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2003-05-16 13:33 (UTC+1)

Smrgstrta recept, mums!

["Mums" means "Yum" in Swedish, roughly.]

Like sandwiches? Like cake? You'll love sandwich cake! The most tempting Swedish delicacy since Jansens frestelse, it brilliantly combines the savoury bready goodness of sandwich with the, um, shape of cake. (I am actually just a bit tempted to one of these as a becandled birthday cake, given that I have not the tooth of sweetness. The deluxe one really is "essence of Sweden" - salmon, whipped cream, shrimps and mayonaise. How classy is that?)

[Theme supplied by the KTH tag team of Birgitte and Simon Linntott. Thanks, persons!]


2003-05-16 09:25 (UTC+1)


Eye candy: Choose between a really spectactularly boggling collection of optical illusions (via Plurp) or a collection of photos of "Chicago" (from the s lot). I recommend cheating and choosing both - I won't tell.

A dictionary of modern Latin oh what fun:

Father Reginald Foster, who translates Pope John Paul II's documents from Latin to English, said the dictionary is fun with an important purpose.

"Maybe these things will help increase interest in the language because there are a million things that did not exist then [in Roman times]," he said.

(If it had been those wacky Finnish persons which do a world-service-type news broadcast in Latin I would have approved. Of a publicity stunt by the Catholic church my approval is firmly withheld. What's Latin for "morning-after pill," Father Foster, huh?)

And, in a novel twist, a prinsess/politics double-feature (I suspect Father Reginald Foster, or someone just like him, of a plot to "increase interest in" Swedish politics which I would normally shun and quite right too.)

Euromotstndarna rasar mot att kronprinsessan Victoria anvnds som dragplster fr kampanjen Ja till EMU.

[Euro opponent are furious that kronprinsess Victoria is being used as as a postergirl for the Yes campain for joining the EMU.]

She judged the kiddies sn-castle competition at a Ja meeting or something, and knickers of the No side have become entwisted. Be reassured, one and all, that:

Enligt hovets informationschef Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg finns det ingen koppling mellan EMU-generalens framtrdande och att Victoria fanns p plats. Tarras-Wahlberg garanterar att kronprinsessan ven kommer att f ta del av nej-sidans synpunkter.

According to the chief court spokesperson Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, there is no connection between the EMU-general's appearance and Victoria's presence. Tarras-Wahlberg guarantees that the kronprinsess is also going to take part in the No-campaign's meeting.

(That's a pretty sketchy translation, sorry.) The point is clear, though, the lovely kronprinsess isn't publically taking sides, and if it means more meeja coverage of her, that's just fine with me. Desbladet itself vigourously endorses the Ja campaign, for what it's worth.


2003-05-15 14:14 (UTC+1)

In this increasingly global world...

I've been meaning to say that for a while, sorry. What UNESCO's Clearing House for literary translation actually says is:

In today's globalized world, foreign literature has experienced a boost unprecedented in the history of culture and editorial industry. But despite the quantity and quality of texts translated and published yearly throughout the world, the variety and representativeness of those in the global market cannot be taken for granted, because of its intrinsic asymmetry. Although the publishing market is much more varied and wideranging than in the past, it still remains necessary to promote cultural diversity and pluralism in it. UNESCO, one of whose strategic and fundamental aims is the promotion of cultural diversity, can and must be active in this field.

(I wonder if they also disseminate timely deliverables.) I'm more varied and wide-ranging than in the past, too - any chance of a grant?

[via Enigmatic Mermaid]


2003-05-15 10:38 (UTC+1)

The von Bladet Sladdesprksystem

Prinsessor! Krlek ("Romance")! Intrigue! What better way could there be to learn a language? Today prinsessan Madeleine stunned seasoned court-watchers by going for a walk:

I tisdags tog prinsessan Madeleine en romantisk promenad med pojkvnnen Jonas Bergstrm i Stockholm city. Som Aftonbladet avsljade redan frra ret r den 24-rige juridikstudenten hennes nya krlek.
D var romansen relativt ny, och paret gjorde allt fr att inte vcka ngon uppmrksamhet.

