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There is no "there is" there!

Mapraputa Is
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I was translating this passage from "Microsoft Goes Bonkers":
"Read the white paper closely, and you'll see that for all the hoopla, .NET is just a thin cloud of FUD. There's no there there. Try as you might to grasp onto something, the entire white paper does not say anything. The harder you grasp, the more it slips right through your fingers."
How can I translate "There's no there there" if there is no such construction "there is" in Russian? Nobody says "There is a book on the table", it's just "book on table" (we do not need articles to understand each other either ). Well, what worse, I naively thought that "there's no there there" was author's clever word play, and later accidentally read that these words are a quote from Gertrude Stein. Quick search on the Internet proved this:
Besides "a rose is a rose is a rose," one of her most famous phrases is "there's no there there," which you can use whenever you have a need to describe empty places or, sadly, empty people. The phrase is from Stein's "Everybody's Autobiography," and describes (in her very idiosyncratic style) her native city of Oakland, California: "What was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there."
http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Contrib/Edupage/1999/03/07-03-1999-trailer.html
Gee, as a bonus I got "a rose is a rose is a rose" which explained one more puzzle. Once Michael Ernest said "A sheriff is a sheriff is a sheriff". I wondered what this repetitition
means, but was afraid to ask.
Anyway, I decided to use "vnutri net nutra" (something like "there is no side inside", literally "there is no innards inside") from Brodsky poem. Brodsky should rival to Stein in that he's more heard about than read, and this particular poem was made into a song, moderately popular among quasi-educated audience, so you do not have to read original to know the phrase. This should work Also, I am putting all this stuff in comments, because I remember how much happy I was when I read a translation with comments, which explained what was written in original and why this place wasn't translated literally. And according to the Golden Rule, what is good for me, is good for everybody.


Uncontrolled vocabularies
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Rufus BugleWeed
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What a lovely story. Obviously Stein is trying to be artistic with words. Joel is attempting to add spice to something so bland. It's going to be hard to accurately translate the smell of a rose into English, German or Russian.
I like there's no innards inside.
Here in the heartland, we might say there's no meat there. Remembering the presidential debates, "Where's the beef?"
How are you dealing with -
Bill Gates and the knights of the Redmond table
Does the homeland know about Robin Hood?
[ September 30, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
How are you dealing with -
Bill Gates and the knights of the Redmond table
Does the homeland know about Robin Hood?

That would be King Arthur, not Robin Hood.


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Thomas Paul
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By the way, Getrude Stein didn't write, "A rose is a rose is a rose." What she wrote was, "Rose is a rose is a rose," in reference to a woman named Rose. It is one of the most often misquoted lines in literature.
[ September 30, 2002: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Michael Ernest
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Here's two lines to look up:
"My love is like a red, red rose..."
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Upon these lines ensue an argument over the gap between words and reality that raged on for quite a while.
Michael Matola
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Margarita in bold.
Anyway, I decided to use "vnutri net nutra" (something like "there is no side inside", literally "there is no innards inside") from Brodsky poem.
Haven't read the Brodsky, but I think "vnutri net nutra" is a kick-ass translation for "there's no there there." (Didn't know "nutra," though. Before I got to your translation I read that as "vnutri net nutrii," which caused me to scratch my head.)
Kick-ass: vyshe vsei pokhvaly.
Nobody says "There is a book on the table", it's just "book on table" (we do not need articles to understand each other either
No. The correct translation of "there is a book on the table" is "on table book," not "book on table." The correct English for "book on table" is "the book is on the table." True, Russian doesn't have articles, but it does use word order to trigger the same kind of stuff for which we often use articles in English: to singnal the interplay of old versus new information.
...if there is no such construction "there is" in Russian?
Russian has some perfectly serviceable "there is" constructions, the most common of which is "est'." Although it's not much help here. And although explicit "est'" (as opposed to the zero form) often adds an emphasis beyond pure existentiality (existence when existence is suprising, unexpected, or frustrates an expectation of nonexistence).
To wit:
V etom gorode est' muzei.
There's a museum in this city. (Or even "this city has a museum," if you want to get all possessive.) (Yes, I understand some of the differences between "v etom gorode est' muzei" and "v etom gorode muzei.")
To come up with possible alternatives to your Brodsky, I was trying to find (the Russian) for the prologue to Bely's Petersburg -- you know the bit where the narrator goes on about the possible existence or nonexistence of a city of a million people that is not a capital of a country. But my copy's somewhere in storage and I couldn't dig it out, and I tried Googling for it but couldn't find it. I know there are a couple of fine uses of existential "est'" in that passage (plus the witty short-form adjectival form of "rectilinear"...).
I also toyed with something along the lines of
Ne est' "est'".
and tried something with "nechego," but couldn't come up with anything I thought intelligible, let alone an artful translation of the Stein.
This train of thought brought to mind a previous linguistic failure on my part. Few years back there was a trendy Russian (inspired by Ukrainian?) phrase "bazarov nema" (or was it "bazara"?) meaning, roughly, "there will be no further discussion on the matter."
I forget what I was trying to say at the time (possibly something along the lines of "I don't do Ukrainian" immediately after having been told "bazarov nema") but I was trying to play off the expression and came up with something along the lines of "net u menia nikakoi 'nemy,'" which amused some Russian friends.
Michael Matola
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How'd you translate Microsoft Goes Bonkers?
Mikrosoft obaldevaet?
Mikrosoft ofigevaet?
Mikrosoft okh...?
Michael Matola
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However, I am convinced that the Spanish for "there's no there there" has to be
No hay banda.


