NORTH OF REALITY TRANSLATION PROJECT: DEEP KITCHEN DEFENSE #1

by johannespunkt

Good morning! Today we’re serving Deep Kitchen Defense #1! Remember that you can and should read Uel’s stories before reading the translation notes at the bottom, you’ll understand more and your head will feel weird because of all the fiction, and it’s great. He’s still writing stories three times a week over at northofreality.com, and you can support him on patreon: patreon.com/uelaramchek

All the pieces in this translation project can be found at this convenient tag: /tag/the-north-of-reality-translation-project/

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NORR OM VERKLIGHETEN: DJUPA KÖKETS FÖRSVAR #1
    av Uel Aramchek
        översättning: Johannes Punkt

En djupakökskock accepterar bara det bästa: därför bär Du alltid med Dig en revolver. Ingen vet vad som skulle kunna ta sig ur den Svarta Ugnen om dess portlika lucka hålls öppen för länge, men Du som frodas i sådana prekära miljöer kan recepten på gourmetammunition lika väl som en bartender kan sina cocktailformler. Hundratals varianter har utvecklats och flera av de mest eftersökta beskrivs i guiden nedan.

PERSEFONES KYSS: Det självklara valet vid hanteringen av levande döda eller vid vilsegång på fel sida av underjorden. Denna utsökta patron har ett granatäppelfrö till kärna, vilket har doppats i stenkolsvin och nektar från en venus flugfälla, sedan pudrats med himalayasalt. Varje kula har förmågan att gro i kroppar utan puls direkt vid anslag och linda sina aggressiva rötter runt deras skelett. Den fullständiga blandningen höljes i en patronhylsa gjord utav en järn- och valnötslegering.

EN FORNTIDA DESPERADO: Salsa gjord på bläckfiskbläck blandat med riven lemuriansk glaspeppar och flera instabila habaneroisotoper utgör grunden för denna dekadenta projektil, som når sitt mål vid blotta tanken på att dra pistolen. På spetsen av varje kula sitter en tagg från en helveteskaktus ingjuten med en snabbverkande blandning av odört och blixtnedslag.

EFTERRÄTTELSEN: Det veganska alternativet. En enstaka krutgeléböna lindad i antimynta vilar på en bädd av gräddad yellowcakeuran och gelatinerad dynamit. Denna kula dödar aldrig såvida inte en föregående kula har skjutits, och den dödar alltid ifall den är den andra kulan. Spetsen är den svåraste ingrediensen att införskaffa: en svartpärontand. Varje frukt har åtminstone tolv huggtänder tillgängliga – det vill säga, ifall man har tur nog att överleva plockandet.

EN FÖRFÄRLIG FRÄCKHET: Sjöborretaggar som penslats med drakfiskgift och wasabicrema. De mantlas därefter in i stelnande korall. Återstående utrymme i varje patron fylls med högtryckstran och en enda liten droppe sjöjungfrublod. Dessa kulor skär genom vatten lika lätt som luft och möter ingen resistans, varken genom vågor eller skrov.

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Notes

Straight off the bat, I changed around a lot in the opening paragraph. There were a few technical difficulties, such as the lack of a nice word that carries the air of sophisticated snobbery that “discerning” ball-and-chains around, or the fact that an oven’s door is not a door in Swedish, making it less obvious as a portal (I made it a door-like lucka instead). There’s also the annoying fact that the word for bullet is the same as the common word for testicle so if I spoke about bullets specifically the tone would go to hell as I’d be highfalutinly describing gourmet balls. The less specific ammunition was chosen, surreptitiously. To get the tone right I adopted the voice of a magazine trying to sell its goods slightly more eagerly than in the original, where the text addresses a discerning You, not an abstract discerning chef.

Instead of “these recepts are familiar” I wrote “You know these recipes,” a classic modulation, but one where the know is one of two main Swedish verbs for knowing: kunna. The other one is veta. To explain the difference between these – if you know (kan) German, you know (vet) the difference between these two forms of knowledge. It’s not cut-and-dry of course, because it’s an organic difference rather than an organised one, but one is innate and like a skill, the other is a discrete amount of information. Essentially. Sometimes I forget that this distinction is not exactly there in English, but here it comes in handy because if I wanted to translate kunna in certain English contexts, I might have used the construction be familiar (with).

As in The Glorious Dead, the word centered threw me a little, but I called the pomegranate seed the core of the bullet and that sounded smooth and natural. One cool thing about the processes here is that I’m getting much better at solving these problems quickly, even if they do not have the same solution in two different places (like automaton), because, well, it’s not just knowledge. It’s kunnande, a skill.

As a bonus, my translation of “dealing with the living dead” echoes the title of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book Hanteringen av odöda (“Handling the Undead” in English). I could have translated it to avoid this, but it would have been circuitous instead of serendipitous, and that sounds sad.

“The Ancient Desperado” sounds exactly like something a Swedish menu would keep in English, so I pondered keeping it, but as a rule you should never include the source language in the finished product. There are a few other ways to say desperado or outlaw, but none evoke that same desert. The next thought I had here was to look at what words they use in the Swedish translation of Lucky Luke, but that didn’t go anywhere. I then thought that the word “desperado” does not shine anglic, though – it sounds Spanish. I understand it to be a Mexican/American term, and that’s enough to let it through the filter I think, so I went with “en forntida desperado” – a direct translation except that I changed the definite article to an indefinite one so I didn’t have to inflect “desperado.”

The pun of “just desserts” feels untranslatable and once again I am tempted to leave it as is. A good approximation would perhaps involve a pun coinciding the different meanings of rätt (meaning a right or a dish). Efterrättelse, a portmanteau of efterrätt (dessert) and upprättelse (redress, or satisfaction) seems to do the trick, though it’s not as smooth as “just desserts” and a bit off as a name, but it will do.

I can’t quite visualize what a wasabi crema would be but in doing research for it I learnt that crema in English isn’t just a fancy word for saying cream, like crème is. Probably everybody else knew this before me, and also that the word is the same in Swedish because it’s just imported directly from Italian. I think I have drunk coffee like twice in my life. Anyway: a wasabi crema is maybe a special foam harvested from horseradish espressos. Unless, maybe, it’s a typo for cream. (If it was at first I don’t think it is now.)

The way to say “full metal jacket” in Swedish is “helmantlad ammunition,” apparently, so I turned the verbed-turned-adjective in that phrase back into a verb where “wrapped” would go, and it sounds rather smooth, I’d say. Doesn’t pack quite the same punny punch as “full coral jacket” but still.

Finally, there was the issue of “droplet.” It’s not much of an issue, but worth mentioning. Diminutives are splendid. Unfortunately, translating with diminutives intact in this case was impossible, so I added a “liten” (“little”) before the drop instead. It’s very easy for diminutives and other meaning-altering suffixes to go lost in translation, so, like, be aware and stuff.

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This has been this week’s edition of the North of Reality Translation Project, and I have been your host, Johannes Punkt. This phrasing mysteriously implies that I will stop being that person now, until next week, but I will actually keep being me, believe it or not.

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