Ecclesiastes 1

Started by Yawne Zize’ite, June 11, 2012, 08:23:39 PM

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Yawne Zize’ite

My interest in Naʼvi waxes and wanes, and it's high at the moment, so I thought I'd try to contribute to the Bible project. I'm not Christian, so I started with my favorite book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes. I have Chapter 1 done, but I plan to post it a few lines at a time so I can go back and fix the mistakes I'm sure I made.

This translation brought to you by the word "mek."

מגיל‏ת קֹ‏הֶ‏לֶ‏ת
Puk Karyuä

I know that "megillah" means "scroll," but in all other languages with which I am familiar each book is called a "book" and it's much simpler in Naʼvi.
I tried to research the meaning of "Qoheleth" (the name) and found no consensus, but for Naʼvi the choice is easy: "teacher" is the only meaning that's easy to express.

דִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת בֶּן־דָּוִד מֶלֶךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃
Aylìʼu Karyuä alu Tavitʼitan alu oloʼeyktan mì Yerusalem.

"Dibrei" can have several meanings, but all the translations I consulted (not knowing Hebrew, I relied heavily on comparing various translations into English, a Hebrew dictionary, and Spanish and Japanese translations) translated it as "words".
Tavit is my attempt to bring "David" into Naʼvi phonology, starting from the Hebrew form. Should I have started from English, with or without a strong "European" accent to account for spelling pronunciations?
Does the form Tavitʼitan imply direct ancestry more directly than the Hebrew "ben-David" does?
Naʼvi doesn't, as far as I know, have any words for political statuses higher than "leader" so I translated "king" as "leader". Would oloʼeyktan be better?
Yerusalem is how it's spelled in this verse; there's some evidence that the modern form in -ayim is an innovation. Again, final stress from Hebrew.

הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים אָמַר קֹהֶלֶת הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים הַכֹּל הָֽבֶל׃
San mek nìtxan ma mek frato sìk, plltxe poltxe Karyu, san mek nìtxan, fraʼu lu mek.

I like the "vanity of vanities" construction as much as the next Anglophone, but Naʼvi only has the adjective "mek", so I tried to keep the force and adapt to the part-of-speech change by using "mek nìtxan" for "hebel hebalim". (My Hebrew is too poor to get involved in the discussion of the meaning of "hebel".)
"amar" is a perfective verb "said", but I decided to translate it as the unmarked "plltxe" since it is usually translated as a literary present in modern European versions. Is the perfective used in Naʼvi narration?
After going back and looking more carefully at non-English versions, and on the suggestion of Eltu Lefngap Makto, I decided that the perfective is more appropriate here.
The more I think about it, the more I like Eltu Lefngap Makto's version of "hebel hebalim" here, even though it's not pedantically grammatical.

מַה־יִּתְרֹון לָֽאָדָם בְּכָל־עֲמָלֹו שֶֽׁיַּעֲמֹל תַּחַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃
ʼUpet kanom tutel fa fratìkangkem a kem seri äo tsawke?

"Yitron" (profit, advantage) is hard to translate, but thanks to the word "kanom" it is at least vaguely translatable. There's probably a better translation, though.
"Adam" I assume is being used in a generic sense and best matches "tute".
Does the progressive "kem seri" have the right nuance here to translate a Hebrew imperfect?
Is there any guideline on when to choose adp+noun and when noun+adp other than euphony?

דֹּור הֹלֵךְ וְדֹור בָּא וְהָאָרֶץ לְעֹולָם עֹמָֽדֶת׃
Sute Hum [hoaktu] ulte sute zaʼu [eveng] slä atxkxe Eywaʼeveng var frakrr.

"Dor" means "generation" or "age", for which I could find no Naʼvi equivalent or similar concept. I substituted "sute" as the closest word I could think of to entire generations.
Edit: "The old go and children come" isn't a bad paraphrase either, and it expresses the idea of time passing better.
"Ha-aretz" in this line is always translated as "earth" (as opposed to heaven), not "Earth" (the planet). "ʼRrta" is definitely not appropriate, and "atxkxe" is the closest word I know in Naʼvi.
Edit: After the responses to the "Heaven and Earth" thread, "Eywaʼeveng" may be the closest word for "the opposite of heaven, the realm of mortal life".
"`omerat" looks like it means "[is] standing" or "[is] abiding", so "var" feels very similar -assuming that it can be used as an independent verb and doesn't require some construction like "var fkeytivok".

