
This sentence means nothing to me. Hold the sack?


‘Just because a knife was stuck into you, doesn't give you the right to keep it. That’s theft! But you know what? I do have a heart, so I help you out. I will pull my knife out of you, and replace it with another one. This kitchen knife will do until the doctor arrives.’
‘All right. But it mustn’t be smaller than yours in order to keep the wound closed! My health is the most important thing, you know... ‘

But even the successful operation doesn’t perk up the unhappy victim. The young man commiserates the sailor who reveals that his name is Hobbs. He's the steward on a luxury steamship, called Honolulu Star, which departs to Tahiti at dawn. However, crew numbers are badly down because of a certain hard-fisted youngster, an incident that the steward remarks on keenly.

‘Sir, you have knocked down twelve of my seamen.’
‘The liqueur cupboard fell on one of them, that wasn’t my fault.’
‘That was the head stoker!’
‘How would a liqueur cupboard know that?’
‘And there is the ship's waiter on the ground. Where can I find a ship's waiter now?’
‘I’m sorry that you have recruited such a weak crew', the youth answers cheekily, then, free from care, he leaves quickly through the door.

The steward sighs and he also leaves the battlefield, following the lad. On the way to the harbour, Mr. Hobbs, not without ulterior motives, starts chatting with the youth again.

‘Young man! Would you please check if the knife is located correctly in the wound? This kind of stabbing shouldn’t be neglected. Maybe I have internal bleeding.’
‘It’s not likely. I wouldn't stab you like that.’
‘True. What’s your name?’
‘Jimmy the Grin.’
‘Well Mr. Grin, I have an idea how you can earn lots of money. Have you ever been out to sea?’
‘You ask a stupid question. I’ve been on two expeditions already with Captain Byrd!’

‘How good is your hand-writing?’
‘I can do proper joined-up writing. I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned writing from a steward like you!’
‘Moron!’
‘It’s true! But clever stewards are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have right documents… Er… But after all, you do want to work, don’t you?’
‘No, I don’t. I have lost interest in work.’
‘How come?’
‘I stole a checked topcoat last year in Naples, and ever since, I felt I am a real Lord. So, I’ve come to the decision that I will not work anymore.’
‘Did you work before?’
‘No. But I lacked decision.’
‘Look… I need a ship's waiter and a stoker, otherwise I’m fired. So listen to me: I have the documents of the waiter and the stoker with me. Substitute them. You could do the work of both. I’ve rarely seen such a strong buffalo.’
‘You'll get no change out of flattery!’
‘But maybe out of something else. The salary of two men from here to Tahiti is pretty solid. You stoke for half a day, you wait at tables half a day. No one would know that the stoker and the waiter is the same person.’
‘And when would I sleep?’
‘Well, when we have arrived in Tahiti. I’m exaggerating if I say it’s five weeks. So... do you want the job?’

After they shake hands, Mr. Hobbs goes on to the docks, surprisingly briskly from one so close to death. Jimmy follows him, whistling.

‘So, mind you: by night, you’re Wilson Hutchins, an American stoker. In the daytime. you are José Pombio, the Spanish waiter!... Do you speak Spanish?’
‘I only know the name of some appetizers… It’s enough to make myself more or less clear.’
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Laszlo, you have used very good English, but the style is very formal and a little old fashioned. Older than the 1940s, I mean. No disrespect intended! But I was wondering if the story is meant to be set in the past, as the steam ship suggests, which would make it appropriate. Are the people meant to be British, or American, or what? That would affect what slang and grammar they would use. American grammar has some significant differences in the phrasing.

I've done a quick pass at it, above, with some small changes. But I've kept the language mostly as you've done it. I could re-write it keeping the same story, but get it down tighter and more natural.
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Laszlo Molnar
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According to my dictionary,
"Hold the sack" = "pay the piper" = something about the knowing and enduring the consequences. How would you put it?
 
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Laszlo Molnar
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The style is kind of intentional. They did sound old-fashioned even in the 1940s. The main characters are not really high-educated people, they are dirty and poor but with style. I guess they speak in a way they think rich gentlemen and the intellectuals do.

Thank you for any changes, other change suggestions are also welcome!
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lacxox wrote:
Quote:
(the drawing shows the location: it’s at the door of a bar, in a not very safe part of a little town, during the night.)

