Translation help please

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  • #36940
    bspeaker
    Participant

    I’d like to translate the line from Tolkien “Not all those who wander are lost”

    Thank you

    #46075
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    There are a bunch of ways you could say this, as there are as many ways of saying “to be lost” as there are of saying “wanderer” in Irish. Due to the syntax, I’d say something like “ní hionann bheith ar fán agus bheith ar strae”, which means more like “wandering and being lost are not the same.” It’s not easy to elegantly say “not all those who wander..”, which is something like “níl gach duine díobh atá ag fánaíocht..” Irish sayings tend to be more succinct and poetic than this.
    Take my suggestion with a grain of salt, as I’m not a native and there could be errors. Wait for other people to weigh in before tattooing this on yourself.

    #46076
    bspeaker
    Participant

    Thank you, I’ll definitely wait for more people to weigh in. I know that a direct translation is not likely due to the language differences but I’m hoping to get as close as I can.

    #46077
    Ailís Nic Liam
    Participant

    I think I’d take a literal approach:

    Ní bhíonn gach fánaí ar strae: Not every wanderer is lost

    Do wait for more input though, please.

    #46078
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    That’s not a bad suggestion, and I had thought of something more along those lines but I wasn’t sure if there was some ambiguity in meaning, i.e. it could mean that not all wanderers are lost, but wasn’t sure if it could also mean that no wanderer is lost. But the latter would probably be “ni bhionn fanai ar strae.” So it’s probably safe.

    #46079
    Ailís Nic Liam
    Participant

    It’s had a fair bit of vetting over the years. It’s been the stock answer for this translation request at IGTF, and later at ILF, for years. I have sometimes wondered, though, if it would be less ambiguous without the habitual (níl gach fánaí ar strae) or with some kind of emphasis (e.g., “níl/ní bhíonn gach uile fánaí ar strae”).

    #46080
    bspeaker
    Participant

    Thank you all for your help on this. QQ, How do the less ambiguous ones translate?

    #46081
    Ailís Nic Liam
    Participant

    Thank you all for your help on this. QQ, How do the less ambiguous ones translate?

    Pretty much the same. The difference between “níl” and “ní bhíonn” is that the second one is what’s called the “habitual” — it describes something that happens regularly or repeatedly.

    “Uile” means “all/every,” and in this case is added to “gach” (which means “every/each”) to emphasize it a bit.

    I’m not sure if either works, though, or that either would be an improvement, so please don’t run with them without further input.

    #46083
    Ailís Nic Liam
    Participant

    Normally I don’t post links for other forums, but since this one has gotten so slow, I’m going to suggest that you go to ILF for further input and for confirmation. As with Daltaí, you have to join, but it’s free. The best place there to post this would be on An Föram Mór, which is the main forum.

    http://www.irishlanguageforum.com

    #46086
    bspeaker
    Participant

    Thank you, I will check it out. I’m not in any rush thankfully 🙂

    #46087
    Onuvanja
    Participant

    I’m not a native speaker, but for what it’s worth, I quite like the version suggested by Héilics “Ní hionann bheith ar fán agus bheith ar strae”. Still, the one offered by Ailís “Ní bhíonn gach fánaí ar strae” is just as good and has the advantage of being shorter, so I’d probably go for that one. There are also a number of other words for conveying the idea of “wandering” or “moving around” in Irish, such as “siúl” and “seachrán”, but I don’t think either of the two would suit your context.

    #46088
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    Thanks 🙂 I think both versions have their merits. I tried to take a less literal approach and I think it is slightly less ambiguous, but the “stock” answer is certainly fine. As you say, it’s a bit more succinct.

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