Eltu Lefngap Makto

Just at quick reply.   Irayo for contributing!

Qoheleth seems to be a unique word, occurring nowhere else.  I think Karyu is good, but I would put alu after it every time, i.e. Karyu alu Tavit'itan alu ...

King seems best translated as olo'eyktan.

Tavit is good.

The spelling of Yerusalem changes lots over time.  That word and Elohim are among the most subject to change.  You're fine.

Hebrew has no superlative, so it says "x of x's", e.g. song of songs, king of kings, etc.  Perhaps mek frato?

AMaR in hebrew is past perfective.  I would think <alm> but I don't know how Na'vi that is.

Kem seri seems good.

gotta go.
'Ivong, Na'vi!

Yawne Zize’ite

So you see Karyu as a title, rather than a quasi-name?

Oloʼeyktan for "king" makes sense. I do wonder how the concept of a Hebrew kingdom over all the Hebrew tribes can be handled - but that's for another book.

I don't like mek frato because the structure implies that some thing is the emptiest thing of all and I don't think that is what Qoheleth is saying. I believe he's trying to say that everything is very empty (an intensive), which was why I used mek nìtxan.

Is the Na'vi past perfective the usual tense for narrative?

Eltu Lefngap Makto

Quote from: Yawne Zize'ite on June 13, 2012, 03:09:30 PM
So you see Karyu as a title, rather than a quasi-name?

Oloʼeyktan for "king" makes sense. I do wonder how the concept of a Hebrew kingdom over all the Hebrew tribes can be handled - but that's for another book.

I don't like mek frato because the structure implies that some thing is the emptiest thing of all and I don't think that is what Qoheleth is saying. I believe he's trying to say that everything is very empty (an intensive), which was why I used mek nìtxan.

Is the Na'vi past perfective the usual tense for narrative?
going backwards...

Frommer seems to say 'set the aspect/tense once and then fu-git-duh-bou-dit'.  So, one poltxe and then the rest plltxe.

The text says (and I think הֲבֵל is best translated 'vapor') "Vapor of vapors.  All is vapor."  What's wrong with "O most empty!  Everything is empty" i.e. ma mek frato! fraʼu lu mek..  I mean, it is poetry after all!  ;)


Most commentators I read say Qoholeth is a title.  Especially since it occurs nowhere else, it's safest to treat it as such.

Irayo for being such a great conversation partner.  ;D
'Ivong, Na'vi!

Yawne Zize’ite

Finding a parsed Septuagint convinced me to make it a perfective; a perfective even makes sense in that context.

I've added in the alu, since, as you said, it's definitely not someone's proper personal name.

I'm going to think about your version of הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים for a bit (maybe when I'm not so sleepy).

Do you have anything to say about the last two verses I posted? I'm sure they have problems too. I especially dislike using sute for דֹּור and the problem of translating הָאָרֶץ (地 in the Chinese and Japanese translations) in 1:4.

I'm glad someone who knows more about the Bible than I do can fix this translation!

Eltu Lefngap Makto

I think kanom is good.  Many English translations say "What does a man gain" or even "What does a man get", so I think you're spot on.

דֹּור is hard.  I can well imagine we will get a word for that in the future: it's definitely the way they measure time (e.g. "My grandfather's grandfather was a toruk makto.").  I think we should paraphrase for now and keep watching Frommer's blog.  Maybe 'the old go, the young are come...' za'u hoaktu sì eveng kä...

הָאָרֶץ is definitely a problem.  It's in the first verse of the Bible!  In Israel today, the number one newspaper is "Ha'Aretz".  Eretz is land in general, so atxkxe is good, but THE land is Israel proper or the whole earth.  Kllpxìtu and kllte might also work, depending on the circumstances.  I used to hope Jake's speech would help (e.g. "This ... this is our land!") 'cause that's the exact sentiment, but he just says fìtsenge... lu awngeyä!.  Maybe Eywa'eveng...???

This comes back to one's whole idea of Bible translation.  Now, to be honest, there are no 9 ft tall blue people that we are going to hand our Na'vi Bibles to someday.  This is for human beings to read and enjoy and consider.  As other sci-fi movies have explored, most existing religion would have some serious rethinking to do if we ever found aliens for real.  As such, I prefer to use the conceit that the Bible takes place ON Pandora.  Therefore, I strategically interpret אֶרָץ as Eywa('eveng) whenever I can.  I haven't convinced anyone to follow me.  :(
'Ivong, Na'vi!

