There I was, sitting one Friday night over six months ago with two of my friends who are also translators. I happened to glance down at our feet. I smiled. No prize for guessing which booted normality is mine.
Something about my own footwear reminded me of the word “battered” that I had seen inappropriately used earlier that day, and I quote from a description of some old-fashioned garments found in a disused clothing factory:
(German) Source text
Weiches, schon leicht verwaschenes, naturfarbenes Baumwollgewebe, alte, teils abgestoßene, stoffüberzogene Wäscheknöpfe und ein mit verschiedenen Maschengrößen gestricktes Ärmelbündchen – so etwas hatte Peter P—- zuvor noch nicht gesehen.
O Google Trans, o Google Trans (compare “O Tannenbaum”):
Soft, slightly washed-out, natural cotton fabric, old, partially bumped, fabric-covered laundry buttons and a sleeve cuff knitted with different mesh sizes – Peter P—- had not seen before.
Co. website, ffs.
Soft, slightly washed out, natural cotton fabric, old, sometimes battered hampers clad in cloth and a wristband made with different-sized meshes – that was something Peter P—- had never encountered before.
Re-hash par moi, moi, moi (recast by me)
The slightly washed out, natural-coloured cotton knit fabric was soft to the touch, some of the old, fabric-covered buttons were almost falling off, and the sleeve cuffs had ribbing of different widths – that was something Peter P—- had not seen before.
I am, however, quite a soft-hearted creature, and felt so bad for having excoriated “sometimes battered hampers clad in cloth”, so I decided, as I looked at my appalling clunkiness in footwear, to make a sentence of my own with the words; save them, if you will.
So while I was taking the photo above, in my mind the following sentence was born:
Sometimes battered hampers clad in cloth are better to look at than my own boots.
There, you see, nothing was lost in the process of real translation.
©2018 Allison Wright
Strange but true! Sounds like a fantasy destination in a David Mitchell novel (well, it does to me!)
Well, those first two renditions certainly do not belong in this dimension.