NORTH OF REALITY TRANSLATION PROJECT: CHOKING HAZARD
Good afternoon! This week in the North of Reality Translation Project, a story called Choking Hazard. As usual, English translation notes are found below the story. All the other entries in the project can be found at the following link: /tag/the-north-of-reality-translation-project/
NORR OM VERKLIGHETEN: KVÄVNINGSRISK
av Uel Aramchek
översättning: Johannes Punkt
Han lät henne välja hors-d’œuvre på andra dejten, så när det var hennes tur beställde hon in apelsinklyftefonduen.
”Åh, jag älskar det här stället. De använder bara apelsiner med bottenlösa klyftor här,” förklarade hon. ”Fåglar som försöker äta dem tappar ofta sina näbbar, eller hela sina huvuden. Det krävs en djävligt skicklig kock för att forma dem till någonting en människa tryggt kan svälja.”
”Hur fungerar det?” frågade han. ”Hur får du plats med någonting bottenlöst i någonting i storlek med din knytnäve? Den har ingenstans att gå.”
”Det finns en hel del ingenstans,” lade hon till. ”Om man vet var man inte ska leta.”
I FUCKING CRACKED IT. You need to go and read the original again, for real, on this one. This is like, the eighth one I’m writing so far, but I’ve been dreading this for a while because that pun is so marvellous I never thought I’d find an equivalent in Swedish. But I did. To explain: in the original they’re eating a fondue of peaches with bottomless pits. In Swedish that loosely transmogrifies into either “bottenlös håla,” which makes sense for the bottomlessness, but not for the fruitness, or “bottenlös sten,” which is a nonsense phrase. So I drew diagrams of semantically related things to both those words, trying to find a similar koncept that I could exploit to make a translation. Perhaps, I thought, there would be some equivalent pun not about bottomlessness, but with other infinities.
Our universe is a bottomless pit, says the Timescanner. Perhaps I could find something about dark matter, or about the one electron universe. I was also toying with the idea of writing a replacement story only vaguely similar, because I have an idea about an orangerie growing globe fruits with two surfaces (i.e. having 720 degrees round instead of 360) – I would then be going very far away from translation and into the murky lands of trying to recreate Uel’s process to write something equivalent, some adaptation.
Anyway. As you may have guessed, my brain was firing on all cylinders. I lingered on this problem for two weeks. Then I went back to the basics and looked a little bit closer at the idea of the bottomless pit. It is biblical. How do they translate it in the bible? Seemed like they only called it an avgrund, an abyss. Although sometimes they write out the full implications of that: en bottenlös klyfta. Klyfta. From the same word as ‘cleave.’ n. I chasm. II section, as in citrus fruit.
Make no mistake, having the fruits carry several bottomlessnesses around the core of the fruit instead of one in the middle probably changes some of the mythology in North of Reality, because these kinds of things do that. But that would be a problem for a future translation, if this were ever to resurface. Mythology is pretty malleable, so I’m fairly certain it would be fine.
Not much left of this project now. Also I haven’t finished writing all the notes because I somehow acquired a job, but I’ll have the next piece ready on time. Worry not. Not that you were worried.