Author Topic: Help needed translating for a song!  (Read 2937 times)

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Hania

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Help needed translating for a song!
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:35:44 am »
Hi everyone! I'm writing a cover of the GoT theme and am hoping to put some amazing lyrics in Dothraki but I don't want to half-ass it so if there's someone out there that could translate this for me, I would really (really) appreciate it! You'd be credited as translator when I place it on YouTube with a video clip. :) (see my other work here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHaniaShow )

Lyrics:
------------------------------------------------
One throne to rule a world built on betrayal
Those that sit upon it have numbered days

Real danger lurks outside The Wall
The blind believe it protects them all

In the end, the winter will rule
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Thanks for reading and I look forward to this being translated so I can make this song awesome! :D
-hania

Qvaak

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Re: Help needed translating for a song!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 09:25:28 pm »
I might be the right guy for the job, willing and fairly able - your default option even.

A few notes/question first:

 - There is only one guy who knows the whole existing vocab and grammar, and can create more within the canon, if the existing falls short. That's David J. Peterson. You might want to ask him. Usually when people ask for tattoos or some such stuff, we send them to David. For this my judgement would be to keep it here and consent to our (mine?) limited but by no means negligible expertice. The best you can hope from David is probably a translation, and I think you might benefit from a bit of back and forth before nailing the final version. And David is very busy nowadays, so a tricky text longer than your average a tattoo one-liner might be too big an ask anyway.
Be you willing to ask him anyway, write to blog http://www.dothraki.com/, tumblr http://dedalvs.tumblr.com/, twitter https://twitter.com/Dedalvs/ or send an e-mail. David is pretty easy to contact.

 - Your text is very lyrical, anything but simple sentence structures or concrete, literal wording. This kind of text is always tricky to translate, even if I were to translate it to my mother's tongue, let alone to a language with a lot of grammatical unknowns and limited vocabulary. For the most part I'll be trying to decipher the meaning behind the words and then write something more or less to the same effect. How important is it to keep as close as possible? Is a natural, evocative Dothraki more important, or would you rather stick close to the original even if it meant stilted expressions and unlikely metaphores?

 - If I'm not mistaken, you mean to sing in Dothraki. It's unlikely that if I just translate the content best I can the resulting lines were anywhere near equal length, and almost certainly the syllable count will be a lot higher, since Dothraki is fairly syllable-rich. Does that matter? Would you like me to worry about meter or line length, and if so, what kind of scheme would you prefer?

 - The biggest question about how far you're willing to ... not half-ass this ... is about pronunciation. Because that's where a large portion of the investment needs to be yours and you can do quite a lot of work to get things right. IMO pronunciation is more important for making a Dothraki singing awesome than the correct grammar. Even a middling effort is a lot better than "I'll just read it as if it were English". Do you read IPA? Have you checked the phonology page http://wiki.dothraki.org/Phonology? It's not entirely impossible that I might manage to make a recording, but pronunciation has never been a priority for me, so my Dothraki speaking is tolerable at best. If you get David to help, he might make a record, but as I said earlier, I'm not sure, if he'll be available for help.

complicating much, eh  :D

----

Edit: Hell, I made a translation. We'll see, if it's a starting point, the final version or just some random fiddling with no consequence.

At ador ha akkelenataan rhaesheseres fin nem mari ki qosarvenikhi
~ One chair is for judging a world which was built by deception

Athchilar atthirari nem sanneya ha rekakea neva she me
~ Limit of life is counted for those that sit on it

Athzhowakar tawaki ayola yomme Grefofoon
~ True danger waits beyond the Great Wall

Voji athtiharmeni shilli meme avijazera ei mora
~ Sightless people trust that it will protect them all

She nakho, aheshke vakkelena
~ In the end, winter will judge
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 01:01:09 am by Qvaak »
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

Hania

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Re: Help needed translating for a song!
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 06:30:32 am »
You're the best!
So initially I had contacted David and he was keen on the idea but didn't have the time to spare to translate a song for me (which makes sense as he's a busy, busy guy!) I also made mention to him that I didn't want to half-ass the pronunciation and he said that if I can get the lyrics translated, he can look over them and help me with the pronunciation. I want to get this as perfect as I can!

I did some reading on the language for a few hours before posting to this site so I could foresee the length of the Dothraki words in comparison to the English ones - I didn't want to bite off more than I can chew!

As a songwriter, it now comes down to me being able to sing in the words as perfectly as possible - yet staying true to the opening theme. Wish me luck and thank you so much for the help!! I'll post a link when it's up and credit you for sure!! You happy to go by Qvaak?