[On Tuesday prinsessan Madeleine took a romantic walk in Stockholm city with her boyfriend Jonas Bergstrm. As Aftonbladet revealed last year the 24 year old law student is her new love.
Then the romance was relatively new, and the pair went to great lengths not to attract attention.]

Point de Vue has already established that Jonas is the acceptable face of boyfriendhood - good student, good family, good teeth - and that Madde's daddy (who, as I'm sure you know, is the King) approves of him and them and that. (They also hinted that Vickan is single again, and I certainly haven't seen any trace of her erstwhile bloke in the papers. Has anyone heard any scurrilous rumours? I ask of course purely in the spirit of linguistic self-improvement.)


2003-05-14 13:13

Meat the Nordic Writers.

Via Simon Linntott (guestbook communication, 2003) comes this link (in la-de-dah DN, Sweden's most self-important daily newspaper) about how Scandewegian writers are taking the normally staid world of English book-vendoring quite literally by storm. (Except for the "literally" part, I just made that up to make it sound exciting, sorry.)

P Foyles - en stor bokhandel vid Charing Cross - ligger p paradplats Astrid Lindgren, Agneta Pleijel, Hjalmar Sderberg och Jan Guillou i en enda rra. Meat the Nordic Writers, lyder en uppfodrande skylt. Mtet r tnkt att ske bokledes och fr skerhets skulle har man frsett varje bok med en handskriven biografi ver frfattaren.

[At Folye's - a large bookshop near Charing Cross - a single display shows Astrid Lindgren, Agneta Pleijel, Hjalmar Sderberg och Jan Guillou. Meat the Nordic Writers, reads a raised sign [I bet it bloody doesn't - des]. The arrangement is carefully thought out and as a safeguard they've equipped each book with a hand-written biography of the author.]

Foyles "a large bookshop", indeed - how are the mighty fallen! The idea that Foyles is like a bookshop, only larger, or that familiarity with any other bookshop could possibly prepare you for the experience of Foyles would have been laughable, even scandalous, a mere decade ago. It's probably more-or-less accurate now, though. It is to sigh.

Still, anyone who wants to claim that translated literature just doesn't shift the units in blinkered old Blighty is might be surprised to see how much stuff the Swedish-English Literary Translators Association is up to, as showcased in its house journal (the Swedish Book Review) edited by Sarah Death from her headquarters in Kent. The article is mostly an interview with her ("Why Swedish?" "I was tired of French," I kid you not) and she cites the success of Miss Smilla's Feeling For Sn (yes of course I know it was originally Danish and that would be "sne" but it's not as funny that way) as the beginning of the trend.

So, well, hoorah for Swedish to English translators, whose impact on my life - negligible, to date - I am working tirelessly to eliminate altogether, and you can't get a more ringing endorsement than that, can you?


2003-05-14 09:06 (UTC+1)

Ancient Cosmic Wisdoms, Competitively Priced.

Le Point has an article on Tuvan shamans (and it may be time limited, so I'd get on with it if I were you).

Guess what happened when history, in the shape of the USSR, collided with indigenous shamanic traditions? If you guessed "Bad things," well done, but le professeur Kenin-Lopsan, historien et chaman (for it is indeed he!) preserved the traditions under the cover of making an academic study of them, and plenty of others kept the faith:

Car, rvle-t-il, parmi ceux qui acceptrent de retourner la vie civile, beaucoup continuaient en secret pratiquer les rituels et les soins, tout simplement parce qu'il leur tait impossible de refuser de soigner, de transmettre les dernires volonts du parent mort.

[Because, he reveals, among those who agreed to return to civil life, many continued to practice rituals and healing, simply because it was impossible to refuse to heal, to transmit the last wishes of dead relatives.]

These being among the duties of the Tuvan shaman, you see. And now, with the Soviet state dismantled, there are new challenges associated with urbanisation (well, villagisation, but if your immediate ancestors were nomads that's still a pretty big deal) and the stampede of New-Ageiste tossers in search of authentically picturesque authenticity.

(New-Ageiste tossers! Visit the clinique von Bladet for some ancient and traditional pagan Viking axe-healing ceremonies that will cost you an arm and a leg - but they're worth it!

