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traductions - translations

Some of my translations into English

Dark Hour (Ernste Stunde) by Rainer Maria Rilke
Whoever weeps now somewhere in the world
without reason, weeps in the world
Weeps because of me.
Whoever laughs now somewhere in the night
Without reason laughs in the night
Laughs at me
Whoever goes now somewhere in the world
Without reason goes in the world,
Goes to me.
Whoever dies now somewhere in the world
Without reason, dies in the world
Looks at me.
(translated by D.A. Hoffman, May 2003)

From Red and Guilty by Michael Stavaric
Life by Michael Stavaric
(born in Brno)
Life - oh yes, I can tell you
A few things about life
One should always overdo it
Never lay down to sleep
See the world with 12-hour eyes
original in German, our translation in English , 2002
Within the next hours
I shall lead you through moods
And soundscapes of all kinds
Days and nights are totally
A different thing than breathe and see

You are perfectly right
No-one should stay alone with their pain
Give me one day only - and when it is finished

Before the Law – by Franz Kafka 

original text in German (written in 1914)(published in 1915)- zebras54 translation 2010 (obviously this text has been translated a few times before by other people) 

“Before the law there stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the countryside and asks for entry into the law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot currently allow entry to it. The man ponders and then asks whether he may be allowed enter later. » It is possible, «, says the doorkeeper, » but not now.". Because the gate to the law is open as usual, and the doorkeeper is stepping aside, the man bends to see inside the gate. When the doorkeeper notices this, he laughs and says: » If it tempts you that way, then try indeed to get inside despite my ban. However, take note: I am mighty. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall however, there are doorkeeper standing there, one mightier mightier than the other. Even I can't bear the sight of the third one.« The man from the countryside did not expect such difficulties; he thinks that, indeed, the law should be always accessible to everybody, but when he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his fur coat, his big pointy nose, the long, thin, black Tatar beard, he decides rather to wait indeed, until he gets allowed entry. The doorkeeper gives him a footstool and lets him sit down by the side of the door. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and tires out the doorkeeper with his requests. The doorkeeper often makes small interrogations and enquires about where he comes from and a lot of other things, however, these are uncommitted questions, such as those asked by powerful gentlemen, and in the end, he tells him over and over again that he cannot let in him yet. The man who equipped himself with many things for the journey, uses everything, and even if it is so valuable to bribe the doorkeeper. Indeed, the latter accepts everything, but, adds: "I accept it only, so that you won't believe having missed anything." During those many years, the man has been observing the doorkeeper almost incessantly. He has forgotten about the other doorkeepers, and this first one appears to him as the only obstacle to the entry into the law. He curses the unhappy occurrence, in the first years thoughtlessly and loudly, later as he gets old, he only mutters to himself. He becomes

childish, and, because of the many years of studying the doorkeeper, he has noticed the fleas in the latter's fur collar as well, he also asks the fleas to help him change the doorkeeper's mind. Finally, his sight becomes weak, and he does not know whether it is really getting dark around him, or whether his eyes only deceive him. However, within the darkness, he is able to notice the unquenchable light from the door of the law. Now he won't live much longer. Before dying, all the experiences of the whole time gather in his head forming a question which he has not asked the doorkeeper yet. He waves to him, because he cannot raise his rigid body any more. The doorkeeper must bend down deeply to him, because the height difference changed a lot to the detriment of the man. "And now, what is it that want you to know?". asks the doorkeeper, "you are insatiable.". "- Well indeed, everybody strives for the law", says the man, "so how come that for all these years nobody, except me, has requested entry?" The doorkeeper realizes that the man has reached the end, and so he shouts to be still heard by the latter's fading hearing : "Nobody else could be allowed entry here, because this entrance was only meant for you. Now I'm leaving and closing it."

Dreams, desires, red wine
Raspberry spirit
At a very late hour I refrained
Why should I die
Of a broken heart?
One should just not leave
And leave this world behind
With some sort of fundamentalists
Reductionists and stagnationists
Some world-simplifiers
Narrowminded skulls and hearts of stone
Devastating gardens with a Northern wind.

welcome to these pages, dear reader, a page brimful with soundbites -- the words above are quoted from Red And Guilty by Michael Stavaric (Vienna/Brno Vabene 2002), special translation for Bohemian Tales.

