To Remember or To Think

Discuss the tricks and sleights which appear in Genii.

Postby NikMikas » 10/21/05 09:25 AM

As most of us know by now (thanks to Kaufman & Company's most recent book, the November Genii), Hofzinser didn't use the now popular title "To Remember and Forget", instead using "To Think and Forget". Although I never really thought about this when I first encountered it (which was about a year ago on Magic Christian's site, where the trick is listed as "Denken und Vergessen"), I started to when Christian listed reasons as to why Hofzinser did it this way. And now I am stuck with a problem: which is better, the original or what it has come to be?

Obviously Hofzinser's original method and presentation was well thought out and impossible to really argue, but doesn't remembering sound more emotional and, well, romantic? "To Think" seems like such a heartless act, especially when dealing with something such as love. "To Remember" seems more appropriate. But what do you all think?

Another topic to ponder over is the ending: should it be blank cards or the "forgotten" cards? Once again, it's hard to find a flaw with Hofzinser's reasoning (that the audience will forsee the return of the forgotten cards), but doesn't that add something meaningful to the trick? And what if they don't suspect it? Wouldn't it make more sense, since they never actually forgot the "forgotten" cards, to have them return? I think it allows much more meaningful patter.

Just some things to discuss. Once again. thanks for such a great issue. I would have bought my local shops entire stock, but the owner only allowed me to buy 2.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/21/05 09:47 AM

Originally posted by Nik Mikas:
... "To Think" seems like such a heartless act, especially when dealing with something such as love. ...
At a guess, there are some other translations of the transitive verb form of "to think" that may serve your aesthetic tastes.

Taking the pair of cards offered as a sort of foreground/background figure is quite an idea. When you see one, the other fades from perception. The addition of using a blank card to display a card which has lost its association to the person or its meaning is also impressive.

Is it cynical to imagine some magicians finishing up the routine by turning up an ace from the pack and then showing the three on the table to have become the other aces?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/21/05 10:26 AM

Originally posted by Nik Mikas:
And now I am stuck with a problem: which is better, the original or what it has come to be?
There you have one of the challenges of translation: Is it the translator's obligation to render the meaning as literally as possible or to try to capture the "intended" meaning, which necessarily may involve some subjective conjecture. Perhaps that is the difference between "translation" and "interpretation." I am sure that whoever first rendered "Denken" as "To Remember" rather than "To Think" did so consciously, because he (or she) felt it better captured the intended meaning. Others likely then merely perpetuated that decision. Sharpe, for example, did not have a working knowlege of German yet did his best to take Fred Singleton's translation (which called the trick "Remember and Forget," but Singleton may not have been the first to do so. I believe it is included in Goldston's CARD TRICKS WITHOUT APPARATUS under that name, though I don't have a copy handy to check), as published in THE SPHINX, and render it comprehensible, working with a German-English dictionary and correspondence with Fischer. Given that fact, it is really remarkable that there are not more problems with Sharpe's versions!

I personally am a HUGE fan of both Ottokar Fischer and S. H. Sharpe, whose devotion to Hofzinser helped keep his name alive for many years and made it known to a much wider "fan base" than would otherwise have been the case. Having said that, I am also a HUGE fan of Magic Christian's recent scholarship on this topic, which has unearthed an incredible wealth of new information which gives us a much more accurate portrait of this great artist and his achievements. Christian's two (soon to be three!) books on Hofzinser are incredible resources on magic history and he and publisher Volker Huber deserve great credit for making this information available in such a beautiful format. It is hoped (and expected!) that Hermetic Press will come close to the standard of the originals when the English editions are ready. The November GENII is a really outstanding, thanks to both Christian and Richard for putting the issue together!
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Postby Guest » 10/21/05 05:07 PM

Hi Richard, in Goldston's book the trick "To Think (remember) and forget" is not listed. Fischer might have given a translation to Fred Singleton and might have made a mistake already. The psychology of habits shows that we magicians are so used to this title that we cannot imagine another one.
On the other hand the German word for remember is "erinnern" which is in no way so nic then to say in German "Denk an mich" (Think of me)which phrase is much stronger than just to remember.
If one follows the tricks of Hofzinser than you can understand that he surprised the audience always with the unexpected. In this case "blank cards" to point out that everything is forgotten, lost, not there anymore.
It is up to everybody to try forlay people, not for magicians. You will see and be convinced like me when I first did it that way.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 10/30/05 08:54 AM

Translation can be a really difficult task, especially if the translator is trying to make the work read as if it were written in the target language rather than in the original language. All of us take certain liberties in order to best capture the spirit of the material.

