Например, у меня есть "любимые слова" в разных языках, которые, на мой слух, выражают идею лучше всего. Скажем, слово "вместе" - мне не нравится совсем, оно для меня звучит как что-то вроде "месить тесто" (и, конечно, как не вспомнить цоевское "все говорят, что мы - вместе/все говорят, но немногие знают - в каком"). На английском together звучит слишком нейтрально, а лучше всего, по-моему, идею передаёт немецкий, с "клейким" zusammen. Так же, слишком уныло для меня звучит слово "сила" - как "синяя жила," что-то, наоборот - натужное и готовое вот-вот порваться. Немецкий Kraft - получше, но слишком сухой; английский force - еще лучше, но приз берет, по-моему, итальянская forza. С другой стороны, русский "бой" - безусловный лидер среди fight/battle, Schlacht и прочих bataille.
* * *
Так же хорошо, как русский и английский, я, правда, никаких других языков не знаю - хотя и стараюсь изучать, особенно накануне поездок. Думаю и вижу сны как на русском, так и на английском (на втором - всё чаще). Могу без акцента говорить на обоих :) Написанное воспринимается немного по-разному, если читать на разных языках - что, вообще-то, я рассматриваю как достоинство. Ту же самую идею осмыслить и на русском и на английском - бывает не только интересно, но и полезно. В некоторых случаях я специально даже делаю письменный перевод.
* * *
В последний раз я сохранившийся перевод сделал по прочтению "Святочного рассказа №2" Дм. Евг. Галковского (пару лет назад - да, я довольно медленный...когда, вообще, он был написан? не смог найти). Рассказ мне показался интересным своей кинематографической пригодностью (хотя тут бы более подошло слово suitability) и я его сразу в уме назвал "Русский Форрест Гамп." Перевод сделал практически "на одном дыхании," за пару вечеров, потом ещё перечитывал и приглаживал по краям. Переводил так, как, на мой дилетантский взгляд, писал бы первый draft киносценария американец.
Внизу - привожу несколько отрывков перевода, для памяти (ну, и если кому-то интересно).
Отрывки из перевода "Святочного рассказа №2": Автор рассказа Д. Е. Галковский; перевод - мой.
There were thirty four fifth-graders in the Ensk Town Gymnaisum. Thirty three of those were either fairly intelligent or just about average, while one – Kolya Kistochkin – was quite dim. Kolya did not do well academically; however, his teachers had sympathy for him on the account of his mother’s death by consumption when Kolya was six. His father took to heavy drinking and there were no other relatives of Kistochkins’ living in town. Kolya was a bit odd in the way of being given to day-dreaming, which caused him to give off-base responses when asked in class, or to behave in unexpected and unfortunate manner on occasion. However, he was well loved by his peers for being a kind, nice-looking boy.
* * *
Nikolay (Kolya) Kistochkin, who disappeared, as we remember, into the rainy night near Nizhniy Novgorod, in fact, had arrived in Odessa two days later. A chance played a role: Petruchio’s lie to Kolya’s aunt about their alleged plans of getting on a steamboat going to Astrakhan had provided a necessary misdirection.
On one southern night Kistochkin made his way onto an American cargo steamboat, which then sailed toward Turkey. Once he revealed himself on the ship, Kistochkin was summarily berated and threatened to be repatriated to the Russian consulate in Constantinople. However, the city was quarantined on the account of cholera outbreak, forcing the captain to wait till reaching Marseilles. The ship’s crew was one third Russian; the sailors sympathized with Kolya’s plight as an orphan and ship’s cashbox holder, Onufriyenko, helped him enlist as a junior sailor. Thus Kistochkin made his way to America. On Onufriyenko’s advice he took lessons for six months at a school for underage immigrants; he was also sailing to Canada on occasion. Then he found a job at a lumber mill owned by Onufriyenko’s acquaintance, an Irish man, with whom Onufriyenko had an agreement regarding recruitment of seasonal workers. The Irish man was always short of working hands. The mill was quite far from civilization and the surrounding area was sparsely populated, located in the farthest corner of New York State with Appalachian Mountains as a backdrop.
* * *
While in the seventh grade, Desdemonov (naturally, “Desdemona”) had gotten his hands on a Decadent movement magazine. He was totally smitten. He asked his dad for money and used it to subscribe to the magazine for a year, then for another one. The crucial moment came with publication of the subscriber list in the last issue of 1908, where, in between the names of “De Artois” and “Dunkel-Przhevalsky” his own name was printed.