Love is a portrait that loves itself at night
Only at daybreak does it breathe
And once again, I cannot make a decision

I have tried to imagine what it means to me
And what lies in between
Whether it is possible to be carried
By many book spines when one loves

Love is like a French tramway
When it derails, the devil rubs its hands
My anti-poet
He speaks that one language only
And he doesn't mean "rest yourself"

He disguises himself as a street cleaner

Zoltán Endreffy – My relationship with Marxism, today (Hungary 1975)

note: the text is from between 1975 and 1982, and was published in Marx dans la Quatrieme decennie. I'll post fac-simile of the French text on here soon
a samisdat in the word of Vladimir Bukovsky is:
"I myself create it,
edit it,
censor it,
publish it,
distribute it, and ...
get imprisoned for it

Born 1944 in Hungary. Zoltan Endreffy resign from his post as a Professor of Philosophy at the Polytechnical University of Budapest in 1974and earns a living as a worker in factory. In 1975, he started a course at the theological academy of Budapest.
I'll briefly say what I understand by Marxism.

Marxism is a philosophical theory, first and foremost a historical-philosophical theory – on which a political movement is based. The central category of Marx's philosophy of history is alienation. This means that in human history, until now, the so-called pre-historical times, the forces of production have been made alien from individuals thus turning against each one and they became independent to the point of becoming their oppressor. Nonetheless, at a certain point in the course of history, the possibility to put an end to this alienation arises. Indeed, by becoming predominant, the great industrial mechanical production and the rise of the proletarian class create the conditions to end alienation. Therefore, the real history of humanity can begin; its characteristics are the rational control of the production process, the fulfilment of human domination over the forces of nature and, on this infrastructure, the free development of all individuals.

Now, I'm going back to my relationship with Marxism and I have to tell about my doubts about the aims that I just sketched.

I do not refute anything regarding the aim at suppressing alienation. I do not see poverty, class-struggle, economic crises and everything that accompany alienation as acceptable. I only think that communism is insufficient because what is indeed its final mission? It consists of giving every individual a way of life that was – in pre-history – only granted to the members of the domineering class. However, examples from the domineering class show that such a way of life does not inherrently solve the vital problems faced by humans. As aspiring as material possibilities might be to anyone, it does not prevent the fact that a human might feel that life is absurd, without meaning, inhuman. He might waste away and get bored like Russian feudal overlords from the 19.C. Following the example of Roman imperial aristocrats, he may dedicate his time to banquets, baths and circus games. He can escape the absurdity of life by getting drunk, using drugs or by committing suicide as seen in rich societies today.

To all of this, one may reply that these are consequences of alienation and when that ceases to exist, these symptoms will stop. Well, I hope that this will be the case, although at the moment it is more hope than a reality verified at practical level. And therefore, this is something that we can be doubtful about.

We can equally respond to that by saying that Marxism does not solve personal problems and that it does not offer to tell people what to do in their spare time. Yet, I who like everyone else am a person struggling with life's problems, my issue with Marxism is that it says nothing about all these questions, which in my opinion are the most important in daily life. And they start where Marxism stops.

In other words, I think that if communism should resemble a giant Sweden – with a prosperous way of life, high-levels of hygiene and a coherent society – people will still feel like protagonists of an Ingmar Bergman film.

Until now, I presupposed that Marxism's social programme was mostly achievable. However, I do not think that the abundance of material goods – which is one of the prime conditions for the suppression of alienation – can be achieved. More precisely, I doubt that Earth which counts 4 billion individuals, a number that is constantly growing, can achieve the necessary levels of technical-industrial development and without which Marx's vision of communism cannot be imagined. I think that based on ecological data, Earth is unable to offer humanity the amount of raw materials required for world communism and that it would be unable to sustain the pollution caused by such a society.