Sometimes it is extemely difficult to find the right expression. Often, the best translation is the one that comes to mind right after the book is published.

I've been fortunate because all of the authors I have translated were alive at the time that I translated their work. I could call Punx, Ted or Ulf and ask, "Exactly what do you mean by (insert word here)." Sometimes that word is the key to the tone of the translation of a specific section of a book.

And I'm not above calling Richard Hatch and asking: "Hey! Did you ever here of a (whatever)?"

The greatest compliment we can receive from a reader is "This doesn't read like a German book."

The best compliment we can receive from an author is "That's EXACTLY how I would have said it if my English was better."

To which I usually reply, "WERE better." Then we laugh!
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/30/05 09:22 AM

There is an Italian expression: "Tradditore, traddutore." It translates as "Translator, traitor," although that translation doesn't quite capture the full meaning of the saying.

I remember first learning (this is 25 years ago) that the original title of Marcel Proust's epic work, which at the time was translated as "Remembrance of Things Past," was really "A la Recherche de Temps Perdu," which as any high school French student can tell you, means "In Search of Lost Time." This latter translation, which is slowly replacing the original in general use, is, aside from being a much better title, almost exactly the opposite in meaning from the first translation.

Re: Hofzinser.
How about "To Think About and Forget."
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/30/05 02:00 PM

Translation almost always involves some loss of meaning or betrayal of the original authors ideas, even between two fairly similar languages such as German and English. With simple statements and technical texts its sometimes possible to get pretty close, but even then there are often subtle differences in the ways things are expressed. A German public notice will say Rauchen verboten (Smoking is forbidden), but in England you would normally see No Smoking. With literature and poetry its even harder to stick to literal translations, which is why the translated titles of films and literary works are often very free.

Personally I think Remember and forget is a good translation. Its more idiomatic than Think (of) and forget, and since the goal of translation (especially with a text like this) is usually to sound natural it seems far preferable. In any case, the range of meanings of remember in English is wider than that of its primary dictionary translation sich erinnern in German, which is closer to recall. Hofzinsers actual words are denken an eine Karte (think of one (of the) card(s)) and later, in the second and third versions of the trick, eine Karte im Gedchtnisse behalten literally keep one card in your memory, which is the same as remembering. When we ask a spectator to think of a card we are implying that we want him to remember it.

Another point is that the German actually uses gerunds or verbal nouns, not infinitives, so it means Remembering and forgetting rather than To remember and forget. This would sound okay as a translation, but again the original translator has taken a slight liberty and used imperatives, which was probably a stylistic choice. After all, the performer is asking or instructing the spectator to remember and forget cards. I agree with Richard that the choice of remember was probably also deliberate; anyone with enough knowledge of German to translate Hofzinser in the first place would have to know things like denken = to think, sich erinnern = to remember.

I believe there is something in Karl Fulves Epilogue about a translation of Hofzinser done by Dr. Daley. Does anyone know anything about this?

The November Genii hasnt reached my corner of the world yet, but I do have the second of Magic Christians superb works on Hofzinser, and as a translator and card enthusiast am fascinated all this kind of analysis.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 10/31/05 06:45 AM

To state that German uses gerunds or verbal nouns rather than infinitives is not entirely accurate. To be more accurate, you would need to state that any German infinitive can be made into a noun by placing an article in front of it. Most Germans I have discussed this with think in these terms. The idea of "infinitive forms" is really a throwback to to Latin and the Romance languages, which do, in fact, have a specific infinitve form.

