The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68318 Message #1150305
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
30-Mar-04 - 03:04 PM
Thread Name: German folk song, help with translation
Subject: RE: German folk song, help with translation
Your usage of 'grass' I have never heard in USA or Canada. It is never applied to hay fields. This, again, points out the difficulty in applying German usage to a translation into English. Unless you want to use footnotes (useless with a song) the result is not understandable or raises questions in the mind of listeners.
Some time ago, I translated a work on orchids into English for a German author. Scientific German is quite different from colloquial German, but we still had arguments. Idioms or usages common in German could not be translated directly because the literal equivalent is meaningless in English. I tried to be as literal as possible, to preserve the author's thought processes, but some usages have no equivalent. The book was eventually published, but I don't think the writer was completely pleased by the end text. One problem that is not present here is the use of redundant phrases in German for emphasis- a practice that is discouraged in English- "get to the point, please!"
'Gear,' might be applied, e. g., to the equipment a hockey player carries, but, at least in America, is considered kid's slang when used for worldly goods.