I do not see either what elements in communism may end the conflicts of interests between humans, and how this will end all forms of oppression and exploitation. According to Marxist doctrine, the solution is the abundance of material goods, an acceptable technological level and the political ruling of the working-class. Therefore, so Marx, the satisfying of general interests is a consequence of objective data. Instead of spiritual and moral perfectibility of humans, it is the objective structure of society that is decisive. In fact, Marx said that 'The Communists are not moral preachers. They do not offer moral commands to people: love one another, don't be selfish etc because the general interest that is well-understood is the basic principle of all moral, and so we must make sure that the individual interest coincides with the interests of humanity.'

I, however, am estimating that such a transformation of objective structures will be in vain if it does not come with a 'rectification of the person', as long as humans are selfish, brutal etc they will always find an excuse to oppress, to exploit one another.

And these are all my worries and doubts that taint my relationship with Marxism. It is not what Marxism says that worries me, but what it does not say. I feel that it says very little about humans as an anthropological problem. For lack of that, it only tells very little about existential problems which I briefly alluded to. Moreover, I am missing that it tells nothing about the rectification of human, that is to say his moral and spiritual improvement. Naturally, I readily admit that complaining that a doctrine about cherries hardly mentions bears is an aberration. However, you see, at the moment, I have to admit that I find bears more interesting.

Jacques Perrin: I love   encounters

An interview with Oliver Lehmann, first translated into German by I. Haas for Universum Wildlife Magazine, Austria April 2002 ( www.universum.co.at )
Additional research by S. Muller

September 2003

Jacques Perrin – French director, actor and producer (Galatee films) his work include:
Films: Le Crabe Tambour, Z, Cine Paradiso, Il Lungo Silencio
TV: Le Chateau des Oliviers (series), La 25eme Heure (current affairs/human rights magazine)
Documentaries: The World of Apes, Microcosmos, Travelling birds

French producer-director Jacques Perrin about his motivation to dedicate three years of his life to migrating birds. His most surprising experience: what makes birds migrate has been barely researched at all.

The love of the French for migrating birds is evident even though not in spirit of wild-life protection: every year, on average, according to official statistics 640.000 quails, 1.2 million lapwings , as many larks and about half a million pigeons are shot for oven and frying pan. Jacques Perrin too went into position, however, the producer/director did not bring hunting trophies home after three years work but a fascinating film about nature for the cinemas. “Travelling birds” (le peuple migrateur) was scheduled as the big family film for the French festive season. In Austria, it is shown as a “Universum” premiere on April 12.

Perrin’s work as a producer/director for the past three decades is impressive even if at the beginning not in direct reference to wildlife. Political thriller “Z” by Constantin Costa-Gavras counts amongst them. Perrin made his first wildlife film in 1989: “Le peuple des singes” (the world of apes). Microcosmos (an adventure into the world of insects was his second feature documentary without human protagonists, and as the first one received many awards. Perrin closes the trilogy with “Travelling birds”. The effort can be compared with big budget movies: only for the film’s purpose, Canadian snow geese were reared at Perrin’s property in Normandy and got used to the flying equipment. Only by this method it was possible for the crew to observe the swarms of birds at close range and as light as a feather. The list of protagonists is long: herons (mating dance), geese and swans (in formation flight), storks (in home moors and the African dunes), birds of prey (hunting), seagulls and albatrosses (endlessly passing the seas), flamingos and pelicans (hunting in seas and lagunas).

Supported by a team of scientists, Perrin manages to convey the fascination of flying in general and the wonder of migration in particular, without any purpose of creating a didactic film made after a manual. That, as Perrin explains, would not have been possible as many components of the migratory instinct is an enigma to science. Instead of conveying vague hypotheses, Perrin concentrates on transposing the public in the life of the birds and let them marvel – successfully.

Question: At the beginning of the film we see a boy setting a goose free, are you that boy?
Answer: Absolutely not. My films do not necessarily show things that happened to me. I was simply asking myself whether one may be able to start a documentary feature in a poetical way. I then decided for the boy because children are best at observing nature. Before I went over to the reality of the birds, I wanted to take the audience by the hand. The scene with the boy encompasses the real matter in poetic estranged way.