It is not really that much different from English in this way. We don't really have infinitives, either. We have words that if you place the word "to" in front of them become infinitives. If you leave it off, the word can generally be used as a noun. That's why a good book can be a good read, etc.

Sometimes a mistranslation catches on and never leaves. One glaring example is the C.P.E. Bach book Versuch ber die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen, has been translated as (Essay on) The True Art of Keyboard Playing. The word "Art" in German more normally translates as "Way" as in method or manner. "Art" is a secondary or tertiary meaning of the German word "Art." The actual meaning of this title is "Attempt (to explain) the correct way to play the keyboard."
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/31/05 08:53 AM

You're probably right that my grammar terminology is a bit off the mark - even "gerund" is a term which is more appropriate for the discussion of Latin, since many English grammarians nowadays prefer to talk about "-ing forms". What I was really getting at though was the point that we should steer away from titles starting with "To", because the German is "Denken" (capital D), not "denken".

I like the C.P.E. Bach mistranslation example - that was new to me. Mistranslations do stick if they are catchy enough because most people are not in a position to go back to the original.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/01/05 09:40 PM

If the words are capialized in the original title, then a more accurate translation might be "Remembering and Forgetting," which are, of course, gerunds. Or it could be "Thinking and Forgetting," which is an odd combination of words in English.

I've been driving from Nashville to Houston for the past day or so, and I've had some time to think about the original post in the thread.

My question would be this, in reply to the original post: "When are you going to give the trick a title?" Surely you aren't going to announce, "Now I will perform Hofzinser's 'Remember and Forget.' " Most of the time, we don't announce the names of these things. We just do them.
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Postby NCMarsh » 11/01/05 11:07 PM

The greatest compliment we can receive from a reader is "This doesn't read like a German book."
I think that the goal of translation varies with the material being translated. If we are translating a business letter which has a direct and pedestrian function, then the smoothness and naturalness of the translation ought to be the highest priority and it would, indeed, be a compliment to say that the letter sounds like it had originally been written in the target language.

When we are dealing, however, with the work of masters -- work of depth that has endured for centuries -- then the fact that it sounds like it was written in English is a sure guarantee that we are working with a poor translation.

In these cases, to presume that we understand the richness and depth of the text adequately enough to simply change German idioms into English idioms that "mean the same thing" is to presume that we are smarter than our readers and it limits our readers' understanding of the text to the level of our own.

Even if I think that there is no important distinction between "remember" and "think," it is my responsibility as the translator of a thoughtfully crafted work to preserve that distinction -- either in the text of the translation itself or in the critical apparatus. If Magic Christian only spoke English, and only had access to my edition, this entire avenue of exploration would be sealed off from him. He would be walled in by the limits of my interpretation and could only understand Hofzinser as well as I do. In this case, my version may have beautiful and fluid english, but it fails as a translation.

St. Thomas was perhaps the greatest reader that Aristotle has had in the past two millenia. His commentaries on Aristotelian works are extraordinary. Thomas, however, did not read a word of Attic Greek. He was only able to read Aristotle as well as he did because of the careful, painfully literal Latin translation of the Aristotelian corpus made by William of Moerbecke (indeed, William's translations are so literal that they have been used to correct Greek manuscripts.) Had William's goal been to make Aristotle sound as if he were writing Latin, then the West would have been all the more lost to itself.

As the number of "educated" Americans who only read English remains embarrassingly large, it becomes all the more important that we encourage translations that are as literal and transparent as possible.

The goal of the responsible translator is to erase himself -- to allow, as much as possible, a direct conversation between reader and writer. Great writers choose language with tremendous care and they are certainly aware of the literal meaning of their idioms (and will play with them to important effect), to casually alter the choice of word can do tremendous violence to the intent of the text. The Proust case cited above is a good example, as is the horrendous practice of translating the title of Plato's Politeia as "The Republic." Read some of the reviews of Politeia at Amazon.com and you'll find people who are passionately angry at Plato because they don't understand him -- in part due to the mis-translation of the title.

