Karl-May-Forum

The first English language forum dedicated to one of the most enigmatic and successful German writers of all time
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 Post subject: Liberal and literal - ?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:16 pm 
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Last edited by Marlies on Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 168
Location: U.S.A.
Count me as one of those who demand the complete, literal translations. I could not bring myself to try the Koblick version of Winnetou I. I am not sure that abridgement and “Americanisation” will help spread interest in Karl May in the U.S., since most young people do not read books from earlier eras, and the Wild West has lost its former popularity amongst the young. The readers who would take up the Koblick version would just as well take (and might well prefer) the upcoming literal translation of Winnetou I (from Nemsi Books). Karl May had much more than mere action and plot to convey in his work.

I have lately acquired an 1898 edition of “Winnetou, the Apache Knight”, the first of the two “Jack Hildreth” versions of the Winnetou story, translated (and “adapted for our boys and girls from C. May”) by Marion Ames Taggart. I shall read this, when I have run out of the marvellous translations by Marlies Bugmann, Herbert Windolf, and Herbert Steiner, because its period will make it interesting. I do not expect an accurate representation of May’s sensibility, let alone any fidelity to plot.

The Michael Shaw translation of Winnetou is chiefly valuable for part I. Parts II and III are excessively abridged. What I like about Shaw’s work is his “old fashioned” use of English; however, I would need to master German to be able to tell how well this style conveys Karl May’s intent. Perhaps one of the translators could comment on this?


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:26 pm 
The 'Shaw' translation is a translation from a lesser known special anniversary edition of 'Winnetou', as published by Karl May publishing house in Bamberg Germany, 1960.


Last edited by Marlies on Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 168
Location: U.S.A.
I had noticed that the Shaw translation was based on a special German anniversary edition, but I had no way of knowing that the objectionable abridgments originated in that edition. Many thanks for providing that very interesting information. 8)

I agree that Mr Shaw did not seem to fully convey the excitement or physicality of the action sequences, and the narrative in general was slightly static. You have done much better in that regard (and others). Perhaps the “old fashioned” style (in terms of specific words and phrases) that I liked in his translation—despite its not quite successful overall effect—also reflected a staid demeanour that could not stretch sufficiently to capture the vigour demanded by Karl May’s vision.


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