Translation & Authenticity ?
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  1. #1
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    Default Translation & Authenticity ?

    At the moment I'm working with Trishbookworm - thankfully who's knowledge of French is streets ahead of my own - to translate an early copy (1879) of De Layens' seminal work, and the time is fast approaching when the current work-in-progress needs to be tidied-up in order to make it more 'digestible' to an English-speaking readership. However, I've run into something of a dilemma and I'd appreciate hearing from anybody who has views on this particular issue.

    The dilemma surrounds whether this translation ought to be as near a replica as possible of an existing historical document (only now written in English rather than French) - OR - whether it would be desirable if it were to become a work by De Layens with a few 'added extras'.

    For example, I've sourced some books written by French authors concerning De Layens' hive shortly after his death in 1897, and which were dedicated to him. These books provide details, for example, of how to make an 'economical' version of the hive, as well as providing various illustrations which are far better than those contained within the 1879 2nd Edition.

    If I were to include these illustrations, it would make for a much better "How to" 'manual of beekeeping', but would no longer be an authentic translation of the 2nd Edition. Of course, that additional information could always be included in the form of one or more Appendices ...

    A little more 'sticky' is the issue of whether or not to retain some of the expressions which De Layens used - for this is not just a translation from French into English, but also from the lexicon of the 1880's into that of the 2020's.
    De Layens calls the 'principle bee', La Mere - The Mother - which I think is a far more appropriate term than 'Queen', as there's nothing remotely Queen-like about her - so that term will be retained. Likewise the male bees, which D-L calls 'males' - as that's exactly what they are. 'Drone' is what they do.

    I will, however, need to compromise over the workforce: the 'ouvriêres' - which translates literally as 'factory-girls' or 'working-women' - which I think is a brilliant description as it reminds us that these bees are female and, as can be discovered from time to time, some of them can indeed lay eggs. But such a literal translation is clumsy, and so I'll concede here that 'workers' - although sadly a gender neutral term - is probably one best applied to these bees.

    There are many other terms used which will need some care in their replacement: for example D-L talks about "ruches à calottes" - quite literally "hives with hats" - by which he is clearly referring to industry-standard expandable vertical beehives - but the point he is making when using this term (which is meant to be derogatory) is that such 'hats' are unnatural - in the sense that such discrete and separated honey storage does not occur within a natural bee nest.

    Any thoughts, preferences or suggestions re: any of the above ? Would be appreciated.

    LJ
    Last edited by little_john; 01-28-2020 at 03:29 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    My opinion would be to keep the translation as close to the original as possible. As you pointed out, the nuances in the almost literal translation provides added insight into DeLayen's thoughts.

    Adding the illustrations and explanations from other works in one or more appendices would be preferable in my mind. Perhaps a footnote added in the original work that references a particular portion of an appendix might make it more useful as a "How to" .

    Most importantly, thanks to you and Trishbookworm for what must be a monumental task !
    We appreciate your efforts !

    Spence

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Far be it for me to give advice being a knuckle dragger on the subject. But my first thought would a glossary solve the dilemma?
    Last edited by rwlaw; 01-28-2020 at 07:53 AM.
    Rod

  5. #4

    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    I have translated Japanese to English before, and the process is full of difficult choices: Concepts that don’t exist in English, analogies, similes and puns that are only obvious to native speakers, etc.

    In this case, you’re trying to produce a technical document that’s useful to your readers, so a 1:1 literal translation, e.g. search-and-replacing the French with English “factory girls” is not possible without turning the document into gobbledygook.

    I know a little French, so I know that “pommes de terre,” literally “apples of the earth,” means potatoes, but I can’t see how writing “apples of the earth” everywhere in a translation helps clarity in a cookbook.

    Then a French author might make a joke or analogy about “apples of the earth” vs “apples of the tree” so a translator might have to use the literal translation that one time, with an explanation of the concept.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dabbler View Post
    Most importantly, thanks to you and Trishbookworm for what must be a monumental task !
    We appreciate your efforts !

    Spence
    Agreed- quite a community service you both are undertaking. Thank you!
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    LJ and trish, wow. Quite the undertaking. As with all translations, the terms for nouns must not be quite so literal as to cause confusion. I would suggest using the appropriate term and footnoting the original more as a curiosity than anything. After all, Flugzeug, literaly "flying thing" is always translated as airplane or simply plane. Likewise, if you read the term "flutter mouse" would you immediately recognize that as being a bat?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Some very thoughtful replies there - much appreciated, thanks.

    My focus upon literal translations was not as a result of any desire to actually use them - but rather because these have become somewhat inadequate starting-points provided by Google's 'Translate' due to my inadequate knowledge of the French language. I'm reasonably ok with 80% or so of conversational French words, but when I began this I had no idea in the world what - for example - 'couvain' or 'essaim' meant. (Brood & swarm). So, not having a bi-lingual dictionary I turned to Google for help.

