Trilingual Hobbit Reread

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 6 (beginning)

Moving into Chapter 6 of The Hobbit, we find our hero Mr. Baggins/M. Baggins/Herr Beutlin emerging out of the Misty Mountains–with a magic ring on!

Also, as an epilogue to the previous chapter, I must note that German!Gollum using “mein Schatz” for “my precious” is deeply giggle-inducing for me given that I associate that phrase with an Elvis Presley song. Now I have an entirely different spin on the bridge of “Wooden Heart”, imagining it sung by Andy Serkis. Hi folks, welcome to my brain!

General notes:

I gotta admit, if I were Bilbo, travelling with a bunch of dwarves who’d up to this chapter found me fairly useless, I’d TOTALLY be planning to surprise them with my new shiny magic ring, too.

Red hood! Hi there, Balin! Not your fault that the tricksy hobbit could sneak past you when you’re on watch.

“You nearly chopped off my head with Glamdring, and Thorin was stabbing here there and everywhere with Orcrist.” This, of course, requires a macro saying DORI IS UNIMPRESSED BY YOUR SWORDS OF GONDOLIN.

Ranting!Dori is, however, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY PWNED by Bilbo going OH HAI in the first recorded incident in Middle-Earth of a hobbit pwning thirteen dwarves and a wizard all at the same time.

French notes:

The English title of this chapter is “Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire”, but in the French edition, it’s “De Charybde en Scylla”–which is of course referring to Scylla and Charybdis. It intrigues me that the French translator jumped over to this phrase; one presumes that “out of the frying-pan into the fire” otherwise doesn’t translate.

Since beginning this re-read I’ve started working on my French vocabulary using an app called SuperMemo on my iPhone, and because of that app, I picked up a couple of words that I was tickled to recognize in the very first paragraph of the French edition: “ensuite” and “avant”. I still need to work on my comprehension of these words, though, because I thought they meant “after” and “before”–but the sentence they appear in starts “Il regarde ensuite en avant…”, and this is the analogue of the sentence in the English edition where it says “Then he looked forward…” Note to self: keep this in mind in SuperMemo vocabulary review tomorrow!

Another word I picked out from Le Vent du Nord: “manteau”! *beam* Right out of the title of “Manteau d’hiver” (winter coat), a lovely instrumental on Le Vent’s last album. About which I have gushed repeatedly in other posts. 😀

I understood pretty much this entire line of Bilbo’s: “J’espère seulement, pour l’amour de Dieu, qu’ils ne sont plus là-bas au pouvoir les gobelins !” (Bilbo saying he hopes for the love of God that they, i.e., Gandalf and the dwarves, are not still back there in the power of the goblins.) Of particular note here: I picked up “seulement” and “pouvoir” as SuperMemo vocab words, and I recognized “là-bas” out of the lyrics of the Le Vent du Nord song “Rossignolet”!

Recognizing a few more SuperMemo vocabulary words as I go, too–“niveau” (level, as in “the level of the path”), “se développait” (conjugation of the verb “se développer”, develop), “retourner” (return), and more. So clearly, working with this app is improving my vocabulary quite a bit! I’m finding the text rather easier to follow than the last time I did this!

Wait, what, did the French translator sneak an Italian phrase in here? Here’s the sentence: “En vérité, Bilbo était si content de leurs compliments qu’il se contenta de rire in petto, sans rire dire de l’anneau”. The italics are the translator’s, and Google Translate thinks “in petto” is indeed Italian, meaning roughly “in his chest”. Interesting! A friend on Twitter points me at this reference for that phrase, which makes a lot more sense when you think about it being used in a Catholic country.

And oh, this is weird! After Bilbo tells his story to the dwarves, completely leaving out the part about finding the Ring, he asks Gandalf what he’d been doing all this time. The original English says, “The wizard, to tell the truth, never minded explaining his cleverness more than once”. But in the French, it says “A vrai dire, le magicien n’aimait pas expliquer plus d’une fois ses artifices”. Which, if I’m reading this correctly, says pretty much the exact opposite of what the English edition says. Francophones, I am reading this correctly, aren’t I?

German notes:

In contrast to the chapter title in the French edition, the German edition’s title is pretty much a direct translation of the English: “Raus aus der Bratpfanne, rein ins Feuer”. Except, however, for that little word “rein” in there, which Google Translate is telling me has a few different possible meanings. “Pure”, “clean”, and “straight” are all proposed, so I’m guessing this is intended to be “Out of the frying-pan straight into the fire”.

I note with satisfaction that the German word for coat here, “Mantel”, is very close to the French “manteau”.

Huh, in the first paragraph of the chapter, the narrative describes how the sun goes down in the west, and both the English and French editions italicize “behind the mountains”. The German edition does not!

Bit of a difference as well where the English edition says of Bilbo that “He wandered on and on”, and the German says “Er marschierte und marschierte” (he marched and marched). Herr Beutlin thus strikes me as a tad more self-possessed than Mister Baggins, hmm?

Oh cool, how awesome an interjection is “Donnerwetter”? In English, Bilbo says “Good heavens”! Google Translate claims “Donnerwetter” means gosh, damn, or heavens! Literally, I think it’s “thunder weather”, but way to be inspecific on the translation there, Google! Any German speakers want to chime in on the best translation for this?

Here also, for reference, is the German version of the French sentence I understood above: “Ich kann nur hoffen, dass sie sich nicht mehr dahinten in den Klauen der Orks befinden!” Slight difference of translation here as “Klauen” appears to be “clutches”.

Oh bah, German translator, was it really necessary for you to rearrange paragraph breaks? Especially given that you’re not signifying Bilbo’s thoughts either by italics OR by quotes? I totally lost track of where Bilbo tells himself “I will give them all a surprise”, and had to dig through a long paragraph to find it. It rendered in German as “Die werden ganz schön überrascht sein, dachte er”.

Dori snarking on Gandalf and Thorin stabbing everything in sight reads pretty awesomely in German: “Beinahe hättet Ihr meinen Kopf mit Glamdring abgehauen und Thorin stach hier und dort und überall mit Orkrist herum.” German!Dori is ALSO unimpressed by your swords of Gondolin!

Here’s a fun German word: “Massenweise”! This is what Bilbo says when the dwarves are all “BUT BUT BUT weren’t there guards?!” Google Translate says this is essentially “lots” or “tons” or “masses of ’em”!

For interesting contrast to the weirdly translated French sentence above, here’s the German equivalent: “Dem Zauberer, um die Wahrheit zu sagen, kam es durchaus nicht ungelegen, seine Gescheitheit noch einmal zu beweisen.” Looks like German!Gandalf, like his English counterpart, is quite happy to go on about how why YES, he IS awesome, why do you ask?

And this’ll do me for tonight, I think! Next time: more of our merry company catching up with each other before things start getting difficult again!

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