Wladyslaw Reymont's The Promised Land
Łódź was waking.
The first shrill factory whistle rendered the silence of early morning. In its wake, others,
from all parts of town, ever more clamorous, began screaming hoarsely with unruly voices like a
chorus of monstrous roosters crowing, through their metal throats, the call to work.
Peter K. Gessner (1997)
Łódź sie budziła.
Pierwszy wrzaskliwy świst fabryczny rozdarł ciszę wczesnego poranku, a za nim we
wszystkich stronach rniasta zaczęły coraz zgielkliwiej inne i darły się chrapliwemi, nesfornemi
głosami niby chór potwornych kogutów, piejących metalowymi gardzielami hasło do pracy.
Orignial text by
Wiadyslaw Reymont (1899)
The Translators' Dilemma
All the differences between the original and its translation can be glaring and disturbing to an individual fluent in both languages. Yet, differences in the grammatical structure and meaning of words preclude the possiblity of a completly literal translation. Efforts to approximate it, if taken too far, can cramp the style. Nonetheless, if the translation departs too far from the original, the genius and charm of the original prose may be compromised. A happy medium presumably exists, though readers' views on how close any given translation approaches it would likely differ. By way of an exercise, you are invited to compare the two translations the opening paragraphs of The Promised Land featured on this page. With regard to the 1927 translation of The Promised Land by Michael H. Dziewicki, a Reader of English Literature at the Jagiellonian University, one needs to also remember that English usage has changed in the intervening three quarters of a century.
Łódź was awakening.
One first shrill blast, rending the silence of the small hours, and followed by the ululations of sirens all over town, noisier and still more noisy, rearing and ripping the air to tatters with their harsh uncouth din - a chorus of gigantic cocks, at it were, from those metal throats of theirs.
With long, dark bodies and slender upstanding necks, looming out of the night, the fog and rain, the big factories were slowly rousing up, scintillating with many a flame, and beginning to live and move amid the darkness.
A thin March rain, not without sleet, was falling, falling; covering Łódź with thick viscid mistiness, pattering upon the iron-plate roofs, pouring thence down to the pavements and the black rniry, sloughy streets, streaming down the bare tree-trunks, marshaled in low rows close to the walls and shivering in the cold and tossed about by the wind the wind that now swept the thoroughfares buried in ooze, now rattled and shook the fences, and now tried the roofs: or again would swoop into a quagmire or howl through the branches of a tree.
Translation by M.H. Dziewicki (1927)
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