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Forum in English / Odp: English translation of Lem's Dialogi
« dnia: Marzec 22, 2019, 06:11:17 pm »
Hi xpil:

Nice to know there would be at least one buyer, even though not one whose favorite work it was ;)

Seriously, I appreciate your sincere perspective.  Everyone's taste is different, and I agree this project would require someone who, as you say, is affectionate to the material.  That would certainly include myself, if only I knew any Polish at all, which unfortunately I don't.  That said, I am fond of Poland (even without ever having visited), so maybe now is the time for me to learn the language and of course come for a visit!  Any suggestions on good sources for English, German or French speakers to learn Polish?  I am fluent in all three.

Back to seriousness again, I am so convinced this is a very important work the world needs to know more of, if no genuine Polish-to-English translator emerges, may just start privately working from my German copy which, as I say is itself quite superb.  Then, maybe with someone who is fluent in Polish but weaker in English, the project could actually be completed in a decent way, and maybe even with some enjoyment that comes with collaboration.  I know from some much smaller German-to-English translation efforts I've worked on, that such work can be excruciatingly tedious, so sharing the burden would be very nice - also because it could help uncover how well done that 1980 German version really is.  It must be pretty decent, since Lem liked it enough to add his own after-word.

In any case my "affection" for this work is such that in addition to obviously hoping to generate interest here, also would be glad to contribute whatever I personally can.

On another note, does anybody know how active Lem's estate is in promoting efforts such as this to bring wider exposure to his work?  So far my inquiry via the web messaging system has yielded no response, and the email address rights@lem.pl appears to be broken.  Perhaps I should try emailing solaris.lem.pl instead?

EDIT:  Just received this reply from rights@lem.pl:

thank you for your e-mail. There have been several attempts to publish "Dialogi" in English, most publishers consider this title to be too difficult. We keep on trying and there is a chance that this volume will appear in English in the coming years.

So I guess they are actively engaged in this effort, which is nice to know!

Forum in English / English translation of Lem's Dialogi
« dnia: Marzec 21, 2019, 08:40:19 pm »
The contents of this post were also sent yesterday to whoever reads the lem.pl online messages.  Hopefully by placing it here, some more interest for the translation project can be generated.

I have a beautiful German translation, published in 1980 by Suhrkamp, of the book with a 1957 copyright in Poland under the title "Dialogi".

The book is such an incisive and profound investigation of the ever more pressing need for humanity to take seriously the social implications of artificial intelligence, I would very much like to see it more widely recognized.  One important way of achieving this would of course be to create an English translation.

Does anybody know if such a project is underway?

I see this rather inconclusive note at
"Dialogs" were not entirely translated to English.

I myself do not know any Polish, though if I did, would be very eager to help on such a project based on the original.  On the other hand, I am quite fluent in German, and given the excellent quality of the 1980 Suhrkamp edition in my possession would personally feel comfortable starting from there, especially if finding a Polish-to-English translator proves to be difficult or impossible.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

To me, Kandel is one of the Giants. Hats off!
I could not agree more.  I read Kandel's translation of Cyberiad over fourty years ago, soon after his Star Diaries translation, and could not imagine how he could have created a work so full of puns in English without altering the original, since puns are in fact completely untranslatable.  Assuming he maintained the spirit, if not the (impossible for puns) literal meanings from the original polish, whatever Kandel had done was clearly an act of genius, very apparent even to one like myself who knew nothing of the Polish language.

Does anyone who knows both Polish and English have an example that illustrates how Kandel dealt with puns?

I am also curious about the very first story in Cyberiad of Trurl's machine that makes everything starting with n.  Presumable the Polish word for nothing also starts with n?

Anyway, from the time of that first reading of Cyberiad, I have read everything I could find of Lem's, clearly one of the greatest minds, both as philosopher and artist of his time, if not all times.

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