I (embarassingly!) have not spent enough time with Hofzinser to claim that his work is serious and careful enough to demand a William of Moerbecke -- but, from the sound of it, Magic Christian's article makes a compelling case that English-reading magicians could greatly benefit from a literal translation.

Best,

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/02/05 12:53 AM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
...the careful, painfully literal ... translation ...
I have some qualms about a literal translation being used as a primary source for some kinds of scholarly work. At some point it makes sense to have the original text and any translation side by side.

A friend from Brazil in college once joked that the best way to insult a native speaker of another language is to take what you are thinking and translate it literally into their language and say exactly that. This person was fluent in three or four languages and made his case something like;

The presence of idiom in both almost guarantees the translated prose will contain significant shifts in meaning. You've probably heard the joke about an early attempt to translate from English to Russian and back using a computer program. Input: "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Output from English->Russian->English was "The wine is good but the meat is stale".

A tough call especially when it comes to poetry
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 11/02/05 09:57 AM

I thought I'd killed this thread off by mentioning gerunds and Latin grammar, but luckily it seems to be still alive.

The original German is in fact "Denken und Vergessen" with capitals, so they are gerunds. As a title "Remember and Forget" sounds better (to me, at least). Obviously the purpose of the title is only to give magicians something to refer to, but it's nice to have something reasonably natural-sounding.

For various translations of "denken" (to think), enter "denken" in the search box at http://dict.leo.org/ Not only does this show the range of possibilities, it also confirms that "remember" is appropriate in some contexts.

Nathan,
You're absolutely right that the goal of translation varies with the material being translated, but I don't think a literal translation of Hofzinser would really help us understand either his material or his performance style. It's said that a translation should produce the same effect on the reader of the target language as the original does on readers of the source language, and that's why idioms need to be translated in a way that makes them intelligible. As Jonathan points out, literal translations of idioms usually sound quirky and ridiculous. The translator's job is to find equivalents in the target language and allow target language readers to experience the text in the same way that source language readers do. In this particular case I think "remember" is what Hofzinser meant, and rendering it as "think" doesn't add any new dimensions.

Richard and Bill,
If I can be permitted to pay you both a compliment, I find that your English versions of "Card College" and "Paramiracles" definitely don't read like translations.

Incidentally, see http://www.geocities.com/j_r_partington/spirit.html for more machine translations of "The spirit is willing". Another famous (though possibly apocryphal) machine translation is from "Coca Cola revives your spirits" to "Coca Cola brings back your dead ancestors".
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Postby Jeff Haas » 11/02/05 03:25 PM

The "Come Alive!" story seems to be an urban legend.

http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/ancestor.asp
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 11/03/05 12:53 AM

Sorry, Pepsi (never could tell the difference). And it wasn't a machine translation.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/03/05 05:44 AM

This brings us exactly to a conflict of interests bounded by what Umberto Eco called The Role of the Reader and The Limits of Interpretation.

At what point do linguistic mirrors of deeper human truths create themselves in the reader due to context? At what point does the writer create their ideal reader?

Borges was here. :cool:
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Postby Bob Farmer » 11/03/05 11:07 AM

Seeing Eco and Borges in the same post, and in a forum devoted to magic, is about the strangest thing I've seen this week.
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Postby Guest » 11/03/05 03:13 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
Seeing Eco and Borges in the same post, and in a forum devoted to magic, is about the strangest thing I've seen this week.
And Pepsi too. Some people obviously can't spell Mr.Diaconis' first name.

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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/04/05 12:15 PM

I've translated German as far back as Faust I. I can tell you that a good translation will be as literal as possible and as literary as possible.

As an excercise in how translation really works, our professor gave us the first 25 lines of Faust I to translate into rhymed English. The efforts were not graded, but did provide a great deal of amusement for the class. Our conclusion was that such a translation was impossible.

Then someone came out with one that actually did the whole work without losing very much at all.