Question: Did you fulfil the dream of flying whilst making this film?
Answer: In the beginning this certainly was the team’s dream, the first dream of humanity since the early times. This dream has in certain ways been confirmed when we contacted scientists who taught us more than their knowledge of ornithology. They showed us that even scientists dream to fly with the birds with their small airplanes. With one eye they looked through the viewer, with the other they looked around them maybe asking themselves: is this really true, what I am feeling right now?

Question: Did you always have a passion for birds?
Answer: No.

Question: So how did you get into the subject?
Answer: I love encounters. Encounters with life through the means of film, cinema. I live through cinema. As a maker of films, I am in fact a go-between: on one hand those who possess the knowledge and on the other, those who want to acquire this knowledge. Whether I like birds or not has nothing to do in this context. Of course, I did like birds in my childhood, however, whilst making the film, I met people who have a love for birds and that is more important.

Question: A film about birds and also about the scientists who investigate wildlife?
Answer: No, no. Not at all. Primarily it is a film about a different species than the humans. However, the film would not have been possible without those who know the birds they are protecting. They know how to talk about birds and search into the mystery of migrating. What is wonderful is that we simply know nothing about it. We met scientists who said after 30 or 40 years birdwatching: “Well, I can’t say much about migrating habits”. This is so incredible. Hence, ornithology is an incomplete science. There is no sure knowledge about migration, only hypotheses. One simply does not know how a bird coming out of the egg practically knows what direction it will have to fly to, how it will get to destinations which are 5.000 kilometres away. Where did it earn the knowledge? In the egg? According to constellation of the stars? The angle of sunlight? One simply does not know. One observes and tries to find explanations. Incredible.

Question: What can we learn from the birds? The interaction of the ecosystems?
Answer: yes. Dependence.

Question: Dependence between humans and animals?
Answer: In fact not between humans and animals but the mutual dependence of two places on the planet not dependent on the fact that how far apart we are. Nowadays, we now indeed what global consequences a so-called local ecological damage has. Fact is, we don’t live in France, don’t live in Europe but on this earth. Only, unlike the birds, we lack the perception and the understanding. Their garden is not limited by a wall, they constantly fly towards the horizon and to them the horizon has no ending, no border.
At the beginning I thought to make the film from the perspective of the birds. However, it is absurd to look at the planet as a bird because we cannot put ourselves into a creature that we don’t know. That does not work. We tried to get as near as possible to the creature and perceive what it perceives so we decided to make the film very close to the birds, close to a creature that remains a stranger to us, but now – after finishing the film – we can see with more sensitivity.

Question: Amongst other things, at the age of 27 you produced the legendary “Z” with Constantin Costa-Gavras. At first, it is surprising that someone like you makes wildlife films. Is the preoccupation with apes, insects, birds something like your escape from reality?
Answer: Maybe rather a search for utopia. I have not given much thought about it but what you say is certainly not wrong. I only live once but my profession enables me to enter spheres which were at first totally unknown to me. I have the possibility of travelling not only geographically but also in spirit therefore I should use the possibility of getting acquainted to other life forms than my own and marvel at them. I shall certainly make more politically engaged films. However, if I had only made such films, this would have turned into some sort of propaganda.
In the end it doesn’t matter if I make a wildlife documentary or a polit-thriller: the most important thing is to retrieve all opportunities from a project. I do not seek the good taste of the public, in fact that doesn’t really matter to me. It is not my mission to interpret what public thinks. One must work consistently and only by that one can get to a true work. Only when something is authentic, one might that it might please the public. However you should not orient yourself as a crowd pleaser.

Question: The beginning and end of film say that the birds give a promise, i.e. the promise of return.
Answer: The birds embody the dream of overcoming barriers and obstacles. The birds convey the concept of freedom in such a way that they take the liberty to come back. Only humans can prevent them from doing so. One of the scientists in the team told me nothing is more inhuman than a world where there would only be humans. And that is accurate.

Question: If you were reborn as an animal, which would you prefer. An ape, an insect or a bird?
Answer: I would say that I am preparing myself to a dog’s life! But seriously: Of course I don’t want to be a dog because this would certainly be a difficult life. Somehow we are stuck in our relationships, we live in a certain location and barely manage to break free of it. However, when you make films, you can dissolve all ties for six months, or a year. Every time, I notice that whilst so, I am able to interact with strangers in a different way, however, the birds have the possibility to constantly change their location, their natural habitat. Indeed, everywhere in the entire world.