Michael Silencio Matola
Mapraputa Is
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How'd you translate Microsoft Goes Bonkers?
I was going to ask!
As a draft variant I used "U Microsoft poexala krysha" ("roof is moving") - slang for go crazy, but I was going to inqury how is "go bonkers" different from "standard" "go crazy"? Is this more or less offensive than simply "crazy"? More vulgar or elevated? Something else?
And while you are here
Does FUD stand for "Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt" (I was said in computer world it's always "Fear...") or "Fouled Up Disinformation (polite form)" - this seems to fit in context better?
Mapraputa Is
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Regarding Robin Hood and King Arthur, the homeland know them both, Robin Hood "as is", but King Arthur is less lucky, I am afraid. He is best known because of Twain's "... A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" - this is the first thing that is accosiated with King Arthur's in my mind Maybe it's only me, but I am afraid not. I did not get allusion to "Knights of the Round Table", and "round table" is an idiom with totally unrelated meaning so I wonder what this phrase will communicate to the reader. :roll: Some testing is needed here...
Thomas Paul
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Now I know that you are not a programmer, Map. How could any programmer not know about "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"?
http://www.lego.com/eng/studios/screening/movie.asp?id=montypython
Mapraputa Is
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I do not know about Monty Python and all that stuff... Is it a requirement for being a programmer? What, are all programmers in the USA fans of Monty Python, how, why...
Mapraputa Is
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Kick-ass: vyshe vsei pokhvaly.
You mean "Kick-ass" means you like something? What a language, "sucks" means something bad and "kick-ass"something good! Are you sure you did not get it all wrong?
No. The correct translation of "there is a book on the table" is "on table book," not "book on table." The correct English for "book on table" is "the book is on the table." True, Russian doesn't have articles, but it does use word order to trigger the same kind of stuff for which we often use articles in English: to singnal the interplay of old versus new information.
You are right regarding word order as a functional analog of articles! Interesting, that this never naturally come to my mind; when I read about it (and it was an article about a seminar of professional translators!) it was a total surprise But in this particular example, I ma not sure, you see, when you do no have a dedicated grammatical construct to support some concept, like a trigger from old to new information, it's getting vague. "On table book" would work in context of some description, when you already mentioned the table. I tried to think about this sentence uttered out of any context, and it doesn't sound Ok. "Book on the table" is more "standalone" variant, it sounds a little weird, but there is grammatically parallel phrase "House on Embankment" which is actually a title of the book. "On Embankment House" would sound like an excerpt from some text.
The correct English for "book on table" is "the book is on the table."
It depends on context and intonation. Normally, it would be "the book is on the table", true, however, it can mean "there is some book on some table" - they both are new and both are brought into discussion at the same time if this is a part of a seria of descriptions: "Room. Opened window. Flowers in vase. Book on table" - and if this is said rather than written, then intonation is different, there would be no stress on "table". But all this is really subtle, not like English articles. Hm, come to think about it, if English articles are not subtle, why I cannot figure out how to use them...
Russian has some perfectly serviceable "there is" constructions, the most common of which is "est'."
But this is just "is" Actually, I was thinking that "there is no ''there is" there" is a little too bold, if to work hard some analog can be found, but it wouldn't be "much help here" as you said, for Stein's phrase.
This train of thought brought to mind a previous linguistic failure on my part. Few years back there was a trendy Russian (inspired by Ukrainian?) phrase "bazarov nema" (or was it "bazara"?) meaning, roughly, "there will be no further discussion on the matter."
"nema" is Ukrainian for "no" or "not", and "bazar" (bazaar) is a slang for "drivel" or just any act of speech One of my favorute expressions is "filtruy bazar" which literally means "filter your bazaar!" and is used to indicate that your interlocutor said something you consider mildly offensive so you are issuing a proper warning.
[ October 01, 2002: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
I wonder what this phrase will communicate to the reader. :roll: Some testing is needed here...

LoL... Here is the first result of my test:
"We all have read Mark Twain. That's about as much as most of us know about King Arthur's tales, popular in England and English-speaking
countries like the US. Do you want to emphasize the analogy beetween Gates and Arthur? What exactly is the message here?"
Rufus BugleWeed
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Your interpolation of FUD to fear - uncertainty - doubt is the first time I've ever seen this translation. When I read Joel's article and see FUD, I think human excrement and vaporware.
Thomas Paul
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As to Joel's article... it's over two years old and quite out of date.
As to King Arthur... every English speaking boy grew up reading the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (at least they did when I was a boy). We all wanted to be Sir Lancelot. The round table refers to the Arthur's treating all his knights as equals and respecting their opinions even though he was king. At a round table, no one is sitting at the head of the table. I didn't read the Mark Twain book until I was in high school. In fact, I saw the movie with Bing Crosby before I read the book.
And yes, you must be a Monty Python fan before you can be a programmer. Otherwise, all the other programmers will make fun of you. By the way, you have heard of the language, Python? It wasn't named after a snake.
And "kick ass" means something is really good.
"FUD" means fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Randall Twede
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i now know i dont ever want to read anything by gertrude stein. there's no there there. sheesh!