Yawne Zize’ite

I had considered something along your lines for paraphrasing דֹּור, and the repetition isn't as important as time passing.

I suspect the newspaper name "Ha'aretz" is short for "Eretz Yisrael", but here I don't think "ha'aretz" can be anything other than 大地 (which generally has a different distribution). (Come to think of it, would "Eretz Yisrael" be kllpxìtu (oloʼ) Yisìraʼelä?)

I started a thread on "heaven and earth", since they're usually a contrasting pair, and got back the idea that there is no contrast in Omatikaya thought between divine "heaven" and human "earth", so Eywaʼeveng might be the closest here for "the whole earth, the world".

With everything but "hebel hebalim" sorted out, time for more verses!

וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְאֶל־מְקֹומֹו שֹׁואֵף זֹורֵחַֽ הוּא שָֽׁם׃
Tsawke fäzaʼu ulte tsawke kllzaʼu ulte nìtxi tätxaw tseng a fäzaʼu.

There wasn't any obvious cognate of "also" in this line; I plan to drop ו at the beginnings of lines since such heavy use of "and" is poor English style and, presumably, poor Naʼvi style as well. (It is fine Arabic style.)
I don't know any special words for the rising and setting of the sun, so I used the generic "ascend" and "descend".
The entire structure ulte nìtxi tätxaw tseng a fäzaʼu was calqued from English and Arabic translations, except for substituting nìtxi tätxaw for a one-word verb "to hurry" we don't have. Unmarked relative clauses of the sort "place it arises there" are normal in Arabic.

הֹולֵךְ אֶל־דָּרֹום וְסֹובֵב אֶל־צָפֹון סֹובֵב סֹבֵב הֹולֵךְ הָרוּחַ וְעַל־סְבִיבֹתָיו שָׁב הָרֽוּחַ׃
Hufwe salew ne [ayram] ulte mìn ne [txampay]. Verar sivalew ulte ìlä fyaʼo sneyä tätxaw.

Naʼvi has no words for "north" or "south". I substituted "mountains" and "sea" as contrasting directions, but they're provisional.

כָּל־הַנְּחָלִים הֹלְכִים אֶל־הַיָּם וְהַיָּם אֵינֶנּוּ מָלֵא אֶל־מְקֹום שֶׁהַנְּחָלִים הֹֽלְכִים שָׁם הֵם שָׁבִים לָלָֽכֶת׃
Frayhilvan salew nemfa txampay, slä txampay ke lu teya; ne tseng a hilvan salew, tätxaw tsatseng saʼu nìmun.

Is saʼu necessary?

כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים יְגֵעִים לֹא־יוּכַל אִישׁ לְדַבֵּר לֹא־תִשְׂבַּע עַיִן לִרְאֹות וְלֹא־תִמָּלֵא אֹזֶן מִשְּׁמֹֽעַ׃
Tuteri sleyku fraʼul ngeyn ulte ke tsun peng. Ke lu ye nari tìtsuseʼafa, ulte ke lu teya mikyun tìstusawmfa.

As I did in a few other places, I rephrased a complicated adjective (יְגֵעִים) as an active sentence.
Can the topical be used to "cheat" and make the object of the first sentence the agent of the second like that?
I might be using ulte too much.

Yawne Zize’ite

A whole week and no replies? Might as well post the rest, then.

מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה, הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה, וּמַה-שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה, הוּא שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה; וְאֵין כָּל-חָדָשׁ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ.
Furia lamu lu fwa layu, ulte furia fko kem sami lu fwa fko kem sayi; ke lu keu amip äo tsawke.

יֵשׁ דָּבָר שֶׁיֹּאמַר רְאֵה-זֶה, חָדָשׁ הוּא:  כְּבָר הָיָה לְעֹלָמִים, אֲשֶׁר הָיָה מִלְּפָנֵנוּ.
Srake fkeytok ʼu a fkol lawk san tìng nari, lu fìʼu mip sìk; srekrr larmu mì okrol a lu sre ayoeng.
Fkeytok is the existential verb, right? I used it a lot.

