explicações e um site pra quem tem que decorar coisas

1 10 2008

Sumi, mas por boas razões. Pelo menos, eu acho.

Voltei pra Chicago e tive que encarar uma prova de história (música até o século XVI). Isso me manteve ocupada por uma semana inteira. Não fui tão bem quanto precisa, mas também não foi um vexame. Não sabia a resposta para a pergunta sobre manifestações populares e vernaculares no século XVI. O querido que elaborou a prova, disse que servia qualquer assunto, menos madrigal e chanson. Agora, adivinha quais eram as únicas formas que eu sabia? Enfim, enrolei lá. Mas é possível que me chamem de volta – quando eles não têm certeza se devem te passar, chamam você pra uma prova oral a respeito das perguntas que você respondeu.

Depois da prova, me ocupei de outra coisa: eu trouxe um violão maravilhoso comigo, então comecei a fazer aula de clássico. Que é uma coisa que eu sempre quis, mas que nunca tive chance. Meu professor é um peruano formado no Canadá com mestrado aqui nos EUA. Muito querido e muito competente também.

Agora estou estudando pra prova de alemão do programa. Estou usando esse site aqui, que está me poupando um tempo enorme. Eu sei, flashcard é a coisa mais nerd do mundo. Mas não tem jeito. A prova é a tradução de um texto sobre música em alemão. Eu tenho duas horas e meia pra verter a coisa toda pro inglês.

Também estou escrevendo e cuidando de papers pendentes. Outra hora eu falo sobre isso. Prometo ser mais freqüente [a nova reforma idiota derrubou a trema também?] nas postagens a partir de agora.

mostre, em seu texto, quem você é de verdade

13 07 2008

Olha que interessante esse texto de Kurt Vonnegut sobre estilo. Ele diz coisas que você, provavelmente, já sabe, mas o início tem uma grande sacada.

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful– ? And on and on.

Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.

The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don’t you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.


13 07 2008

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: “Mankind”. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words – “mank” and “ind”. What do these words mean ? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

Jack Handey

sobre traduzir… “just do the best you can”

14 03 2008

“An indispensable part of the translator’s craft is the ability to make decisions.”  (Elborg Forster)

Um artigo delicioso e pé-no-chão sobre tradução, escrito por quem sabe o que diz porque fala do que faz.


I suppose most people have no more than a vague idea of what is involved in transferring a text from a “source” to a “target” language. They think that as long as the translator knows both languages, he/she can “just do it,” as if it were a matter of drawing a map. But the fact is that the transferral can only be done by means of rewriting, for no two languages are totally congruent in their structure. And rewriting is a form of writing, which is why different authors will translate the same text in sometimes amazingly different, yet equally “accurate” ways. Translations, I often think, are like musical or theatrical performances: the conductor and the soloist follow a precise score, the actor follows a text, and yet the symphony sounds very different when conducted by Furtwèngler or by Bernstein; Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh gave us very different Henry Vs.

Ou eu muito me engano ou o que ele descreve abaixo é uma abordagem de esquerda neste ofício tão importante? Vade retro! Nesse aspecto estou com Forster.

 In recent years a whole school of Translation Studies scholars has begun to insist that fluency and transparency in a translation are hallmarks of cultural imperialism, particularly if the target language is dominant, as English is in our own time. These theoreticians, people like Douglas Robinson and Laurence Venuti, start with the useful concept of systems-theory. By this they mean that the translator must be familiar with the “representational” and psychological systems in which both languages are embedded. So far so good. But then our theoreticians object to the kind of re-writing that makes the source-text fit into the mental, social, even political patterns of the target culture. (Putting it rather more simply, I keep reminding myself that any expression I use in a translation must “ring a bell” with the reader.) But the modern theorists feel that this would be a “hegemonic” proceeding, and in order to avoid it, they advocate “foreignizing” the translation. This, they claim, will make it sound strange and thereby “enrich” the target language. This may actually be legitimate in high literature, where even the source text often uses techniques of strangeness (Verfremdung) to focus attention, but in the kind of work I do, I believe that “foreignization” only creates awkwardness and confusion.

E, finalmente, uma visão humilde do que é traduzir:

“Just do the best you can.”

This just might be the motto for all translators.

Begley, Nabokov, and the break in one’s own destiny

13 12 2007

Louis Begley, no livro The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues):

