I obtained a German-translation copy of MY LADY GAMESTER (published by Cora under the title “Höchster Einsatz: Liebe”, which means approximately “The Greatest Gamble: Love”) and I’ve been delightedly comparing the German translation with the English original.
I had heard rumors, by the way, that Cora translations often were much shorter than the originals, and changed rather a lot. I only know this one translation, of course, but it seems pretty darn close to my original. Small bits are cut out — it’s been tightened, basically, and moves a bit more quickly — but the biggest change I can see is that the hero, who (in my version) is always referred to as Stoke (his title) in passages from his point of view, is in the German narration always called Richard.
And now, to prove my true obsessiveness: here’s a passage in German (the translation is by Vera Möbius, and if I ever meet her I’ll buy her a box of chocolates), followed by a comparison of the original, and my back-translation of the translation…
Als ein gellender Schrei ertönte, griff Richard unwillkürlich an seine Hüfte, aber dort hing natürlich kein Degen. Und er brauchte auch gar keine Waffe.
“Louly!”, rief ein in Blau gekleideter Jüngling und stürmte die Stufen herab. Nun erkannte Richard den Bruder Atalantas. “Wie geht’s meiner Louly-Lou?” Der Bursche schwang das Mädchen hoch in die Luft und wirbelte es herum. “Oh, verdammt, wie schwer du bist! Du musst mindestens so viel wiegen wie ein Kriegsschiff, mit hundert Kanonen bestückt und Proviant für zehn Jahre beladen!” Stöhnend gab er vor, unter Loulys Gewicht zu taumeln. “Jetzt weiss ich, du musst der Elefant sein, der heute Abend hier auftreten soll.”
Ächzend und stöhnend sank er auf die Knie. Dann liess er Louly mit einem übertriebenen Seufzer der Erleichterung los, stand schwankend auf und wandte sich zu Atalanta.
“Wie stolz müssen Sie auf Ihren kleinen Elefanten sein, Ms. James…”, spottete er.
“Ja, in der Tat”, bestätigte sie, bückte sich und wischte den Staub von seiner Hose. “Es ist mein grosser Elefant, der mir solche Schwierigkeiten bereitet.”
“Wenn ich bloss ein grosser Elefant wäre!” Tom grinste Richard an. “Da kenne ich nämlich ein paar Leute, denen würde ich liebend gern auf die Zehen steigen.”
And now: on the left is my original…on the right is my best translation of the German:
|From the portico above them came a shout. Stoke put his hand to his side reflexively, but of course no sword hung there.
“Louly!” called the blue-coated lad who bounded down the wide flight of steps toward them. Stoke recognized Atalanta’s brother Tom as he leapt down the last few steps and embraced Louly in a great bear-hug. “How’s my Louly-Lou? How is my plum duff?” The lad lifted Louly off her feet and whirled her around. “Oh crikey, you’re heavy! You must be big as a hundred-gun man o’ war with all its provisions on board.” Tom pretended to stagger under Louly’s weight. “I know! You must be the elephant I’ve come to see.”
[Then a couple short paragraphs showing Louly’s response, and Stoke watching Atalanta watching her siblings.]
After making a great show of being brought to his knees, Tom released Louly with an exaggerated sigh of relief. He bounced back to his feet, and turned to look at Atalanta. “You must be so proud of your little elephant, Miss James.”
Atalanta leaned over to brush the dirt off of the knees of Tom’s trousers. “Yes indeed. It’s my big elephant who causes all the trouble.”
When a ringing shout sounded, Richard reached involuntarily to his hip, but of course no sword hung there. And he needed no weapon.
“Louly!” shouted a youth dressed in blue who was storming down the steps. Now Richard recognized Atalanta’s brother. “How goes it, my Louly-Lou?” The fellow swung the girl high in the air and whirled her around. “Oh, damn, you’re so heavy! You must weigh at least as much as a hundred-cannon warship loaded with ten years’ provisions!” Groaning, he pretended to reel under Louly’s weight. “Now I know, you must be the elephant that’s going to appear here tonight.”
[The German version does not have any corresponding paragraphs.]
Moaning and groaning, he sank to his knees. Then he let go Louly with an excessive sigh of relief, bounced up and turned to Atalanta.
“How proud you must be of your little elephant, Miss James,” he teased.
“Yes, indeed,” she confirmed, bending down and wiping the dust off his trousers. “It is my big elephant which causes such difficulties for me.”
So…though I miss the plum duff, and the more boyish “crikey” instead of “damn,” I love that the warship isn’t just loaded with provisions, but with ten years’ worth!
Cara King, who has never eaten a plum duff