A problem with translating very old material into English is that often the meanings of the words in the original language have changed or the various sources of information give completely inaccurate translations. One example was in Faust I, Mephisto plays a "Zither." This is often (mis)translated as zither. Wrong! It actually means a "cittern." Until recently, few people even knew what the heck a cittern was. Now most of the Celtic groups have a cittern player who is actually playing an incorrectly named octave mandolin with an extra course of strings.

Ted Lesley is one of the easiest people I know to translate. He learned a lot of his English by reading Ken Brooke's instructions. All I have to do is combine Ken Brooke with the German, and bingo! Instant Ted.

Going totally literal has many pitfalls. In the case of Sharpe, it had a few pratfalls as well. He consistently translated a phrase in French as "occult physics." I believe it should have been translated as "hidden mechanism" or "secret mechanism."

There is a particular problem in translating material from languages that are not linguistically related. Only with great experience in such languages can one produce accurate translations. Even then, compromises will become necessary at some point or another. The translator needs to figure out where the compromises need to be made without compromising the integrity of the original.

Regarding unusual ads -- I was called to do a voice over in a Texas Instruments commercial. The agent said, "The client asked to make sure you speak High German." This made me suspect that the person who wrote the translation did not have much more than a couple of years of college or high school German. When I got the ad copy, my suspicions were confirmed.

There were two phrases that the translator could not have possibly meant. The ad was supposed to say that the calculator could be subjected to extremes of heat or cold without malfunctioning. Idiomatically translated, it stated that when the calculator was sexually aroused or when it was frigid, it still functioned. I informed the client as delicately as possible that there was a problem with the German. I didn't get the job. I hope the Germans got the joke!

But then again, if TI had advertised KFC, it would have been called "deep fat fried pieces of dead barnyard fowl."
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 11/05/05 02:30 PM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
I've translated German as far back as Faust I. I can tell you that a good translation will be as literal as possible and as literary as possible.
Or, as a translator colleague of mine used to say, "as accurate as possible and as free as necessary".
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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/07/05 03:46 PM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
The greatest compliment we can receive from a reader is "This doesn't read like a German book."
I think that the goal of translation varies with the material being translated. If we are translating a business letter which has a direct and pedestrian function, then the smoothness and naturalness of the translation ought to be the highest priority and it would, indeed, be a compliment to say that the letter sounds like it had originally been written in the target language.

When we are dealing, however, with the work of masters -- work of depth that has endured for centuries -- then the fact that it sounds like it was written in English is a sure guarantee that we are working with a poor translation.

In these cases, to presume that we understand the richness and depth of the text adequately enough to simply change German idioms into English idioms that "mean the same thing" is to presume that we are smarter than our readers and it limits our readers' understanding of the text to the level of our own.

Even if [b]I
think that there is no important distinction between "remember" and "think," it is my responsibility as the translator of a thoughtfully crafted work to preserve that distinction -- either in the text of the translation itself or in the critical apparatus. If Magic Christian only spoke English, and only had access to my edition, this entire avenue of exploration would be sealed off from him. He would be walled in by the limits of my interpretation and could only understand Hofzinser as well as I do. In this case, my version may have beautiful and fluid english, but it fails as a translation.

St. Thomas was perhaps the greatest reader that Aristotle has had in the past two millenia. His commentaries on Aristotelian works are extraordinary. Thomas, however, did not read a word of Attic Greek. He was only able to read Aristotle as well as he did because of the careful, painfully literal Latin translation of the Aristotelian corpus made by William of Moerbecke (indeed, William's translations are so literal that they have been used to correct Greek manuscripts.) Had William's goal been to make Aristotle sound as if he were writing Latin, then the West would have been all the more lost to itself.

As the number of "educated" Americans who only read English remains embarrassingly large, it becomes all the more important that we encourage translations that are as literal and transparent as possible.

