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Alises Avantures in Vunderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Yiddish

Alises Avantures in Vunderland

By Lewis Carroll, translated into Yiddish by Adina Bar-El

First edition, 2017. Illustrations by John Tenniel and Byron W. Sewell. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-195-8 (paperback), price: €12.95, £10.95, $15.95.

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“Kenstu mir zogn, bite, mit vos far a veg ikh darf geyn fun danen?”   “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“Es hengt op fun dem, vuhin du vilst onkumen,” hot der Koter geentfert.   “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“Es iz mir alts eyns vuhin—” hot Alis gezogt.   “I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Oyb azoy, iz nit vikhtik mit vos far a veg du vest geyn,” hot der Koter gezogt.   “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—abi ikh vel ergets vu on­kumen,” hot Alis tsugegebn als an oyf­klerung.   “—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“O, du vest zikher ergets vu on­kumen,” hot der Koter gezogt, “oyb du vest nor geyn genug lang.”   “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Cat Clárach
Der mekhaber fun Alises Avantures in Vunderland iz geven Lewis Carroll, der psevdonim fun Charles Lutwidge Dodgson fun Oksforder Universitet in England. Dos bukh iz tsum ershtn mol dershinen in yor 1865, un fun demolt on iz es ibergezetst gevorn oyf a sakh shprakhn iber der velt. Di ershte iberzetsung fun dem bukh oyf yidish hob ikh farendikt in yor 2012 (Zur-Os Farlag, Yerusholaim). Evertype git yetst aroys di dozike oysgebeserte oyflage.   Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written by Lewis Carroll, the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson of Oxford University in England. The book was first published in 1865, and since then has been translated into many languages. The first translation of this book into Yiddish was mine, completed in January 2012 (Zur-Ot Publishing House, Jerusalem). Evertype is now publishing this second corrected edition.
Beshas iberzetsn oyf yidish, iz mayn tsil geven tsu blaybn getray tsu dem englishn moker: tsu dem siper-hamayse, tsu di heldn un zeyere kharakters; un der hoypt ibertsulozn di tifkayt un dem gayst fun dem bukh. Fundestvegn hot men badarft tsupasn di shpas-lider, di vertlekh, di idyomen, un beiker Lewis Carrolls vertshpiln, tsu der yidisher shprakh un tsu dem lebns-shteyger vos iz bakant tsu di leyeners. Vayl yidish iz geven farshpreyt iber mizrekh-Eyrope, zenen faran in der shprakh vertlekh un oysdrukn vos shpiglen op di yidishe iberlebungen in der gegnt in di frierdike yor­hun­derter. Ikh vel brengen etlekhe bayshpiln un oyfkler­ungen fun di tsupasungen un shinuim vos zenen faran in der yidisher iberzetsung:—   As I was translating into Yiddish, my aim was to remain faithful to the English source, to the plot, the characters and their qualities; and mainly to retain the depth and spirit of the book. At the same time, the nonsense songs, the sayings, idioms and particularly Lewis Carroll’s plays on words had to be adapted to Yiddish and to the lifestyle familiar to its readers. Since Yiddish was prevalent across Eastern Europe, there are sayings and expressions that reflect the Jewish life experience in this region in previous centuries. I will present some examples and clarifications of the adaptations and changes made in this translation:—
In dem Kapitl VII, “A Meshugene Tey-Mesibe”, hot dos shpas-lid gekrign motivn fun yidishe viglider.   In Chapter VII, “A Mad Tea-Party”, the nonsense song has been given motifs of Jewish lullabies.
Di mayse fun di dray shvester iz oyfgeboyt oyf dem oysdruk “a shmaltsgrub” mitn badayt fun khasene hobn mit a raykhn man.   The story of the three sisters is based on the expression “a pit of fat” in the sense of marrying someone wealthy.