Herman Mostar - Oh Melachsala!
I thought that it should be right an accessible text close to the subject, discussions with oriental acquaintances - from a Lebanese professor to a kebap seller in Vienna, from Fenerbace wannabes to Bosnian nurses, all said that the Europe's moorish heritage was often overseen. I would like to introduce you to the translation of a text by German radio presenter Herman Mostar. This is an allegorical tale based on Friedrich Schiller about a slave from the orient who brings culture to the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th century. Mostar who has done work with radio Südwestfunk in Stuttgart (Schiller’s hometown) calls the character Malechsala the forgotten ancestor. Of course, Mostar criticizes slavery and racism by saying that Melachsala was never married by those who had taken her work - it strangely echoes the plight of catalogue brides and servants - so the story works at two levels. I had to edit some of the material as the story is far longer.: 

“Indeed since the invasions destroyed Roman culture and with it the culture of the roses, there hadn’t been any roses in this place. You send for rose seeds from your homeland (between Bulgaria and Damaskus) and planted them. Soon they bloom red by the ugly castle walls. This is your first victory, Malechsala: thanks to you, the perfume is on our women. And because of that you are granted some privileges: You are allowed to clean your fingernails – and yet very few follow your example you… Even at the court of King Louis XIV of France, good old Liselotte of Palatina stood out because the black under her fingernails was missing – Fi donc, she had removed it!  But back to you, Malechsala – you come out of the bath smelling of roses and you greet your lord and master…

During the day, you have to work. What kind of work? Cooking? Goodness gracious me! What can you want to cook in this kitchen? There aren’t any spices apart from salt and honey. You have to help yourself and you know how to help yourself. Now that your rose bush has become an entire garden, the first since Roman times, and other flowers bear the names  from your homeland! Arabic and Anglo-Saxon words like Rose and Tulip – even the chestnut (castanie) that you brought from the town of Kastana – Now, you are growing a small spice garden – the first of its kind. You brought quince pear, cardamom, thyme… when I bite into a Bergamot pear then I know that you were the first to plant it because “Bergamot” comes from “Beg Armudy” – the pear of the Beg, and still to our days, the Bergamot trees stand in Bosnia, the noblest pear trees in the garden of the rich Beg. And one day, I see you, Malechsala sweeten the food with cane sugar… The Arabic word for cane or pipe is “can” and to our days that word appears to describe everything that has a pipe: canal, cannon, canula…

And now that you brought the spices, you can spice up and thicken our broths. You lovely little Saracen! You brought us the sauce. As well as bringing sugar, you brought new forms of baking and sweet drinks – the words cake and punsch are oriental.

But enough about what you gave us to eat, there is one and only work that is assigned to women: weaving with the spindle. But this is too crude for your dainty fingers, so you take out a needle and show ravishing arabesques and motives made of thread and linen. You teach embroidery to the our women and you present us with the Gobelins. (the Gobelins originated from Lyons, France which was the main town for silk imports that came from the Orient and Asia, the silk road.).

And then you get tired, you want to play. Ach! But we plays bowls here. So you take out a board with daintily carved figures: chess. (from Persia, now Iran, just like the carpets which we also import from Afghanistan, Mongolia and China).

Was it such a surprise that Malechsala, now getting bold also catered for arts and social life? During meals between the dishes, she began to stage short, pretty pieces of music 
“intermezzi” – and this is how the musical term intermezzo came about. Our string instruments violin, viola, cello, bass developed from her rebab . …We barbarians didn’t dance because of cult or fertility rites, nor for mating purposes but because we had to keep our awkward bodies warms in those stone cold, humid and drafty castle halls. And this is why our oldest dances are lots of jumping about (– Malechsala brought in the graceful pace, turn, rhyth)– she taught her male and female hosts how to move their body gracefully -  and now we all danced because we loved it. In fact, we didn’t dance any more because of the cold because Malechsala, more used to hotter climates, introduced better heating systems (Turkish) and as she did not like sitting on hard crude benches, she imported the first cushions.”