After “being published,” Desdemonov was thrown into a swirl of own delusion. Having hardly finished his final exams, nearly penniless, damned by his own father (a respectable shop owner), Desdemonov rushed to Petersburg. He had several tricks up his sleeve for a big city career: for example, he thought it groundbreaking to read poetry (any poetry) aloud in a harlequin costume, or to publish a book (any book) with round pages. It was explained to this sociable hillbilly, however, that all this and more had already been done three years ago, and, actually, even that was stolen from the French anyways. When Desdemonov started about a book printed on wallpaper, he was universally ridiculed – this, it turned out, had also been done already, as had been writing poetry on walls with feces. In the meantime, his money was about to run out. Slowly, but surely, Desdemonov, in a state of permanent hunger, started to develop deep subconscious sinister thoughts.
One night, being in a particularly vile and disturbed mood, he was asked by Mayakovsky to accompany him to “provide for contrast” in own words of the latter. Desdemonov, following a two-day fasting spell, had understood the meaning of “contrast” quite correctly and, being in his worst mood, had decided to give Mayakovsky a slap on the face while in public. The slap never materialized, but what happened instead was much better. Half-mad of hunger and hate, Desedemonov turned from a Blok-esque whitish wraith into a horridly fervent tap dancer. The lyrics to accompany his dance (which later became a staple of many textbooks on Russian classic modern style along with “Poem of the end” and “abstruseness”) were born right on the stage:
Desdemonov’s tap dance went on and on; his stamina seemingly unyielding, his stubbornness in endless repeating of the invented rhyme with ongoing slight modifications felt uncanny. Ringing silence covered the entire place; no more could one hear the clinking sounds of knives and forks. A fat, red-bearded storekeeper wearing a top hat had reclined in his seat in a state of pleasant languor, mumbling: “Gr-r-r-eat.”
No one could follow such an act. It could only be taken further, but there was no way further. Mayakovsky, mad as hell, red as a crayfish boiled in a yellow pot, took Desdemonov by his suit lapel, protruding his lips and keeping a cigarette tucked in the corner of the mouth, hissed: “You, son of a bitch.” On the way out the upstaged celebrity pushed Desdemonov against the wall, spitted the cigarette out on the floor and muttered “Killed all my mood, prick.”
Next morning, Desdemonov woke up famous.
However, the danger lingered: Mayakovsky was well known for his exceptionally long memory of being crossed. Still, on some odd vibe, while being half drunk, Desdemonov made a brilliant move which ensured his eternal fame. The ugly scene with Mayakovsky rudely pushing him aside, was strangely transformed into a sort of a Gymnasium-flavored memory, a kind of an elegant bon mot. Now, Mayakovsky didn’t really push him, but rather playfully put his hand on the opponent’s throat and, while menacingly rolling his eyes, wheezed loudly in Othello-esque manner: “Have you pray’d to-night, Desdemonov?” The celebrity came to like the new version of the event made up by Desdemonov and two weeks later he actually started to believe in it himself, retelling it to his buddies. The two did not become friends, but would shake hands when meeting each other. The event itself was described in eighty six newspapers.
The second twist of fate in Desdemonov’s life happened at the beginning of the Revolution. For weeks on the end he would stay on the ships of the Baltic Fleet, drinking vodka day and night, with abandon. The infamous tap dancing went on and on, in yet another feverish bout on decks of cruisers and ironclads:
A noble gets it in the teeth,
Our buddy gets a pair of kicks
A lady gets it in the tits…
Modernism is a beast
Getting wasted is a feast.
“Desdemona” was untouchable by any law that then existed, about which he boasted in drunken rage. Others feared him. However, his general outlook was far from blissful. One day he met Mayakovsky in the street, who, pulling Desdemonov closer by the button on his sailor’s jacket, whispered in a drunken voice: “Drinking with a wrong crowd, you freak!” Pushing aside, Mayakovsky then dissolved into the snowstorm, his silhouette swaying in the night. It was much later, however, that Desdemonov came to appreciate those words.
* * *
Stepanich woke up as bright ray of sun got through to him over the pine tree forest. Three of his friends were still asleep. The station was deserted, except for the five people standing right by their bench. There was a barefooted girl, aged about 15, a boy of same age wearing bast slip-ons, a disheveled city vacationer in canvas shoes, and two rail inspectors in wooden clogs with flaking oil paint. All eyes were squarely on the commandos’ boots – American army boots with thick ridged soles, double shoelaces, copper tips and metal-clad ventilation holes.
The commando team was returning through the forest, where it encountered a Special Forces team alarmed by the locals. Having broken away from the pursuers, they reached a swamp and managed to make an ambush. Three German Shepherd dogs leading the pursuit were killed with pistol shots. The Special Forces soldiers who rushed in following the dogs were blown up with hand grenades; about ten of them being killed instantly. After a quick battle, Stepanich’s men took four automatic carbines with extra magazines, as well as soldiers’ identification documents. The decision was made not to go around the swamp, but wade right through to save time. There was no safe passage through this swamp, however, and all four had drowned a half hour later. It took the men a while to sink. The bog was making slurping sounds. Young Kotov wept like a girl.