Dos vort “khazer” iz nit in dem tekst. Es iz farbitn gevorn mit alternativn.   The word “pig” appears nowhere in the Yiddish text and has been replaced by alternatives.
In dem englishn moker zenen do a sakh vertlekh un idyomen. Oyb es iz faran a yidishe paralel, iz zi banutst gevorn vort bay vort. In andere faln hob ikh oysgeklibn yidishe vertlekh un idyomen vos hobn di zelbe perushim, oder lekhol-hapokhes di zelbe kavone. Di vortshpiln, oyf velkhe Lewis Carroll iz geven a mayster, zenen fartoysht gevorn oyf yidishe vortshpiln durkh nutsn di zelbe tekhnikes vi in dem moker. Tsum bayshpil: a vort mit tsvey perushim, tsvey verter mit dem zelbn klang oder an ander oysleyg, a vort vos iz oysgeshnitn gevorn fun an ander vort. Nokh a tekhnik iz tsu farkrimen a vort, un dos naye vort vos kumt aroys hot a gants ander semantishn tkhum. Bayshpiln zenen faran in dem shmues vegn di temes fun lernen in der shul untern yam.   In the English original, there are many sayings and idioms. Where there is a Yiddish parallel, it was used verbatim. In other cases – I chose sayings and idioms in Yiddish with the same meaning, or at least the same intent. The plays on words, at which Carroll was a master artist, were changed to puns in Yiddish using the same techniques as in the original, for example: a word with two meanings, two words with the same sound but spelled differently, a word derived from another word. Another technique is the distortion of a word, where the new word belongs to a completely different semantic field (e.g. in the conversation about the subjects studied at the school under the sea).
Iberzetsndik di lider oyf yidish, iz geven vikhtik far mir tsu blaybn getray tsu dem inhalt un tsu dem ritem, un a bisl vintsiker tsu der gramens-skheme.   In translating the poems into Yiddish, it was important for me to remain faithful to the rhythm and the contents, and somewhat less to the rhyme scheme.
Di nemen fun di merste heldn zenen geblibn azoy vi in dem moker. Nor dray khayes—di Kats Dinke, di Yashtsherke Beyli un dos bashefenish Peysi—hobn gekrign diminutivn un tsertl-sufiksn. Loyt di klolim fun der shprakh iz der min fun etlekhe khayes getoysht gevorn—di Moyz, di Tsherepakhe, un andere khayes—vos zenen feminin in yidish un maskulin in english. “Komplitsirte” un yokhed-beminedike nemen zenen iberge­zetst gevorn glaykh vi zey zenen in english. Azoy iz der March Hare gevorn a “Marts-Hoz”, un der Dormouse iz gevorn a “Dremlmoyz” (a moyz vos khapt a driml di gantse tsayt, khotsh zi iz bikhlal nit keyn moyz).   Most of the characters’ names stayed as they were. Only three animals—the cat Dinah, Bill the Lizard, and the creature Pat—were given diminutive pet names. Also, in accordance with the rules of language, the gender of some of the animals were changed, including the mouse and the turtle, which are both feminine in Yiddish. “Complicated” names of unique animals were translated as is into Yiddish. Thus the March Hare becomes “Marts-Hoz” (the hare of March) and Dormouse becomes “Dremlmoyz” (a sleepy mouse, even though this isn’t a mouse at all).
Tsum sof, zogt der kleyner Odler tsu dem of Dodo: “Speak English!” (‘Red english!’). Dos iz ibergetoysht gevorn in der iberzetsung oyf: “Red klor!” Un dos iz geven, beemes, der tsil fun der iberzetsung: optsushpiglen dem origineln englishn tekst azoy klor un enlekh vi es iz nor geven meglekh, mit shinuim un tsugobn vos makhn dos nokh klorer un ayn­genemer far di yidishe leyeners.   And finally, the little eagle says to the Dodo: “Speak English!” This was changed in the translation to “Red klor!” (‘Speak clearly!’). And this was, indeed, the purpose of the translation: to reflect the original English text as closely and clearly as possible, with changes and additions that would make it clearer and more enjoyable for readers of Yiddish.
—Adina Bar-El
Yerusholaim, april 2017
  —Adina Bar-El
Jerusalem, April 2017

 
HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2017-10-31

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