Goya

The exhibition of the tremendous and terrible still lives by Goya at the National Gallery (et praeterea nihil and nothing else counts but it also includes some other interesting Spanish still lives) has all its titles in English. Perhaps this is titfortatting the Prado, but many spectators would want to know the Spanish titles.


Peter Newmark (1998) More Paragraphs On Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, p. 137.

Notes on Psychiatric Translation and the Diogenes Syndrome

For any translator, the medical vocabulary is confusing enough; the psychiatric vocabulary is often chaotic, given the perennial divide between behaviourism and mentalism, as well as the various degrees of eclecticism between them, not to mention the renewed efforts, now exaggerated by PC, to sanitize terms that arouse prejudice. However, translating a 1985 article on Das Diogenes-Syndrom in the Fortschrittliche Neurologische Psychiatrie I found the language sober, sauber and restrained. A few lexical points:

Entmündigung; 'sectioning' is the tactful British cultural equivalent; I preferred 'certification', as the German context perhaps removed it from prejudice.

Sammeltrieb. The jargon terms are 'collectionism' and 'syllogomania', but I preferred 'the urge to hoard'.

Lebensraum. 'Personal environment' or (of course) 'personal space'. (The political sense is hopefully a fossil.) Der Tod des Lebensgefährten hat eine neurotische Störung im Selbstwerterleben zur Dekompensation gebracht. 'The death of her life-partner had been offset by a neurotic disturbance in (the experience of?) her selfesteem.' ('Decompensation' is usually a medical term, but not here.)

Bezugsperson. 'The person one relates to'. An English coinage is desirable.

Asozialität. (yuck). 'Unsociable behaviour.'

. . . Sie lässt sich aus der Wohnung des Bruders herausklagen, um aufdiese Weise leichter an einen eigenen Besitz zu kommen. 'She had herself evicted by court order from her brother's house, and in order to obtain a new property (more easily).

(Ausklagen for Einklagen, 'sue, prosecute'. Thanks to Sabine Nice.)

Thymoleptisch. Obsolete word. 'Psychotropic'.

Versteinerung. Petrifaction, 'state of rigidity'. (Diogenes the philosopher in the latter part of his life abandoned all normal social habits and lived happily (?) in a tub. As the average life span increases, so does the syndrome.) The subject of the syndrome lives in a state of rigidity.


Peter Newmark (1998) More Paragraphs On Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, p. 73.

The Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay in Paris is mainly French-bound (that is, titling, notices and brochures are in French), and the mainly French paintings in the amazing Barnes Collection are entirely English bound; but for the Barnes's special exhibition at the d'Orsay, there are informative brochures in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian as closely translated and gracefully written as anyone could wish. That's progress.


Peter Newmark (1998) More Paragraphs On Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 61-62.

The Barber Institute and La Patrie

The Barber Institute

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Edgbaston Park Road outside Birmingham, with its outstanding Gwen John (Mère Poussepin), Degas, Claude, Redon (Crucifixion), Hals, Van Dyck, Sickert and many others, is I think the finest small picture gallery I have ever visited. But in the main it is pathetically monolingual. The university's language department is quite close, and the detailed and helpful leaflets for each bay all need translating. I do not know why Magritte's amazing Saveur des Larmes ('The Savour of Tears'?) has been anaesthetized into the bland 'Taste of Sorrow' (Le Goût de la Tristesse - yuck), given that English is said (of course!) to be the more concrete language.

La Patrie

In the Birmingham City Museum (which needs no puff) C. W. R. Nevinson's picture of the wounded and dying soldiers in the barn, to which the description, 'they are crying for their mothers' is an organic complement, is not as profound as The Third of May, but it as as moving. In English, the title, La Patrie, a grim instance of dramatic irony, stands (compare Wilfred Owen's Pro Patria Mori); in some other languages (das Vaterland), it could be translated literally with the same 'equivalent effect'.


Peter Newmark (1998) More Paragraphs On Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, p. 58.