NORTH OF REALITY TRANSLATION PROJECT: IN THE SECOND PERSON

by johannespunkt

Good evening, readers! Welcome back to the North of Reality Translation Project. For the uninitiated, North of Reality is Uel Aramchek’s website where he posts fiction that he writes. I’m a translation major/poet/ghost and I’m translating a few of his stories because I wanted to. If you’re an adult or a ghost, you can do what you want. Although I asked for permission first, before I started to post them; that’s also important. I’m translating into Swedish but there are translation notes below the story.

Today’s piece is in the second person. That is also its title: In the Second Person. All entries can be found at the following link: /tag/the-north-of-reality-translation-project/

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NORR OM VERKLIGHETEN: I ANDRA PERSON
    av Uel Aramchek
        översättning: Johannes Punkt

Som barn råkade du somna på soffan en kväll medan du kollade på Discovery; dock höll sig tingesten som tror att den är du (den du kallar din kropp) vaken flera timmar efteråt. Då lärde den sig allt det fanns att veta om kameleonter från en National-Geographicsspecial. Precis innan du återfick medvetandet snappade en strövande lock av ditt hår åt sig en broms från väggen och påbörjade därmed den långa och hemska förvandlingsprocessen.

Efter den besynnerliga kvällen upptäckte din kropp att den kunde kamouflera sig som dig på pricken. Den tog tillochmed total kontroll över ditt sinne ett flertal gånger utan att du misstänkte någonting. Som tonåring började du dock förnimma en närvaro inuti skallen, en känsla av någonting fantomlikt där din hjärna borde vara. Du försökte ignorera det, men migränattackerna som följde krävde din totala uppmärksamhet.

När du besökte den där röntgenkliniken avslöjade en MRT-undersökning till läkarens stora förvåning en stor ansamling döda insekter som satt fastnaglade mellan dina hjärnlober. Det spekulerades att dessa främmande föremål på något sätt hade tagit sig igenom bensömmarna på skallen men ingen kunde förklara hur de trängt sig in genom din hud, då det inte fanns ärr någonstans på huden.

Självklart fick du omedelbart remiss till en lokal kirurg som skulle undersöka saken närmre; dock hände det att ”du” aldrig dök upp till den bokade tiden.

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Part of me wants to translate “a stray curl” as “en irrlock,” although that violates the rule of translation that states that you should avoid innovative translations of standard phrases. I’ve got the floor and the mic, though, so I’ll tell you about irrlock anyway: it is reminiscent of irrbloss, meaning will-o’-the-wisp, and is therefore great. No-one would really say it or write it, though. It literally means “stray curl,” but a less outrageous translation of that phrase would be “en strövande lock,” a roaming curl (cf. roaming eyes, hearts).

At first I cut up the sentence beginning “Much to the surprise of …” into two. It didn’t feel right bt it was better than a straight port of that initial adverbial, which would have sounded like “Till den där röntgenläkaren du besöktes stora förvåning” – which is correct but really awkward, because now we’re having fun with clitics. A clitic, according to Wikipedia, is “always attached to a host” which sounds cool and medical. Er, I mean. I will explain, just bear with me – the possessive s (in Swedish as well as English) is the only example of a clitic that I know. You add the s onto the end of a phrase, not a word. For example:

“I solved [the heir]’s problem.”

“I solved [the heir apparent]’s problem.”

“I solved [that guy you met in the pub the other week who claimed to be next in line for the French throne]’s problem by teaching him about the Revolution.”

In order to avoid this awkwardness, we usually rewrite these notions into of-phrases, like “Much to the surprise of …” and such. So, if the reader stops to figure out where to put those brackets to parse the sentence, you’ve probably done something wrong. The main function of a sentence is to bring you to the next sentence. That is why I cut it up originally. I wrote “Eventually, you looked up doctors.” But it still sounded stilted and too far from what Uel had written.

As usual, the solution was to rearrange things until something clicked. What I went with is farther from the original text than I usually go but I’m confident it’s basically how one would express that in Swedish. So, I’m happy. Thank you for reading.

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Thoughts are welcome! Beam them to my brain or try to use lesser, more haphazard forms of communication with me.

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