‘Sir! I’ve come for my knife!’
‘Where did you leave it?’
‘In some sailor… The good knife was a rare and had a steel blade. Haven’t you seen it?’
‘Let me think, please. It's coming to me... What was its handle made of?’
‘Shell. It was made of one piece.’
‘Then there’s no problem. We have the knife!’
‘Where?’
‘In my back…’

‘Is this the one? The barman told me what a nice one I have stuck in me. A rare piece of a shell, rarity eight inches long.’
‘That’s it! Thank you. I would have really regretted to have lost it. Now if you don't mind…’
‘Don’t pull it out! The barman said I should leave the knife there until he arrives with the doctor, otherwise I will bleed to death. The bartender is about as good as a surgeon -- this place has such a bad history that even a doctor was murdered here!-- Not sure what you mean exactly here. Can you try to reword it? Then I'll have another try with it.
‘But I’m in a hurry, please! You can’t expect me to go home without a knife at night.’
‘If you kept stabbing, sir, well, then hold the sack!’-- Not sure what you mean exactly here. Can you try to reword it? Then I'll have another try with it.
‘Just because a knife was stuck into you doesn't give you the right to keep it… It’s vigilantism! -- "Vigilantism" doesn't work here. Do you want "thievery?"
But you know what? I do have a heart. I'll give you a hand. How about I pull my knife out of you, and replace it with another one? This kitchen knife will have to do until the doctor arrives.’
‘All right. But it mustn’t be smaller than yours in order to secure the wound! As health is the most important thing, you know… ‘
Even the successful operation doesn’t cheer up the sad victim. He reveals himself after the young man’s commiserating inquiry. His name is Hobbs and he’s quartermaster on a luxury steamship called the Honolulu Star, which departs to Tahiti at dawn. However, the headcount of the usable crew members has strongly decreased because of a certain hard-fisted youngster, an incident that the steward keenly passes remarks on.
‘Sir, you have knocked down twelve of my seamen.’
‘The liqueur cupboard fell on one of them; that wasn’t my fault.’
‘That was the head stoker!’
‘How would a liqueur cupboard know that?’
‘And there is the ship's waiter is on the ground. Where can I find another one ship waiter now?’
‘I’m sorry that you have recruited such a weak crew," the stripling-faced answers cheekily, then – free from care – he exits through the door…

The quartermaster sadly claps, and he also leaves the battlefield. On the way to the harbor, Mr. Hobbs – not without ulterior motives – initiates a convivial talk.
Say there, young man! Would you please check to be sure that the knife is located correctly positioned in the wound? This kind of stab shouldn’t be neglected. Maybe it’s bleeding inward…’
‘It’s not too likely. I could not stab you from there.’
‘True… What’s your name?’
‘Jimmy the Grin.’
‘I happen to have a plan that will earn you a lot of money, Mr. Grin… Have you ever been out to the sea?’
‘You ask stupid questions… I’ve been on two expeditions with captain Byrd as a stripling!’
‘What kind of penmanship do you have?’
‘Cursive… I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned to write from a quartermaster!’ ‘Moron!’
‘That’s true! But clever quartermasters are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have documents… Er… But after all, you do want to work, don’t you?’
‘No, I don’t. I've lost my will.’
And how did it come about? Why?
‘I stole a checked topcoat last year in Naples, and ever since I felt that I was an inborn lord. I’ve come to the decision I will not work anymore.’
‘Did you work before?’
‘No. But I hadn't made that decision.’
‘Look… I need a ship waiter and a stoker, otherwise I’m fired. So listen to me: I have the documents of the waiter and the stoker with me. Substitute them. You could do the work of both. I’ve rarely seen such a strong buffalo.’-- buffalo?
Flattery will get you no where!’
How about this. I'll give you the salary of two men from here to Tahiti. is practically a kind of substance. You stoke for half a day, you wait at tables half a day. No one would know that the stoker and the waiter are the same person.’
‘And when would I sleep?’
‘Well, when we have arrived in Tahiti. I’m exaggerating if I say it’s five weeks… So… Do you come?’
After they shake hands, Mr. Hobbs proceeds going to the docks, surprisingly briskly from a moribund. -- Not sure what you mean exactly here. Can you try to reword it? Then I'll have another try with it.

Jimmy follows him whistling …
Just remember: you’re Wilson Hutchins, the American stoker at night and José Pombio, the Spanish waiter during the day!... Do you speak Spanish?’
‘I only know the name of some appetizers… It’s enough to make myself more or less clear.’

