dimecres, 30 de desembre de 2009

Una dècada que s’acaba - The Noughties.

A cada dècada, tant en català com en anglès, normalment li hem posat un nom genèric. Per exemple, del 1920 fins al 1929 és conegut com a “the twenties” en anglès, i “els anys vint” en català. Del 1930 fins al 1939, l’anomenen “the thirties” o “els anys trenta” respectivament. Bé, aquest sistema funcionava fins que vam arribar a la dècada actual, des del 2000 al 2009. En català s’ha de referir a la “dècada dels 2000”, però en anglès tenim una paraula més “original”!

En anglès, al tombant de segle, no hi havia una paraula consensuada per definir la dècada que acabàvem d’inaugurar. No hi ha acadèmia de la llengua anglesa, així que les paraules s’accepten o no en base de l’ús i el prestigi que tenen. Cap allà a l’any 2000 hi havia propostes com ara “the aughts”, expressió usada per descriure la dècada 1900-1909, o “the double ohs”, però no van tenir sort, i cap a la meitat de la dècada la gent va començar a utilitzar cada cop més el terme “the Noughties” fins que institucions com la BBC o la Oxford University Publications també van començar a acceptar-la i usar-la. Al final s’ha acceptat aquesta paraula “the Noughties” – l’origen de la qual ve de la paraula “nought”, que significa zero.

divendres, 25 de desembre de 2009

Do They Know It's Christmas - song lyrics

The lyrics to a classic Christmas pop song, Do They Know It's Christmas - written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and recorded by various pop artists in 1984 under the name of Band Aid as a charity single to raise money for famine-stricken Ethiopia.

It's Christmas time
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time

But say a prayer, pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Feed the world
Feed the world, Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again.

dimarts, 22 de desembre de 2009

Silver River - traducció del conte Paper de Plata, de Jesús Tibau

Coses de la gent obsessionada amb les paraules. Fa un temps vam traduir a l’anglès, pel nostre gust personal i per regalar-li a l’autor i amic Jesús Tibau, el divertit conte Paper de Plata, inclòs en la seva col·lecció de relats curts El Vertigen del Trapezista. Per l’època de l’any en que estem, pot ser interessant …


They’re not biting today. It doesn’t matter; fishermen can be as patient as it takes. Despite the bluff and bluster of some, most of them afford less importance to the size and amount of fish caught than to the pleasant time they spend sitting peacefully here, in the company of their thoughts and getting to know themselves a little better than they did yesterday. People say that you have to know something or somebody really well before you can love them; if these fishermen invested just half the time in thinking about themselves as they do day-dreaming, they would truly come to love themselves. In this I have no doubt, being a firm believer in mankind’s common sense, usually.

But today they are not biting. It’s a shame as the water is crystal-clear, inviting you to jump in. “Better not: it’s December and, although it’s fine today, you’d only end up with a cold you won’t shake off all winter. When you can’t stop sneezing, you’ll remember the fool you were that day.” A girl is crossing the bridge, a pretty girl, with her sleeves rolled up, carrying a basket of washing on her head. She distracts him from his fishing. For a fleeting moment he thinks, maybe, she just might turn and offer him a smile, but it’s not to be: perhaps she’s looking the other way on purpose, causing more excitement as she passes by.

No, no luck today, they are just not biting at all. This morning, when fate allotted him this place, he’d actually thought, “Mmm, looks like a good spot.” He can’t complain really, though; a tree offers him shade and, if he wasn’t so busy staring at the river, he’d be able to see mountains in the distance, lightly-dusted with snow, like a covering of flour. But they’re not biting today; and that’s the most important feature for a fisherman to classify a landscape as beautiful.

They’re not biting. Many would have given up hours ago, not seeing this eternal calm as an opportunity for rest, but rather observing it with a certain nervousness. That is true - this peace and quiet could be a source of anxiety for sad souls but this particular fisherman isn’t the least bit worried as he stares at the line hanging down from his rod, so fine and invisible that, for a moment, it seems like it is no longer there. The wind isn’t blowing either and the sails of an old windmill, unruffled beside the path, do not move at all.