אֵין זִכְרוֹן, לָרִאשֹׁנִים; וְגַם לָאַחֲרֹנִים שֶׁיִּהְיוּ, לֹא-יִהְיֶה לָהֶם זִכָּרוֹן--עִם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ, לָאַחֲרֹנָה.
Pumìri lesngäʼi ʼok ke fkeytok, ulte kop layu a pumìri ahay ʼok ke fkeytok sutekip a layu mawkrr.

אֲנִי קֹהֶלֶת, הָיִיתִי מֶלֶךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל--בִּירוּשָׁלִָם.
Oe alu Karyu lolu oloʼeyktan Yisraʼelä mì Yerusalem.
Yiśraʼel goes almost perfectly into Naʼvi phonology if it's resyllabified.

וְנָתַתִּי אֶת-לִבִּי, לִדְרוֹשׁ וְלָתוּר בַּחָכְמָה, עַל כָּל-אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשָׂה, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם; הוּא עִנְיַן רָע, נָתַן אֱלֹהִים לִבְנֵי הָאָדָם--לַעֲנוֹת בּוֹ.
Ulte oeri tamìng txeʼlanit fte fwivew sì sivop tìtslamfa teri frafwa fko kem si äo taw; tamìng [ʼElohim]-ìl evengur Naʼviyä fte sngum läpeykivängu tsaʼufa tìnit akawng.
We're still missing a word for "God", aren't we? I put in ʼElohim as a provisional substitute.

רָאִיתִי, אֶת-כָּל-הַמַּעֲשִׂים, שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ; וְהִנֵּה הַכֹּל הֶבֶל, וּרְעוּת רוּחַ.
Tsoleʼa oel fraysìnit a fko kem si äo tsawke, ulte lu fraʼu mek sì fwa wo hufwet.

מְעֻוָּת, לֹא-יוּכַל לִתְקֹן; וְחֶסְרוֹן, לֹא-יוּכַל לְהִמָּנוֹת.
Pumìri afwel fko ke tsun zeykivo, pumìri a ke tam fko ke tsun rivun holpxayit.

דִּבַּרְתִּי אֲנִי עִם-לִבִּי, לֵאמֹר--אֲנִי הִנֵּה הִגְדַּלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי חָכְמָה, עַל כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-הָיָה לְפָנַי עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם; וְלִבִּי רָאָה הַרְבֵּה, חָכְמָה וָדָעַת.
Oeri txeʼlanur poltxe san, ma txeʼlan, oeri tìtslam fkew sì txan slamu to frapo a lamu oesre mì Yerusalem sìk, ulte txeʼlanìl kameme txana tìtslamit sì tìomumit.
Hinneh doesn't have a good equivalent in Naʼvi, as far as I know, so I inserted ma txeʼlan as a (hopefully similar) introductory phrase.

וָאֶתְּנָה לִבִּי לָדַעַת חָכְמָה, וְדַעַת הוֹלֵלֹת וְשִׂכְלוּת:  יָדַעְתִּי, שֶׁגַּם-זֶה הוּא רַעְיוֹן רוּחַ.
Ulte oeri tamìng txeʼlanit fte kivame futa lu tìtslam ulte fte kivame futa lu lekyeʼung sì yaymak. Kolame tsata lu nìteng fwa wo hufwet.

כִּי בְּרֹב חָכְמָה, רָב-כָּעַס; וְיוֹסִיף דַּעַת, יוֹסִיף מַכְאוֹב.
Taluna lu fko a nìtxan tslam nìtxan keftxo, ulte fko ʼeykul tìomumit ʼeykul tìsrawit.
I tried to keep the repetitious phrasing, at the cost of using part-of-speech soup.

And this is the end of Ecclesiastes 1!

`Eylan Ayfalulukanä

Ma  Yawne Zize'ite, don't feel put out or ignored if no one is commenting on your posts. For those of us who are not masters of the languages involved, and who don't use them on a daily basis, analyzing a translation like this is a great deal of work, which many of us do not have the time to regularly do.

The time will come when someone will have the time to work through this, and find issues that need addressing. In the meantime, do not let this hold you back from doing further translation. Any text translated has gone well past the starting point, and it needs to be done. This project will take many years, and those serious about it here have known this from the outset. The only way this will ever be completed is for people like you to continue translating chapter-by-chapter as you have the time and energy.

So keep up the good work. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books, and I am anxious to see what you can do with it!

Yawey ngahu!
pamrel si ro [email protected]