bad immigrant - port of call: amsterdam.

My Dutch sucks, badly. In the interest of improving it in a way that doesn't feel like "work", I'm going to once again try and read a Dutch translation of an English book that I'm very very familiar with, and this time try to 1) finish the book, and 2) learn something from the experience. Oh, and 3) document some of it here.

The book I'm starting with is Michael Chabon's The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh (TMOP from here on out), which, of the books for which I have a Dutch version and an English version, offers the most interesting dialogue and creative turns of phrase (in English). The Dutch version is called De Geheimen van Pittsburgh, and will be referred to as DGVP from this point forward.

I don't know what I'm looking for here, or if this is an even remotely good idea. But hopefully it will initiate something larger on my part (I'm just going to leave that there). I think I'll start with a Dutch Word Of the Day (DWOD) kind of thing b/c it's low-impact and something I might realistically do every day. So here's DWOD #1:

bekoorlijkheid: charm

TMOP: There was, however, a last paper on Freud’s letters to Wilhelm Fliess, for which I realized I would have to make one exasperating last visit to the library, the dead core of my education, the white, silent kernel of every empty Sunday I had spent trying to ravish the faint charms of the study of economics, my sad and cynical major.

DGVP: Alleen had ik nog een laatste werkstuk te doen over de brieven van Freud aan Wilhelm Fliess, en ik realiseerde me dat ik daar nog een laatste ergerlijk bezoekje voor aan de bibliotheek zou moeten brengen, het dode klokhuis van mijn opleiding, de witte, stille pit van iedere lege zondag die ik had doorgebracht met proberen de schrale bekoorlijkheden van de studie economie, mijn droef and cynisch hoofdvak, te genieten.



Klary Koopmans said...

Well. That Dutch sentence is a perfect example of why I don't read translations. Ugh.

MEM said...

The more I'm poking around in the translation, the less I'm liking this idea.

But in the interest of education, care to elaborate on your gripe?

MEM said...

BTW, it's not an especially awesome sentence in English to begin with (IMHFO).