In 1937 Shvarts’s son, a junior pilot, was exposed as a spy during political purges and had confessed that it was he who organized the explosion in the Kuybyshev’s Palace of Culture on the orders from his parents – who, in this way, schemed to distract the NKVD from investigating the planned assassination of Sergey Mironovich Kirov. Following the confession he was immediately executed together with his mother. Just for good measure, two of his aunts, twice removed, were also shot, as well as his 14-year old sister Tsilya.
Stepanich died single and childless.
* * *
Friedrich von Taube (“Baron”) had fought the Bolsheviks as part of the Yudenich Army, and had been interned in Estonia. In 1922 he moved to Latvia, where his old family nest was situated. The estate was razed during the Civil War, and what was left of it was taken by the new Latvian government in 1924. Penniless, the “Baron” left for the Fatherland, which, as a native Ostsee German he never quite liked.
Embittered and unsociable, von Taube had served with the special operations division of the Waffen SS. The division was formed in August 1941 in response to the creation of Beriya’s demolition squads, which were tasked with destroying all “assets” in territories about to be ceded by the Red Army. Von Taube’s detachment had distinguished itself during the Moscow fall offensive, when it wiped out several flamethrower platoons, thus saving about fifteen hundred villages from destruction. On October 27 near the hamlet of Bolshie Shary, von Taube’s squadron surrounded and decimated yet another flamethrower platoon. The soldiers’ bodies were scattered all over the freezing soil. Their uniforms lacked any insignia. When the German squadron entered the saved hamlet, a daffy peasant woman jumped up on a porch of the local government building, took off her headscarf and waved it ecstatically in the air, chanting: “Stalin’s guards are here! Stalin’s guards are here!” The radioman asked von Taube as they walked past the woman:
- Was sagt sie?
The “Baron” curved his lips and replied:
- Nichts. Es ist ein Land der Dummkopfen.
Von Taube was awarded the Iron Cross for the fall offensive; he was killed in November 1942 at Stalingrad. He had stepped on an anti-personnel landmine.
* * *
Next “brush with the Motherland” happened a year later, sometime before he was due to depart for America. A compatriot showed up at his hotel, mispronounced Kistochkin’s middle name, and started:
- Nikolay Appolinarievich, Mother Russia is calling. You are a Russian, after all. The most eminent representatives of the immigrant circles; Soviet citizens who were enslaved in Germany by the Nazi monsters – they all are returning now. You, personally, made a contribution. Your Motherland values you, your Motherland knows you…Think of the Russian snow…This is a Eurasian continent, the mysterious Russian soul.
Kistochkin was surprised, but kept listening. The visitor seemed like a blur, it was impossible to focus on anything about him. Baffled, Kistochkin lit a cigar, and offered one to his guest. The guest took a deep draw from a thin cigar with pleasure; this got him encouraged:
- You are from Ensk, right? My mother was born there. Ah, what a beautiful place Russia really is. May I take another one?
The compatriot’s hand tentatively stretched out towards the sleek silver cigar case which was lying on the desk. Having started on “the international humanistic brotherhood of goodwill folk” the compatriot mechanically took the case and put it in his pocket, realizing this only two minutes later. Knowing that he made a blunder, he nonetheless felt quite relaxed and, in fact, had decided that it was, perhaps, for the better. It was time to say goodbyes, however, and he started towards the exit.
- What is good for a Russian is deadly for a German, ha-ha. The ballet, ah – the ballet! Then there’s Simonov. “Wait for me and I will be back.” What do we have in common with the Europeans, really?
Kistochkin’s conversation partner was quite good at calculating the odds. There were only two options, really. If he gets stopped by the case owner now – he would explain it away with a joke, quite elegantly. If the police are called in – then it’s a lie and a provocation of the White Guard scoundrel. The case is worth it, he decided – perhaps, it’s made of platinum? But the events unfolded in a way not foreseen or calculated by the visitor. Kistochkin was going to place the unfinished cigar into an ashtray. The ashtray was there, but he noted absence of something else. Suddenly, the guest came in focus. First punch landed on his chin, the second – on the ear. The cigar case fell on the floor.
- I say!...no, never mind…it hurts!
The mumbling Eurasian stumbled out and disappeared forever in a dark Parisian street.
* * *
Nick Kistoff passed away peacefully at the age of 92. He was buried at the cemetery of a little Russian Orthodox Church, which was built with charity funds donated by Nick’s company. The tombstone bears the Russian words written in old style:
Nikolay Ionovich Kistochkin. IV.1892 – XII.1984.
На роль Ника Кисточкина, например, мне кажется, идеально подошёл бы Ed Norton.