    'Ouvriêre' was an example of this, but an hour or two ago - just out of curiosity - I looked up the word's etymology and it would appear that it stems from the Old French 'ovre', which in turn has it's roots in the Latin word 'opera', meaning "activity, effort, work" etc. So the equivalent word 'worker' is actually fine, and - more importantly - there's no case for it being gender specific. That Google is suggesting that routine manual labour is the province of women reflects rather badly on them !! (naughty Google ... )

    But what this does show is that translation will always be reliant upon sources of information, a person's prior knowledge, and so on ...

    I think the use of footnotes (providing they're not too intrusive), perhaps directing the reader to appendices when necessary, is probably the best way to proceed. Where a term is unusual - providing that it is unambiguous (the point about avoiding confusion is well-taken) - I intend to retain such words. The use of the term 'mother' rather than 'Queen' is a case in point - for you would hardly expect a French author to use a term exalting the importance of royalty, when it was only 100 years earlier that the French were actually cutting-off their heads with great enthusiasm ! LOL

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    I like terms like 'factory-girl'. The occasional use of these terms would make the document more interesting to read. Overuse quickly becomes annoying!
    If you need someone to proofread the document, let me know.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    LJ--Dealing with a gendered language like French shouldn't get you too worked-up, particularly when the term 'factory girls' is what you were able to identify as the term appropriate for the French word for worker bees, which in English doesn't have a gender associated with it, as French does. You'll find that the term 'ouvrier' is the male equivlent for ouvrière, and it can be roughly translated as 'male manual laborer'. We all know that worker bees are female (at least here on Beesource), so simply describing them as workers is not going to wreak havoc with what you want to communicate. Thank you for working on this project.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    LJ--Dealing with a gendered language like French shouldn't get you too worked-up, particularly when the term 'factory girls' is what you were able to identify as the term appropriate for the French word for worker bees, which in English doesn't have a gender associated with it, as French does. You'll find that the term 'ouvrier' is the male equivlent for ouvrière, and it can be roughly translated as 'male manual laborer'. We all know that worker bees are female (at least here on Beesource), so simply describing them as workers is not going to wreak havoc with what you want to communicate.
    I don't understand the underlying purpose behind your posting of the above.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    I like terms like 'factory-girl'. The occasional use of these terms would make the document more interesting to read. Overuse quickly becomes annoying!
    If you need someone to proofread the document, let me know.
    Offer appreciated. Thanks.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Sorry to have posted something in response to your posting that confounded you. I was responding to sentences you included in your original posting that described problems you had encountered in translating, and requesting input. I made an effort to try and specifically address my comment to the part of your work that you described as ’sticky’.

    Thank you for working on this. I hope I get a chance to read it some day.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knisely View Post
    Sorry to have posted something in response to your posting that confounded you. I was responding to sentences you included in your original posting that described problems you had encountered in translating, and requesting input. I made an effort to try and specifically address my comment to the part of your work that you described as ’sticky’.
    I fully understood the motivation for your response, but not the purpose of the content of it - that is, the substance of your post. Let me explain ...

    You wrote: "Dealing with a gendered language like French shouldn't get you too worked-up ..." - well, such an assertion may well be true for yourself, as you appear to have a good knowledge of French, but with only a few years of schoolboy French under my belt I am ill-equipped for this project, and so problems have arisen (some of which have been related to gender) regardless of whether they 'should have' or not.

    Now although the 'ouvrière' issue has been resolved, I maintain that the gender being expressed is not just that of the word itself (in the le/la sense), but of the precise meaning inherent within the word. And so I cannot agree with your comment that: " ... simply describing them as workers is not going to wreak havoc with what you want to communicate." - as De Layens' use of the word within this book is highly gender specific.

    For example, in one paragraph he is describing the arrested development of the ouvrières with that of the mother (Queen), when he writes: "Ainsi, les femelles ouvrières ne sont pas ..." (are not fully developed etc). This then translates as "female female-workers" ! How more gender-specific can you get than that ?

    "We all know that worker bees are female (at least here on Beesource) ...".
    I'm pleased you added that qualifier within parentheses, because this is an important point. You may know this, and other seasoned beekeepers may know this, but the first few chapters of De Layens' book are very clearly aimed at the complete novice: at someone who would not know a Worker from a Queen from a Drone (or even that such things exist), nor different sized comb-cells, nor indeed anything at all to be found within a beehive. And if such people were the target audience of De Layens, then of course they must be my target audience also. And where gender is being unambiguously specified, then even a gender-neutral English word must in some way reflect this.
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    In one of Trish's earlier messages to me, she described translating French into English as sometimes being something of a riddle, a sentiment I fully agree with. What follows is an example of one such riddle ...

    Here's a sentence from De Layens:
    Soleil d'artifice, - Presque tous les jours pendant la saison du travail, et quelquefois pendant l'hiver, lorsque la temperature permet aux abeilles de sortir, vous les voyez faire une sortie générale, appelée souvent soleil d'artifice.

    Which literally translates as;
    Artificial Sunlight - Almost all the days where bees are out working, and sometimes in winter when the temperature permits the bees to fly, you can see the bees fly out en masse, sometimes called Artificial Sunlight.

    Well, there's very clearly something wrong with that (!), as bees fly when the suns shines - and so how can such sunlight ever be described as "artificial" ? Time to resort to Google's 'Translate' function ...