Let the restful wood-smoke aromas of our unique Burning House ritual lull you into blissful unconsciousness before the flames start to crackle around your agonising, bleeding stumps!)


2003-05-13 14:11

Riddle me this, then.

My global network of informants, with a little help from a dead-tree translators' trade journal, [UPDATE: and some proofreading from Maus, thanks] has supplied me with the text of the Sphinx's riddle section of Harry Potter IV in 13 different languages, and to celebrate having finished the French translation (it's over 700 pages and it felt like it, frankly) I'm blogging fragments of a subset. The life, she eez finite, yes? (And the copyright holders fierce, yes indeed also.)

The English version sets the framework:

First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.

"Spy", of course, and the answer is a spider (in fact a giant spider, as some translations exploit).

"D'abord, pense au premier de ce qu'il faut apprendre
Lorsque l'on ne sait rien l'ge le plus tendre."

"A", the first letter of the alphabet, is for "Araigne".

"Tnk frst p nn som ibland bergen bor
Och klampar fram, hemskt och frfrligt stor"

(En jttespindel)

"Frst: Det blotteste dun og den bitreste galle
og nesten de dyreste lfte av alle"

(En edderkopp). Danishness not included, sorry, nor Icelandic.

Denk aan iemand die van vermommingen leeft
Die altijd moet liegen en geheimen doorgeeft

which gives "spion", from which we will make "een spin", of course.

Czech, with postfix hac^eks, sorry:
"Nejdr^v si vzpomen^ kdo nejvc se honos
a i kdyz^ pozbyl c^rku, se jako duha skv."

(Pavouka, yes, well done.)

In practice, I could read the English, French and Swedish ones straight off, but none of the others, not even naughty Norwegish. (This senseless babbling of yours has got to stop, Earthlings.)

2003-05-13 09:51 (UTC+1)

Universit en Ligne

I forget where I found it now. Maths, physics, chemistry and biology modules, all in glorious French flavour, yum yum. The maths is certainly as French as you could hope for, and I don't just mean the language.


2003-05-12 17:40 (UTC+1)

I know, but I was busy.

Lyapunov exponents, isn't it? Also normal forms, LaTeX figure-insertion macros (grrr) and a few bits and bobs. All in a day's work.

But I just have time for a remark:

Dans le quotidien de son exprience, l'homme ne vit la pluralit linguistique ni comme un problme mtaphysique, ni comme un scandale existentiel, mais, plus banalement, comme une entrave la libre communication et au dveloppement des changes.

[In everyday experience linguistic diversity isn't experienced either as a metaphysical problem nor as an existential scandal, but, more mundanely, as a hindrance to free communication and the development of exchanges.]

O. Soutet, Linguistique

Monsieur Soutet has published work on languages as diverse as Old French, medieval French, Renaissance French and contemporary French, and it certainly shows.


2003-05-12 10:40 (UTC+1)

Tavola calda

Ci sono vari locali in Inghilterra che corrispondo all'incira alla tavola calda; i pi communi si chiamano "snack bars" snk ba(r)s o "wimpies" uim'pis. In questi si possono avere al banco molto variet di "sandwiches" sn'uicis (panini imbottiti o tramezzini con prosciutto, uova, insalata con salmone, pollo, ecc.) "grills" grils (tramezzi tostati), biscotti, pasticcini, gelati, bibite calde e fredde escluse quelle alcoliche, che si trovano invece nelle "public houses" pa'blik hau'sis (detta communamente "pubs" pabs) e neghli alberghi.

[L'inglese com si parle, Lysle.]

Since this is general information it is not translated, but it doesn't need to be (and I couldn't if it did, so there's no point whining at me). I will remark only that Italian "c" and "g" are softened to the sounds of "church" and "judge" respectively when followed by "i" or "e", unless an "h" (which isn't sounded) is placed in-between to protect them.

Also, in the section of the phrasebook pertaining to zoological gardens, we find:

Guarda com' alta la giraffa! E che aria impassibile ha il cammello!

Look how tall the giraffe is! And how impassive the camel looks!

You have the documents, then, Number 5?


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