Qvaak

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Re: Help needed translating for a song!
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 06:07:55 am »
Hey, cool. If you get Peterson to help on pronunciation, that's, like, the best. And if he catches an error or two in my text, we'll sneakily manage to learn a little too  :D

There's a lot of room for second-guessing, but I can't pick any obviously stupid choices even looking at the text now. As I said earlier, I could process it further, if you wanted something different, shorter perhaps, but that's not strictly making it better - compromising, rather - so I'm happy as long as you're happy.

Well, I guess Athchilar atthirari nem sanneya ha rekakea neva she me might be better as Athchilar atthirari rayim sanneya ha rekakea neva she me (~ Limit of life has been counted for those that sit on it) ... maybe :P Not really essential change, eh.

But hey, what I can still do is add a commentary, because that's what I always do ;D There's no need to find this interesting or intelligible (or even read through at all). Maybe Peterson goes "what the hell was he thinking!" and then can check my comments to find out.

Quote
One throne to rule a world built on betrayal ->
At ador ha akkelenataan rhaesheseres fin nem mari ki qosarvenikhi
~ One chair is for judging a world which was built by deception
Considering how Dothraki words fall, there's probably no close equivalent to "to rule". I chose akkelenat, which works IMO pretty well here, but is a wee bit wonky on "winter will rule". Using the same word seemed good, though, and the known alternative assolat (or perhaps hypothetical vassorat) seemed only worse anyway.
I'm fairly trusting in my ha+infinite verb in allative, but of course that's not a certain working syntax and there are quite a few other options. All in all the text has such an abstract touch that I ended up using prepositions when a bare case might work, basically just to distance/vaguafy relations between words.
"Built on betrayal" is hard to translate. I was pretty much just fumbling for something, anything that felt promising and ended up with ki, which of course makes deception/lies straight out agent of building. Maybe something a bit subtler might be better, but the most obvious alternative ma is IMO just duller.

Quote
Those that sit upon it have numbered days ->
Athchilar atthirari nem sanneya ha rekakea neva she me
~ Limit of life is counted for those that sit on it
We have some evidence (finaan neva ave maisi mae) that nevat should use allative as an object case for that which is sat on. I was caught on the non-standard (emphatic?) "upon", though, and felt that more distancing/abstract/clunky she might give a similar abstracting emphasis.
Save for maybe leaning on rayim instead of nem I'm pretty happy with "athchilar atthirari nem sanneya". Seems it might get the message through without being a fixed idiom.

Quote
Real danger lurks outside The Wall ->
Athzhowakar tawaki ayola yomme Grefofoon
~ True danger waits beyond the Great Wall
Translating "to lurk" was of course pretty hopeless, but I was a bit miffed to fall so far. Dothraki should have at least something close to the effect of "to stalk", since hunting vocab should have a good representation. Might ask DJP about that.
Dunno, if The Wall is already translated somewhere, but Grefof should work. I'd be slightly surprised if that weren't the official translation.

Quote
The blind believe it protects them all ->
Voji athtiharmeni shilli meme avijazera ei mora
~ Sightless people trust that it will protect them all
Yeah, we don't have a word for "blind". I might have made a much more daring coinage like tihmenak, but voji athtihmeni felt safe-ish and good.
We have a word shillolat that's translated as "to believe", but considering how David just a while ago commented on the difference between the words, I trust that shillat is the right word for this.
We have also two "protecting" words, vijazerat and savidosalat. Savidosalat seems to have more "shielding" feel, so I would have preferred it, but unfortunately that would have called for assavidosalat, and that felt a little heavy when we have a good simpler alternative.
I'm under an impression that Dothraki future is used more readily than English. This protecting felt odd to leave on present tense even if English does so. In other news: all over the text I was pining for Valyrian aorist. Dothraki does not feel so well fitted for discussing stuff in general sense. I take them for "here and now" type of people and see that reflected on the languege a bit.

Quote
In the end, the winter will rule ->
She nakho, aheshke vakkelena
~ In the end, winter will judge
Kept the fronted adverbial phrase.
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.

Hrakkar

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Re: Help needed translating for a song!
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 01:14:45 pm »
Qvaak is just being modest. His translations and analysis of same are the best!
Don't tell Khal Drogo I am here ;)

Qvaak

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Re: Help needed translating for a song!
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 03:16:27 am »
Aye. I'm often trying to be modest, courting the line of faux modesty even. But as per the commentary above, I just didn't write it beginner-friendly, so that's why I said no need to read it. You, zhey Hania, might get some idea of my thought process, if you're really interested, but the commentary is mostly for my fellow students and perhaps for mr. Peterson.
Game of Thrones is not The Song of Ice and Fire, sweetling. You'll learn that one day to your sorrow.