NORTH OF REALITY TRANSLATION PROJECT: THE HYPERHEART

by johannespunkt

Good evening, dear readers! Step into my abode, hang up your skin on the rack but feel free to keep your shoes on. Today’s story is The Hyperheart. Translation notes, in English, can as always be found at the bottom of the post. You can find all the entries in this project at this link: /tag/the-north-of-reality-translation-project/

~

NORR OM VERKLIGHETEN: HYPERHJÄRTAT
    av Uel Aramchek
        översättning: Johannes Punkt

Det första du märker när du kommer in på klubben är närvaron av hundratals ultravioletta eldflugor som alla signalerar i takt med en avgrundsdjup bas. Portvakten stirrar med förväntan på dig och håller fram en burk full av genomskinlig vätska. Du härmar de framför dig i kön och sträcker in handen i ditt eget bröst för att ta ut ditt hjärta.

Det ser annorlunda ut än vad du föreställt dig. I dina händer är det en pulserande kub som glöder karmosinrött utan klaffar eller rörledningar. Dess puls är hög, för det är fortfarande ditt hjärta, och du är rädd. Trots det släpper du taget och låter det sjunka ned i den underliga krämen. Någon knuffar fram dig medan flaskan korkas och du lyckas inte ta emot din nummerbricka. Folkklungan är tät och det finns ingen återvändo.

Du följer spiralmolnet eldflugor ned till källaren, en tiovåningsfärd som slutar i en virvel av kroppar utan hjärtan. Alla dansar i krets runt samma massiva polygonkluster, en dånande struktur som kallas Hyperhjärtat. Dess musik är blod som genomsyrar dig, och genom det kan du känna ett otal andra människors rörelser och passioner sprudla ut ur dina nerver.

När det är dags att gå därifrån finns det hjärta du minns dock inte att hitta i någon av deras burkar. Det bästa de kan göra för dig är att erbjuda dig ett ifrån hittegods.

~

Notes

One translation principle I try to adhere to is to keep the source language as much as possible out of the target language. It is no secret that anglicisms are mushrooming into the Swedish language from the soil of language itself, and I welcome this. My own conversational Swedish is scattershot with anglicisms and expressions from whatever other language I’ve just been trying to speak in, but in writing I like the rather nuked style of John Ajvide-Lindqvist, who writes with almost zero anglicisms. I don’t know if he speaks English all that well, that might have something to do with it. (Language is, after all, just the name for thousands of idiolects.)

It’s hard to judge how much of my own experience with anglicisms comes across to other people as something Swedes would obviously say or if it would seem a translator’s cop-out. Often, drawing attention to the fact that the thing you’re reading is translated is a bad idea, so I’ve put up a membrane between the two languages. Anything that comes through it unchanged is scrutinised and picked apart. If it doesn’t have a long-ish history of being used in this form in Swedish, it gets reworked. This is why I’ve gone with ultraviolett instead of blacklight. Everyone would understand blacklight-eldflugor or the like but it would sound like a cop-out. Calling them ultra-violet is less specific than a blacklight, but the context of the club already being given, it’d be difficult to get the wrong vibe from that phrasure.

The phrase “a source of bass somewhere deep below” became “en avgrundsdjup bas,” “a bass as deep as the abyss,” because all my attempts at fitting the word for source in there sounded very unnatural, also because I enjoy the pun. It’s not the literal meaning, but I deliberated on it and decided that a) the connotations of “somewhere deep below” are more important than saying exactly where the bass comes from, and b) the bass will be mostly felt through the feet and up anyway, and in the chest like a replacement heartbeat, and it’s hard to pinpoint a source of bass anyway.

The word “fountainworks” is surprisingly bothersome. The word I want to use for it is “rörverk” which should be “pipeworks” according to my sensible language use, but seems to only ever have been used to denote factories for pipe manufacture before. After some thought I went with “rörledningar,” which is “piping.” It sounds a tad more like machinery than Uel’s original phrasing, but within the margins, I’d say.

The last challenge with this piece was the word “ambient,” which is also one of those words that people will understand, because we just say ambient musik for ambient music as far as I can tell, but I feel bad about keeping it that way. Also, the word loses all its connotations in tunneling through the membrane. I picked “blod som genomsyrar dig,” “blood which permeates you,” where genomsyra has connotations of both burning acid and deep meditation.

Advertisements