The goal of the responsible translator is to erase himself -- to allow, as much as possible, a direct conversation between reader and writer. Great writers choose language with tremendous care and they are certainly aware of the literal meaning of their idioms (and will play with them to important effect), to casually alter the choice of word can do tremendous violence to the intent of the text. The Proust case cited above is a good example, as is the horrendous practice of translating the title of Plato's Politeia as "The Republic." Read some of the reviews of Politeia at Amazon.com and you'll find people who are passionately angry at Plato because they don't understand him -- in part due to the mis-translation of the title.

I (embarassingly!) have not spent enough time with Hofzinser to claim that his work is serious and careful enough to demand a William of Moerbecke -- but, from the sound of it, Magic Christian's article makes a compelling case that English-reading magicians could greatly benefit from a literal translation.

Best,

Nathan.
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A skilful translator will understand how to do exactly what you are referring to. It would be incredibly ignorant to translate Hofzinser into modern slang. But if you know how a person expresses himself in his own language and you can capture that style in your language, you then achieve this transparency that you refer to.

I would not even think of translating Goethe the same way I would translate Punx or Ted Lesley. But I also would not let anything stand that didn't make perfect sense to me when I read it.

When I translated Sheherazade, Ulf Bolling suggested to me that I have a friend of his who was from London look over the section of stories, because he wanted the stories to have a slightly different stylistic feel than the other parts of the book. I used some of her ideas as well as mine before we settled on a translation.

But a translation should not read like a translation. It should read as if it were originally written in the target language. Perhaps not in the current version of that language, but in a version that captures the richness and flavor of the original.

And there are those perennial "untranslatables." Goethe's Faust addresses this early on, when Faust is trying to translate John 1:1, and is looking for the correct translation of "logos." It still hasn't been found.
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Postby NCMarsh » 11/08/05 05:09 AM

Bill,

I appreciate the thoughtful response, but I think that there are very specific ideas, and specific ways of viewing the world, that underlie different languages. If we succeed at making the text fluid in the target language, it now takes on the assumptions and associations of the target language and the thought becomes unconsciously, and irrevocably, transformed.

Language often grows through metaphor. When I need a new word, I rarely choose a random sound. Rather, I compare the new thing being described to something that I already have a word for. This is one way in which a particular language -- by the particular things which its etymologies compare -- offers a specific relationship between its objects. The other major way in which words contain ideas about the things they represent becomes clear when we compare languages and see that some draw distinctions that others do not.

Your example of logos in John 1:1 (or in much of the Greek corpus, where the word is certainly not used casually) is a pretty good one for what I am trying to talk about and for what I vaguely termed associations. Many translators stare at the list of lexical meanings trying to find the right one for logos. Does John mean word? Ratio? Speech? Account? These separate meanings for which John does not have separate words do not exist for John, or are unimportant to him.

Perhaps it would be helpful here to imagine the opposite scenario, John is trying to render the KJV version of John 1:1 into Greek: Word? Do they mean muthos or logos? Our language has not needed to find words to describe the distinction between muthos and logos because it is not alive for us, it is not a distinction that fundamentally shapes the way we look at words. When we say word, we mean neither muthos nor logos but the things which they share in common. Likewise, logos points to the essential thing that unites the English concepts of ratio, speech, word, account, etc* When we try to separate that thought into parts that are foreign to Johns concept, we are talking about something that John is not and we are only able to hear ourselves.

Obviously, this kind of extreme and intractable case is not itself an argument against holding fluidity in the target language as the premier objective. It is rather like blowing up very small letters so that you can read them clearly. Language is governed by underlying ideas and associations on many levels and in some very subtle ways syntax, grammar, etymology, idiom. Every idea latent in every other language is thinkable by me by virtue of my humanity, but it is very rare that distinctions and associations present in another language can be brought out in a text that sounds like it was written in English. If we divided the world in the way in which other peoples have, we would have created words and grammatical structures that pre-suppose these associations. Then, and only then, would such ideas find voice in a text that sounds English.

To this point, we have only touched on those ideas and associations that underlie the way the author sees the world and shape his understanding of the words he uses. Of far more importance, and the major reason for the need for placing greater importance on literal translation than on fluidity, are the cases where an author consciously plays with the etymology and idiom of his language or shows particular attention to the literal meaning of idioms and words.