*That sentence is awkward this way I guess. The original has more or less these words but it means something like “it’s such an old place that there were so many murders here that even a doctor was killed someday”


Also, please change out single quotes for double quotes, as such: " "

 
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It's probably British English. The location is at some colony; somewhere in India or Indonesia I think, but the characters are probably from Great Britain and as they want to sound intellectual they must be using some sort of British English.
 
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amwiles wrote:

Also, please change out single quotes for double quotes, as such: " "

Actually it's a comic book so quotes won't be used, I just used them for this text version, but thanks!
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lacxox wrote:
According to my dictionary,
"Hold the sack" = "pay the piper" = something about the knowing and enduring the consequences. How would you put it?


If it's supposed to be slightly archaic, use "pay the piper". No one really uses that anymore, but at least it has some meaning.

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amwiles wrote:
lacxox wrote:
According to my dictionary,
"Hold the sack" = "pay the piper" = something about the knowing and enduring the consequences. How would you put it?


If it's supposed to be slightly archaic, use "pay the piper". No one really uses that anymore, but at least it has some meaning.


And what would you use now for the same? Pay the price?
 
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amwiles wrote:

‘Just because a knife was stuck into you doesn't give you the right to keep it… It’s vigilantism! -- "Vigilantism" doesn't work here. Do you want "thievery?"

The original version uses a single word that means "taking the law/justice into one's hands". If there is no good word or short expression for this I will use thievery but that takes some fun away from the original.
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philomars wrote:

‘What kind of writings do you have?’
‘Cursive… I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned writing from a quartermaster!’
‘Moron!’
‘That’s true! But clever quartermasters are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have documents, but…

In every other corrected versions the original meaning was lost. This part of the dialogue is some kind of pun in the original: Hobbs asks about Jimmy's 'writings' meaning 'documents' but Jimmy misuderstands the question so he provides answer about his writing abilities. Of course puns are hard to be translated... Can it get better than this?
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lacxox wrote:
amwiles wrote:
lacxox wrote:
According to my dictionary,
"Hold the sack" = "pay the piper" = something about the knowing and enduring the consequences. How would you put it?


If it's supposed to be slightly archaic, use "pay the piper". No one really uses that anymore, but at least it has some meaning.


And what would you use now for the same? Pay the price?


Yeah, I think "pay the price" would be good. Maybe "get your comeuppance", depending on the circumstance.

lacxox wrote:
amwiles wrote:

‘Just because a knife was stuck into you doesn't give you the right to keep it… It’s vigilantism! -- "Vigilantism" doesn't work here. Do you want "thievery?"

The original version uses a single word that means "taking the law/justice into one's hands". If there is no good word or short expression for this I will use thievery but that takes some fun away from the original.


Maybe "Finders Keepers doesn't apply!"

Or there's a word or phrase that means to be very nitpicky about the law, but I can't think of what it is. Perhaps that's what you want? Maybe someone else knows it...


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lacxox wrote:
philomars wrote:

‘What kind of writings do you have?’
‘Cursive… I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned writing from a quartermaster!’
‘Moron!’
‘That’s true! But clever quartermasters are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have documents, but…

In every other corrected versions the original meaning was lost. This part of the dialogue is some kind of pun in the original: Hobbs asks about Jimmy's 'writings' meaning 'documents' but Jimmy misuderstands the question so he provides answer about his writing abilities. Of course puns are hard to be translated... Can it get better than this?


Papers/newspapers? I think, though, that if you want to keep the pun but lose the word "writings", you're going to have to change the dialog about him learning to write.

I thought that might have been where you were going. "Writings" doesn't mean "papers" or "documents", at least in American English, although it's understandable. It definately doesn't mean "how do you write". The primary meaning would be the works of an author, either public or personal.

 
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lacxox wrote:
philomars wrote:

‘What kind of writings do you have?’
‘Cursive… I just don’t know all the capital letters. I learned writing from a quartermaster!’
‘Moron!’
‘That’s true! But clever quartermasters are rare.’
‘Pipe down… So you don’t have documents, but…

In every other corrected versions the original meaning was lost. This part of the dialogue is some kind of pun in the original: Hobbs asks about Jimmy's 'writings' meaning 'documents' but Jimmy misuderstands the question so he provides answer about his writing abilities. Of course puns are hard to be translated... Can it get better than this?


Have you read Le Ton Beau De Marot?

Your translation of 'writings' doesn't feel right to me. Maybe I might use "writ" (as in a legal document) instead of "writings". It works as a visual gag (just missing the e), and writ is often used as the past tense of write (instead of written) by less educated people.
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Thanks, that sounds great!
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