The fish are not biting. But the fisherman is not flustered; he knows you can get all kinds of days, moody and whimsy ones, and that you should not get cross because, after this day, there will be another one, and then another and ... just like that flock of sheep over there, following the shepherd. That is, of course, if you can call that a flock – four sheep and a dog with no bark. The shepherd is carrying a lamb around his neck with its legs roped up. He doesn’t seem to be in much of a rush either. Shepherds, like fishermen, understand how to appreciate the constant passing of time. Beyond him, four or five more, sitting around a fire. They must be preparing lunch ... or supper, as we have lost all notion of time by now.

They are not biting, and they won’t bite. At the end of the path, just by the bridge, an auspicious group. Three camels, serious, concentrating on the task at hand, carrying three kings from the Orient. We know they are from the Orient by the robes they wear, the path they take, and because it’s what we would expect to see at this time of year. The first one, with a white beard, his outstretched arm points at the sky. Now the fisherman looks that way too, and sees a star crossing the sky, its long tail painted with glitter. It’s dark, a strange darkness, and the hours that have passed by have done so leaving nothing behind as they go. The girl with the basket still has not reached the other side of the bridge, nor have the shepherd and his sheep, nor the windmill sails. Nothing moves, nothing at all, only from time to time when a child’s hand picks up the three kings, one by one, and moves them slowly towards a cave with an angel above it; the child is impatiently looking forward to the kings arriving for once and for all.

The fish don’t bite because the river is no more than a thin slightly-wrinkled layer of aluminium foil. “Better than nothing”, thinks the fisherman to himself, because the nativity scene is a pretend one and, like Christmas itself, once the holidays are over, the figures will be wrapped in tissue paper and put away once more.

Translated by Brian Cutts / Silvia Panisello, 2008.

dilluns, 7 de desembre de 2009

Va de prínceps

Sempre trobo interessant pensar en les diferències entre l’anglès i el català. A la cultura anglosaxona tots tenim al cap la figura del Prince Charming (el príncep encantador), gràcies a Walt Disney. En català però, parlem del Príncep Blau. Tots dos han aconseguit “sortir” dels contes per a representar la idealització de l’home perfecte en la vida real.

Sembla ser que el nom encantador del Prince Charming té els seus orígens en uns contes francesos del segle XIX de Madame D’Auloy que parlaven del Roi Charmant. A l’any 1889 Andrew Lang va traduir els contes a l’anglès i va sorgir així el King Charming. Tot seguit, a l’any 1890, tenim la primera referència al Prince Charming, al llibre The Picture of Dorian Gray d’Oscar Wilde.

D’altra banda, el nom de Princep Blau en català (i Príncipe Azul en castellà) es va començar a utilitzar al segle XIX també, a partir d’una llegenda romanesa, El Princep Blau de la Llàgrima. És possible que el color blau vingui de la famosa història de que les famílies reials sempre tenen la sang blava.

diumenge, 6 de desembre de 2009

Fahrenheit 451 - an extract

As everyone - parents, teachers and politicians - are once again talking about education, or rather schools, today we include a short extract from Ray Bradbury’s nightmarish vision of the future, Fahrenheit 451.

"I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it's not bad at all. You heave them into the 'parlour' and turn the switch. It's like washing clothes; stuff laundry in and slam the lid." Mrs. Bowles tittered. "They'd just as soon kick as kiss me. Thank God, I can kick back!”.

Ya que todo el mundo - padres, profesores y políticos - vuelven a hablar de la educación, o más bien dicho, de las escuelas, hoy adjuntamos dos líneas del libro Fahrenheit 451 donde Ray Bradbury nos pinta un futuro de pesadilla.

Tengo a los niños en la escuela nueve días de cada diez. Los aguanto cuando vienen a casa tres días al mes. No es completamente insoportable. Los pongo en el salón y conecto el televisor. Es como lavar ropa; meto la colada en la máquina y cierro la tapadera. – Mrs Bowles rió entre dientes-. Son capaces de besarme como de pegarme una patada. ¡Gracias a Dios, yo también sé pegarlas!