Polish your English with “The Master and Margarita”! Issue 41

“Высокий тенор Берлиоза разносился в пустынной аллее, и по мере того, как Михаил Александрович забирался в дебри, в которые может забираться, не рискуя свернуть себе шею, лишь очень образованный человек, — поэт узнавал все больше и больше интересного и полезного и про египетского Озириса, благостного бога и сына Неба и Земли, и про финикийского бога Фаммуза, и про Мардука, и даже про менее известного грозного бога Вицлипуцли, которого весьма почитали некогда ацтеки в Мексике.”

[AmB]
Berlioz’s high tenor resounded along the deserted path, and as Mikhail Alexandrovich ventured into that maze, which only a highly educated man can explore without risking his neck, the poet learned more and more interesting and useful things about the Egyptian Osiris, the kind god and son of Heaven and Earth, and about the Phoenician god Tammuz, and about Marduk, and even about the lesser known terrible god Uitzilopochtli who had once been venerated by the Aztecs in Mexico.

[AmG]
The editor’s high tenor resounded in the deserted avenue. And, as he delved deeper and deeper into jungles where only a highly educated man could venture without risking his neck, the poet learned more and more fascinating and useful facts about the Egyptian Osiris, the beneficent god who was the son of Sky and Earth, and about the Phoenician god Marduk, and about Tammuz, and even about the more obscure god Huitzilopochtli, who had once been worshiped by the Aztecs in Mexico.

[AmI]
BERLIOZ: The Egyptians had Osiris, The Phoenicians Tammuz, and the Aztecs Vitzli-Putzli. The Aztecs made little Vitzli-Putzlis out of bread dough.

[AmK]
Berlioz’s high tenor carried through the deserted alley, and as Mikhail Alexandrovich ventured further and further into the sort of jungle where only a highly educated man can survive, the poet learned volumes of interesting and useful information – about the benevolent Egyptian god Osiris, son of Heaven and Earth, about the Phoenician god Thammuz, about Marduk, even about the lesser known but menacing god Uitzilo-Pochtli, once greatly revered by the Mexican Aztecs.

[AmP]
Berlioz’s high tenor rang out in the deserted walk, and as Mikhail Alexandrovich went deeper into the maze, which only a highly educated man can go into without risking a broken neck, the poet learned more and more interesting and useful things about the Egyptian Osiris, a benevolent god and the son of Heaven and Earth, and about the Phoenician god Tammuz, and about Marduk, and even about a lesser known, terrible god, Vitzliputzli, once greatly venerated by the Aztecs in Mexico.

[BrA]
Berlioz’s high tenor resounded in the deserted avenue, and the deeper Mikhail Alexandrovich clambered into the thickets into which only a very educated man can clamber without the risk of coming a cropper, the more and more interesting and useful were the things the poet learnt about the Egyptian Osiris, the most merciful god and son of heaven and earth, and about the Phoenician god Tammuz, and about Marduk, and even about the lesser-known stern god Huitzilopochtli, who was at one time much revered by the Aztecs in Mexico.

[BrG]
Berlioz’s high tenor resounded along the empty avenue and as Mikhail Alexandrovich picked his way round the sort of historical pitfalls that can only be negotiated safely by a highly educated man, the poet learned more and more useful and instructive facts about the Egyptian god Osiris, son of Earth and Heaven, about the Phoenician god Thammuz, about Marduk and even about the fierce little-known god Vitzli-Putzli, who had once been held in great veneration by the Aztecs of Mexico.

[GT 2017-09]
The high tenor of Berlioz was carried in a desert alley, and as Mikhail Alexandrovich climbed into the jungle that he could climb into without risking his neck, only a very educated man, the poet learned more and more interesting and useful about Egyptian Osiris , the blessed god and son of Heaven and Earth, and the Phoenician god of Famummus, and about Marduk, and even about the lesser known formidable god Witsliputzli, whom the Aztecs in Mexico once worshiped very much.

Big Boris’ Commentary:

1. Observe the difference in the translation of “может забираться”. Try to explain this.
2. Observe the difference in the translation of “не рискуя”. Try to explain this.
3. Observe the difference in the translation of “почитали”. 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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