Even though I am told that my writing does not show signs of rigor mortis, it is a fact that I write slowly and laboriously, pausing after every word I set down. I change it countless times and repeat the process with each sentence and paragraph before I can move forward. The vision of Trollope composing the Barchester novels in a railroad car, traveling desk balanced on his knees, with hardly an erasure or addition needed before the manuscript went off to the publisher, fills me with admiration, envy, and dull despair. I too can perform on the high wire when I write a legal text or an essay; writing fiction I need to keep my feet on the ground. Perfectionism and perennial dissatisfaction with everything I do are not alone to blame: it seems to me that when I write in English I lack normal spontaneity, let alone the unbeatable self-assurance a writer needs to soar or to be outrageous. I know that I do manage from time to time to be outrageous in my fiction, but the stress falls on the verb “manage.” Nothing about those effects is instant. The truth is that even today, after an immersion of more than fifty-five years in the English language, I am never completely confident that I have gotten right whatever it is that I write down, certainly not on the first try. Knowing objectively that often—perhaps most often—in fact I do, is not a consolation. In that respect only, I am not unlike my great countryman, Joseph Conrad. But Conrad had more of an excuse: he began to learn English only at the age of twenty-one; he was thirty-eight when his first novel, Almayer’s Folly, was published, and he had spent most of the intervening years on the high seas. Vladimir Nabokov’s command of the English language is a different case altogether. English was in effect Nabokov’s first language: he learned to read it before he could read Russian. Becoming thoroughly proficient in a “civilized” tongue, usually the French, and leaving the vernacular for latter, to be absorbed as a part of growing up, was usual in the nineteenth century among Slavic upper-class families. There was a series of English and French governesses who took care of the Nabokov children, and it wasn’t until Vladimir was seven that his father, alarmed by his sons’ backwardness in their native language, engaged the schoolmaster from the village adjoining the family estate to teach them to read and write in Russian.To go back to the torment I experienced revising the manuscript of my most recent novel, its immediate cause was the number of times my editor was in essence questioning my diction, the correctedness of the way I expressed myself in English. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t always right. What hurt was the contrast between his instinctive grasp of how one would normally say whatever it was that I wanted to express and my doubts: my need to grope to find the way, to test each sentence by reading it aloud. He had kept his birthright—the ability to use his mother tongue in his calling—and I had lost mine.


The Polish language has been a source of undiluted joy for me, and it pains me to make an admission that may make me seem unfaithful to my first love. But the plain truth is that I consider myself also supremely lucky to be an American novelist, using a language of incomparable beauty and access to readers, a language that for all the difficulties I have described is totally my own. In this respect as well, my case is very different from Nabokov’s, as he described it in an afterword to Lolita:

My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody’s concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses—the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions—which the native illusionist, frac-tails, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way.

Tragedy, surely, but one that was embedded in triumph. (…) I follow Nabokov’s advice, and take the tragedy seriously only because Nabokov’s intimate wound was surely very real, as is the wound inflicted by every exile, whatever its circumstances and aftermath. The wound is one that never heals, even if one can say with Nabokov, as I do, quite heartlessly: “The break in my own destiny affords me in retrospect a syncopal kick that I would not have missed for worlds.”

o inglês e o italiano

13 12 2007

M. J. Fitzgerald fala do inglês e do italiano (The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues).

Returning to Italian writing after gorging on this diet of English—Leopardi’s L’Infinito was restrained in comparison to Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill—was like returning to milk toast after scones with clotted cream. I loved the accumulation of adjectives that a language so rich in words could indulge in, instead of the nuances in the repetition of the same adjective that gives Italian its power. I loved the exaggeration of English, the curlicues of language, its baroque quality. Many of the churches, much of the painting, and people’s gesturing in Italy are baroque. But the language itself is severe: its beauty lies in elegant simplicity and the hypnotic power of its sound. And when it is distorted by the wrong rhetoric in an attempt to “enrich it,” it becomes impenetrable without gaining in power. English has to work to be elegant and simple, because its sounds are rarely if ever as spellbinding as Italian, and so much of its nature is tortuous. But how fabulous the honed expression of that tortuousness can be for a girl who sees so clearly reflected in this language her fervent and histrionic self: not one word to describe her feelings, but half a dozen variations. At sixteen, there was no contest. English was the language of my sensibility, the language with which I would write poems as full of words as Dylan Thomas’s, novels as rich with emotion as Villette, dramas as powerful as Christopher Fry’s The Boy with a Cart.

circus biped

10 12 2007

Bert Keizer comparando o holandês e o inglês no livro “The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues”.

Sobre holandeses escrevendo em inglês:

In Holland, and in many other parts of the world, the type of idolatry I was talking about earlier is one of the most repulsive effects of the fact that English is now lording it globally. (…)

I don’t think it really matters when you are dealing with atoms, bridges, teeth, arteries, or gamma rays, but when you are writing about people and ought to throw in a little of your own personality in order to infuse some life into the thing, the handicap of having to do this in English is severely debilitating. People rarely realize this and therefore tend to use English as if it were a dead language, like Esperanto, with an equally lifeless outcome.
There is a vast difference between showing someone the way to the railway station in English and showing him the way to Plato. This is often overlooked by city-map speakers.

E sobre a experiência de escrever em inglês, acho que ninguém conseguiu definir melhor. Achei esta analogia simplesmente fantástica:

Writing in English at first felt to me like trying to plough a stretch of marble an ungainly procedure, ruining some pretty nice material, and the result was nil. I feel reasonably comfortable now writing in English—though please note that is something I would never say about writing in Dutch. Why not? Well, it’s the difference between a natural biped (man) and a circus biped (dog). You wouldn’t ever say to a human that you admire the way he manages so well on two legs, while a dog is applauded for just this feat. The dream of a foreigner writer using English is that the natives will forget about his dogginess and say to each other: I just love the way he moves.

But, comfortable or not, I still have to shrug off a slight resentment at having to put on these funny clothes in order to be let in. I suppose that I could counter this by pitying you for missing out on certain Dutch authors whose virtues I couldn’t begin to try to expound to you—no more than I could give someone an idea of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar-playing by whistling a few notes. Though I wouldn’t argue absolutely against this possibility, the fact is that I cannot do it right here.

Sim, sim, também sinto o mesmo, Sr. Keizer. Mas fiquei pensando em Machado de Assis e de repente fiquei tão feliz de ter crescido falando português.