Polish your English with “The Master and Margarita”! Issue 35

“Берлиоз же хотел доказать поэту, что главное не в том, каков был Иисус, плох ли, хорош ли, а в том, что Иисуса-то этого как личности вовсе не существовало на свете и что все рассказы о нем — простые выдумки, самый обыкновенный миф.”

[AmB]
Thus Berlioz wanted to prove to the poet that the important thing was not what kind of man Jesus was, good or bad, but, rather, that Jesus, as an individual, had never existed on earth at all and that all the stories about him were mere fabrications, myths of the most standard kind.

[AmG]
Berlioz, on the other hand, wanted to prove to the poet that the main point was not whether Jesus had been good or bad, but that he had never existed as an individual, and that all the stories about him were mere inventions, simple myths.

[AmK]
Berlioz, however, wanted to show the poet that the crux of the matter lay not in Jesus’s nature, good or bad, but in the fact that Jesus, as a person, had never existed in the first place; that all the stories about this character were simple inventions, ordinary myths.

[AmP]
Now, Berlioz wanted to prove to the poet that the main thing was not how Jesus was, good or bad, but that this same Jesus, as a person, simply never existed in the world, and all the stories about him were mere fiction, the most ordinary mythology.

[BrA]
And Berlioz wanted to demonstrate to the poet that the main thing was not what Jesus was like, whether he was good or bad, but that this Jesus, as a person, had not existed in the world at all, and that all the stories about him were simply inventions, the most commonplace myth.

[BrG]
Berlioz however wanted to prove to the poet that the main object was not who Jesus was, whether he was bad or good, but that as a person Jesus had never existed at all and that all the stories about him were mere invention, pure myth.

[GT 2017-09-13]
Berlioz wanted to prove to the poet that the main thing is not what Jesus was like, whether it was bad or good, but that Jesus did not exist as a person at all, and that all the stories about him are simple inventions, the most ordinary myth.

Big Boris’ Commentary:

1. Observe that [AmK] skipped on Sequence of Tenses, for “главное не в том”, while the others didn’t. Try to explain this.
2. [AmG] used Past Perfect for “был”, while others preferred Past Simple. Try to explain the difference.
3. [AmP] used Past Simple for “не существовало”, while the others preferred Past Perfect. Try to explain this.

Don’t hesitate to comment and propose your variants of translation!

Legend (“Am” = American English, “Br” = British English):

[AmB] — Burgin, O’Connor 1995
[AmG] — Ginsburg 1967
[AmI] — Itallie 1993 (Theatrical Adaptation)
[AmK] — Karpelson 2006
[AmP] — Pevear, Volokhonsky 1997
[BrA] — Aplin 2008
[BrG] — Glenny 1967
[GT] — Google Translate

© Big Boris 2005 – 2017

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