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Mapraputa Is
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Randall, what is so wrong wth "there's no there there"? I am just curious
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Randall's just jealous that he didn't think of it himself.
David Weitzman
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One of my teachers would circle every sentance that began with "There is(n't)" or "There are(n't)". He really hated that construction. I'm still not entirely sure why...
But anyway: Yes, Monty Python is essential to any programmer's knowledge base. Quick, put your life on hold and watch the Monty Python movies before you get cast out of the programmer community!
Rufus BugleWeed
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cast out? I thought that was awaaaaay!
Mapraputa Is
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About me not being a programmer, I guess I am as much a programmer as anything else... So you think, studying "Monty Python" can help me to be mistaken for one? That would be nice. I thought "Simpsons" constitutes the current quotation base, but if you are saying it's "Monty Python", so be it...
Joel's article is probably more a historical document now, but in any case, I am not so much interested in what is written, as with how and where it is easily translatable and where not. And by the way, normally we think that the translation is always worse the original, or at least "loses" something. But the opposite effect also takes place. Why is it impossible that some other language has better equipement for some particular idea than the language such an idea was born in?
Look at this paragraph:
"I'm not saying that there's nothing new in .NET. I'm saying that there's nothing there at all."
On fortunate coincidence, NET sounds exactly like Russian "no" or "not", and "nothing there at all" will be translated with "no" at the end, which gives such a nice rhythm and rhyme that the whole article should be translated to give a birth to one this phenomena.
Michael M., I had a vague feeling that "vnutri net nutra" lacks something, and here is a better (I think) variant: "vnutri .NET net nutra" - it’s more symmetrical, also has 4 words, it is less general than "there's no there there", but then, "vnutri net nutra" isn't a well-know phrase (Brodsky canonical text is "... to I vnutri nutra", without "net") so it's a bit confusing. To specify that this is about .NET puts everything on their places, I think.
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Shura Balaganov
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Regarding Robin Hood and King Arthur, the homeland know them both, Robin Hood "as is", but King Arthur is less lucky, I am afraid. He is best known because of Twain's "... A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" - this is the first thing that is accosiated with King Arthur's in my mind

Never heard of "Connecticut Yankee...", but definitely read and know King Arthur. What does this say about my education? :roll:
May I throw in some other, seemingly unrealted suggestions?
Pusto kak v bochke
Gluho kak v tanke
Pustota
V .NET net suti (sushnosti)
V .NET nichego novogo net
.NET eto pusoi razgovor. Pustee pustogo
Shura
[ October 02, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]

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Randall Twede
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yeah i read about king arthur in a book written by a british guy, tennyson, idylls of the king.
Michael Matola
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:

V .NET nichego novogo net

This is the only one I have objections to. You've said that there's nothing new in .NET, whereas the original criticism was that there's nothing (of substance) there at all.
Vocabulary time!
All Shura's talk of emptiness brings to mind one of my most favoritest English words -- jejune.
Specifically to food or diet it means "devoid of nutritional value." Mushrooms are delicious, but jejune.
More figuratively it can mean dull, ininspired, lacking substance. a jejune conversation, a jejune presentation.
Oh, here's an interesting comparison, quoted from Merriam-Webster's entry for insipid:
synonyms INSIPID, VAPID, FLAT, JEJUNE, BANAL, INANE mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character. INSIPID implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest an insipid romance with platitudes on every page. VAPID suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit an exciting story given a vapid treatment. FLAT applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat. JEJUNE suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance a jejune and gassy speech. BANAL stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy a banal tale of unrequited love. INANE implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality an inane interpretation of the play.
[ October 02, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
Never heard of "Connecticut Yankee...", but definitely read and know King Arthur. What does this say about my education? :roll:

That you should get cast out of the programmer community ASAP! What else?
Kidding.
How about "Yanki pri dvore korolya Artura"? Is it better now? I wonder what was the reason to drop "Connecticut" when they translated the title. Also, in Russian "yankee" sounds like plural, so I always believed there were many Yankees in King Arthur's Court, while the original seems imply one one Yankee.
May I throw in some other, seemingly unrealted suggestions?
But we need some word play here!
Shura Balaganov
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Map: How about "Yanki pri dvore korolya Artura"?
Oh, that!... How silly of me
Map: But we need some word play here!
That's why I said my suggestions were unrelated. The level of skill-of-tongue you guys are talking about is far beyond my abilities to...I think the word I am looking here is articulate?...
How about "set' pusta", like in "zakinul starik v more seti"...
Shura
Mapraputa Is
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King Arthur brought havoc in what used to be a united family of translators. Some people read about him and some did not. Some are for replacing him with somebody better known and some passionately see such an action as hostile and disrespectful to the reader. It's almost a fight already
 
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