    ... from which "soleil d'artifice" produces the work 'Fireworks'. Hmmm.

    So - fireworks can have two meanings: a pyrotechnic, or some kind of dramatic effect such as an emotional outburst. It's hard to see how a Roman Candle or a Catherine Wheel is being described ... but wait - how about an air-burst firework, such as this ? :



    Yep, that's the one - it's now fairly easy to see what De Layens is describing: he's talking about bees playing in front of the hive's entrance in order to orient to that location. Obvious really - with 20/20 hindsight ...

    I'm sure a native French speaker - or at least a native French-speaking beekeeper - would have instantly known the meaning of "soleil d'artifice" - however, I still need an English word to describe this. There's no collective noun for such a group of bees, so I guess the verb 'orienting' is as good as anything - unless there are any better suggestions ? "Hive Orientation" perhaps ? Ah well, onto the next one ...

    LJ - who loves a challenge
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    I always had a lot of respect for the format that A.C. Bahktivedanta Swami Prabhubpada used in translating the Bhagavad Giita.

    First he gives the paragraph or line as in the ancient text - Sanskrit, in this case.
    Second he gives a word-by-word transliteration in the archaic syntax.
    Third, he gives a translation into modern English, meaning-for-meaning.
    Fourth, he gives an explanation of the paragraph or line - his own "editing", but considered to hold quite close to the original intent of the ancient text.

    This format allows for argumentation to earlier use of the original language in the original text, which he welcomes.

  17. #16
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    Interesting ... Quite a production - but then you're talking about a work which would have been hugely important to many devout followers.

    I don't think De Layens' book is in quite the same league - but nevertheless, I'd still like to do the best I can with it. (touch of the OCD's)

    There hasn't been any progress since my last post, 'cause I've been stuck on one last problem area which has been completely defeating me for well over a week - indeed I had planned to ask forum members for help with it today - but at the last moment I suddenly realised what was wrong: it was a poorly presented diagram of the Fusay syrup feeder - the diagrams of it which had made no sense to me whatsoever. But a new diagram, which will be included within an Appendix, will now solve the problem - so I can move on at last and start working towards wrapping this thing up.

    The Fusay feeder is an ingenious design - De Layens says that it is far superior to other versions of feeder as it allows syrup to be supplied deep inside the brood box, roughly halfway down, so as to be as near to clustering bees as possible without actually interfering with brood nest integrity. And - the feeder can be quickly and easily checked and refilled from outside the hive without any need to open the hive first. Strange how this feeder design (or even it's basic principle) has never caught on - indeed I'd guess that most people have never even heard of it. Maybe those dodgy diagrams have had something to do with it ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    I also like Don the Fat Bee Man's improvement over the Miller hive top feeder. He built a covered ramp from the by-pass down into the syrup tray that bees walk down to feed themselves. Almost zero dead bees in the feeder, and taking the lid off does not lose much heat from the hive.

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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I also like Don the Fat Bee Man's improvement over the Miller hive top feeder. He built a covered ramp from the by-pass down into the syrup tray that bees walk down to feed themselves. Almost zero dead bees in the feeder, and taking the lid off does not lose much heat from the hive.
    Second that, kilocharlie. It is a good set-up in my humble view. That said, having a feeder that would deliver feed directly into the middle of the broodnest from the top and not requiring any disturbance to the cluster would certainly open up a lot of interesting possibilities.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I also like Don the Fat Bee Man's improvement over the Miller hive top feeder. He built a covered ramp from the by-pass down into the syrup tray that bees walk down to feed themselves. Almost zero dead bees in the feeder, and taking the lid off does not lose much heat from the hive.
    I'm sure that kind of feeder would work ok if it were full-width - but in the narrow format I wanted that design didn't work very well at all.

    This is a mock-up of what I wanted - a feeder for a 3-frame nuc which would fit within the height constraint of the vertical plank as shown:



    The above feeder having a vertical enclosed 'ladder'. I also experimented (on other hives) with an inclined ladder:



    In practice I found the vertical ladder better, because then the syrup container itself could be inclined slightly such that the syrup would drain towards the ladder with the bees then being able to access the last of the syrup.

    The main problem with this design occurs when topping-up the feeder. When the syrup level is low, then a bunch of bees become trapped at the bottom of the enclosed ladder, with bees blocking the ladder higher up, as they surge forward to try to access the remaining syrup. So - no matter how slowly syrup is then added to the container, the bees blocking the ladder higher up prevent the bees lower down from retreating away from the rising level of syrup, such that a number of the bees lower down end up 'under-water' (or rather 'under-syrup') and so in due course drown.

    So - no good as a nuc-feeder. Would probably be ok as a full-width feeder where there would be far more access, and so more chance of there being an 'escape route'.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Translation & Authenticity ?

    Yes the hive top feeder is for active bees, as liquid feed is not a freezing temperature option. I would not want to put liquid feed right into the broodnest. If it is cold enough that they do not want to break cluster, they are getting patties and a fondant baord, not liquid feed.

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