Albanian

Text and back-translation supplied by Enit K. Steiner (University of Lausanne). 

Në qoftë, Zot, se ka një bukuri virtyti,
Dhëndëri juaj ështe më i hijshëm sesa i zi.   Translation by Fan S. Noli (1882-1965), first published in Boston, Mass. (USA) in 1916: Tragjedia e Othello's, arapit te Venetikut
(repr. 2005).

If, (my) Lord, virtue has any beauty,
then your son-in law is more graceful than black.


Graceful seems the appropriate translation for i hijshëm, the adjective derived from hir (grace). (EKS)



Giovanni Belluscio (University of Calabria) provides another transcription of Noli's lines, from the facsimile reprint of the first edition (Argeta-LMG, Tiranë, 2002), with his word-for-word back-translation, a new, ad hoc translation, and comments: 

Në qoftë, Zot, se ka një bukuri virtyti,   [If, Lord, has a beauty the virtue]
Dhëndëri juaj është më i hieshmë   [Your son-in-law is more fair]
Se sa i zi.   [than black]

It is difficult to understand why Noli did not respect the rhyme even if it was easy to create:

Në qoftë, Zot, se ka virtyti bukuri,   [If, Lord, virtue has beauty]
Dhëndëri juaj është më i hieshmë se sa i zi.  [Your son in law is more fair than black]

[On the ambiguity of "fair" in this back-translation:] The problem is: what did Noli want to mean by using "hieshmë". The Fjalor i gjuhës shqipe (Albanian Language Dictionary, 1954) reports: "hieshëm (i), - hieshme (e), mb. i dukur, i pashëm, që i pëlqen syrit: vajsë (SIC) e hieshme, petka të hieshme." [adj. attractive, handsome, pleasing to the eye: nice girl, beautiful fabric"]

The term refers above all to real beauty, so we cannot say if Noli, by using that word, intended to add any other semantic nuance to the term. I think, that "i hieshmë" could also be translated here as "graceful" , but I suppose that its meaning remains linked above all to an "aesthetic context".


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