Der But machte so Bonnie wie Hut

I think that translating Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark without significant losses is almost impossible. But here is an example where a translator managed to preserve the possibility to construct a portmanteau word (in line 009) from two other words (in line 010).

In Lewis Carroll Alice, Band 3, Die Jagd nach dem Schnark (2013, ISBN 978-3-8442-6493-7, p. 16), Günther Flemming’s translation into German of The Hunting of the Snark has no maker of Bonnets and Hoods in line 010. Instead, line 010 describes an activity of the Boots, who is introduced in line 009 (translated as But). Flemming’s translation allows to construct the portmanteau “But” from “Bonnie wie Hut“. However, the lines 009 and 010 lost their ambiguity. Using “Einer” instead of “Er” would have maintained the ambiguity.

Günther Flemming’s translation:

009    Die Crew war komplett, sie umfasste ‘nen But
010        Er machte so Bonnie wie Hut
011    Einen Beistand im Schlichten von ihrem Disput —
012        Einen Broker, der schätzte ihr Gut,

013    Einen Billard-Markeur mit enorm sichrer Hand,
014        Der vielleicht hätt’ verdient noch viel mehr —
015    Ein Bankier jedoch nahm jeden Penny zum Pfand
016        Für sein eigenes hohes Salär.

Lewis Carroll’s original:

009     The crew was complete: it included a Boots
010         A maker of Bonnets and Hoods —
011     A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes —
012         And a Broker, to value their goods.

013     A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
014         Might perhaps have won more than his share —
015     But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
016         Had the whole of their cash in his care.

Sadly, is seems that I cannot discuss this with Flemming anymore. His email account and his website (some pages are in an disappeared after January 2023.


2018-08-15, updated: 2023-05-02

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