A few examples: the author of Genesis plays very consciously on the Hebrew link between human beings and the earth: placing in near juxtaposition adam (Hebrew for human being) and adama (Hebrew for soil"). Cf. particularly Genesis 2:5: for YHWH had not made it rain upon the earth,/ and there was no human being (adam) to till the soil (adama) This intimate association between human beings and the earth is very important, in my view, to the central thrust of the Eden story and it is absent from the large number of English bibles, most of which are primarily designed to sound English. Likewise, Platos Politeia opens with the word elabein (I descended, I went down). Most translators seem to decide that Plato just means that Socrates went to the Piraeus as most versions open with "I went to the Piraeus." When we see, however, that elabein is the very word that is used in Book VI to describe the philosophers journey into the cave our curiosity is piqued. We take a closer look at the action of Book I we find that the dramatic action of Socrates opening time in the Piraeus very closely parallels the action of the cave allegory (Socrates is in the Piraeus to see shows, he is forcibly restrained from returning to Athens and has to converse with the young men). Suddenly, a section that was very uninteresting at first blush becomes pivotal to our understanding of the entire work. Translators who judge their work on the basis of how well it sounds in the target language are far more likely to bury these kinds of subtle but important details.

Best,

N.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/08/05 08:08 AM

Did English at the time of Hofzinser have any useful parallel phrasings?

Do we have a word in today's English for the action of forming an image in one's mind? Or to dispel such an image? When the image is of something we have seen before, the word "recall" might do. What about the action of dispelling such a mental image? The word "forget" seems close. The process of training oneself to replace one mental image with another has a name (in NLP) though does not seem sufficiently dignified to honor Hofzinser and his work.

Nothing like the mental magic of semantics trying to communicate from one continent or culture to another across a void. Fortunately the work in performance offers its own semiotics and the magic will not be lost in translation.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 11/09/05 10:21 AM

My, goodness...

How pleased Hofzinser would be if he could read these postings, which are wonderfully high-minded and a far cry from the shallow mutters and nattering seen in other fourums and chat va-rooms.

Go, Neppie, go...

Descartes, on the other hand, would have never said, "I remember, therefore I am."

Onward...
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 11/09/05 10:25 AM

Almost forgot (I think):

Let's add the name of GEORGE STEINER (author of Grammars of Creation and After Babel) to the names of ECO and BORGES.

Stumbling onward...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/09/05 10:50 AM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
Let's add the name of GEORGE STEINER (author of Grammars of Creation and After Babel) to the names of ECO and BORGES.
How apropos, as we learn what we can from Hofzinser via Magic Christian, to consider how and what we learn from our teachers...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... ce&s=books
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Postby Guest » 11/17/05 05:15 AM

Coming back from the histoical conference in L.A. I caught up with this interestng discussion on "Remember" and "Forget". I like that it goes poettry. I still believe if Fischer who did send the material to Fred Singleton had translated the trick already with "To Think and Forget", we would not discuss. Now we are to used to the term "Remember and Forget" that we are in no way impartial, maybe the better word is objective.
We have alway to consider that the patter Hofzinser used is not the insufficient instruction sheet of a magic dealer for the basics but as a writer and poet himself he consider his words carefully.
The concentration (Think)on one card wipes off the other one. I confess the musical rhythm of "Remeber" (3 syllables) sound better that the one-syllabled "Think" but I doubt that it has the same impact if you know the whole theme and story of this trick. This is the basis of this trick.
Now-a-days the magicians simply make it a card trick. Hofzinser made it a prediction which girl his friend will think of to marry.
Think about and remember this story.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/17/05 05:51 AM

Originally posted by Magic Christian:
...Now-a-days the magicians simply make it a card trick. Hofzinser made it a prediction which girl his friend will think of to marry.
Think about and remember this story.
Kewl, this suggests a nice kicker ending ala Dean Dill's Blizzard trick. Something like "and in their world, or perhaps a perfect world that having found the one, the rest are merely present though go unnoticed."
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