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Еврей без ярлыков - The Last Ring-bearer
October 3rd, 2010
01:11 am

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The Last Ring-bearer
UPDATE: Second edition!

More than 15 years ago Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov tried to settle certain geographical problems in Tolkien's fantasy world. One thing led to another, and he tackled a bigger project - what if we assumed that it's no less real than our world? His conclusion was that in such a case, the story of the Ring of Power is most likely a much-altered heroic retelling of a major war - but what was that war really about?

The result of this re-appraisal was the publication in 1999 of The Last Ring-bearer - a re-thinking of Tolkien's story in real-world terms. Dr. Yeskov, a professional paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life from fossil remnants, performs essentially the same feat in The Last Ring-bearer, reconstructing the real world of Tolkien's Arda from The Lord of the Rings - the heroic tales of the Free Men of the West written in that world. We have a pretty good idea how well heroic tales map to reality from our own world...

I was impressed enough by this work to spend a few dozen lunch hours translating it to English. (Reportedly, some publishing houses have considered a commercial translation of this book, which had been published in several major European languages, but abandoned the idea out of fear of the Tolkien estate, which doesn't countenance any derivative works, especially in English. Witness the history of its relationship with New Line Cinema. This translation is non-commercial. The Russian original can be found here.) I have been fortunate to establish communication with the author and have the translation vetted (and much corrected) by him. I now offer this work for your perusal. At 139,000 words, this 1 Mb PDF is about 80% of the length of The Fellowship of the Ring. Suggestions for corrections will be appreciated. Please mention how you heard about this translation when commenting. Errata will be published here soon.

UPDATE: I have translated an essay Dr. Yeskov wrote after the first publication of this book. It may answer some of your questions about his motivation and method.</b>

One user has reported a virus intercepted during downloading. The PDF itself is Javascript-free and ought not to have any payload other than the text. It was likely a false positive when a stub of the file matched some virus signature during download. Sendspace has informed me that my account has gone premium thanks to all the downloads, and users should now see no ads prior to downloading. One user has reported encountering Captcha; I've never seen any, but suspect that Sendspace puts them up when the download request comes from a domain associated with bots. There have been thousands of successful downloads; if yours fails, please try again. .odt and .mobi versions are available here thanks to Matthew Wilcoxson.

I have to disappoint the fans of Sauron: His Majesty Sauron the VIII rates only a few mentions in this work, having been nothing more than an enlightened king. Nor does the Ring of Power rate more than a passing mention. Likewise the Hobbits: unlike LOTR, this story is not about them. Finally, no attempt has been made to imitate J.R.R. Tolkien's style - it is deliberately modern and down-to-earth.

I am now working on a second edition, with some corrections (very few, the author was thorough) and, hopefully, smoother prose.


Errata

  • Page 5: read "consciousness" for "conscious." I'm considering a different expression altogether, as it's hard to walk while unconscious. Same on page 71.

  • Page 53: read "Those may very well be needed more than the rest." for "Seemingly, those will be needed no more than all the rest."

  • Page 108: read "had decided to call them Mountains of Shadow" for "had decided to cal then Mountains of Shadow"

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From:bringing_peace
Date:October 3rd, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
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"I" as in YMarkov?
Impressive, thank you.
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From:ymarkov
Date:October 3rd, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Yes, any "I" without an attribution means me.

You may want to read the original: http://fan.lib.ru/e/eskov
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From:eleyvie
Date:October 5th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Incorrect translation detected. In Sharya-Rana's dialogue with Haladdin, Sharya-Rana says that "poets will be needed no more than the rest", while in Russian, he says something quite the opposite: "эти понадобятся как бы не больше всех остальных".

Otherwise found no inconsistencies with the translation, great work, spent most of the day to read it through. :-)
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From:ymarkov
Date:October 6th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
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Спасибо, исправлю в следующем издании :-)
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From:trurle
Date:October 6th, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)
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Fortunately, using Sharya-Rana’s information, Tzerlag managed to locate in the Shara-Teg Gorge a well-regulated company reporting to the main command of the Resistance./.../
It’s logical to suppose that the regiment is still a well-regulated fighting unit that has gone underground, and now these people are planning your ‘liberation’. I think we’ve already established what would happen then.”

Верно ли использование определения well-regulated в этих контекстах?
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From:ymarkov
Date:October 8th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
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Я полагаю, что да. Одной из изюминок в оригинальном тексте являются "отсылки" на разные реалии. Их перевод представляет из себя отдельную трудность. В рамках нынешнего американского базара о том, что же всё-таки означают слова "well-regulated militia" во Второй Поправке Билля о Правах, я счёл забавным именно так "отослать" к пониманию этого термина классическими конституционалистами США.
From:vardomskiy
Date:October 12th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
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Прочитал до страницы 59 (Больше просто не напечатал на работе в пятницу). Несколько мест бросилось в глаза пока читал по пути на работу и домой.

Стр 8 по тексту. У вас: "Sure, the Throne, the Motherland and all that... but the generals kept doing things whose stupidity was obvious even to a sergeant."

У меня загвоздка с оборотом "... things whose stupidity ..." так как я востпринимаю модифицирует `generals` а не `things`.

"... things which stupidity ..." тоже не звучит.

Может надо "... things stupidity of which..."?


Стр 40. Если только Вы не сделали зто умышленно, чтоб сделать речь Цэрлага более "простонародной", то у вас пропущен артикль `of` перед `cola nuts` в предложение: "Wait - gimme a couple cola nuts, I could use them, too." По оригиналу речь Цэрлага: Да, постой! Кинь-ка пару орешков кола - мне тоже не повредит. Может "Hang on, toss me a couple of cola nuts - I could use them too" подойдет?


Стр 48. В оригинале это предложение звучит так: "Есть среди нас и короли. Так же как королевичи, сапожники, портные.... ну и все прочие." У вас это предложение звучит так: "There are kings among us too, аs well as doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, and such." Chief (что скорее титул главы чего-либо) скорее всего не правильно, и Вы имели в виду chef (повар).


Стр 52. В предложение "... sings the majestic strength of the old buck..." пропущен артикль "of" или слово "about". "Sings of the majestic strength of the old buck..." etc.


А так пока отличный перевод. Уже разрекоммендовал многим знакомым. Спасибо вам.
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From:ymarkov
Date:October 12th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
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"things stupidity of which..." - да, пожалуй, так лучше.

Стр. 40 - да, умышленно. Однако Вы предложили более удачный оборот.

Стр. 48 - этот момент мы некоторое время перетирали с др. Еськовым. Ближайший найденный нами аналог этой считалки - вторая строчка английской считалочки Tinker, tailor, soldier, thief / doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief. Так что без поваров :-)

Стр. 52 - вопрос спорный. Помните у Брэдбери I Sing The Body Electric? Я именно хотел использовать поэтический стиль.

Спасибо, жду дальнейших советов и предложений!
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From:James Hutchings
Date:January 12th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Why don't they change the copyrighted terms, but keep the structure, and release it like that?
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From:ymarkov
Date:January 16th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
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Who's "they" - the publishers? My guess would be that in English it would be an open-and-shut case of "derivative work." Perhaps less so in other languages, or maybe the estate is less vigilant about non-English languages, so the Chekhs et al took a calculated risk.

May I ask how you heard about this?
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From:Oleg Afanasyev
Date:January 26th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
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Здравствуйте, можно ли мне разместить ссыль на перевод на фейсбуковском акке? Сейчас читаю на русском и испытываю огромное удовольствие, хочется поделиться радостью с буржуйскими монсеньорами, шоб знали чё к чему!:)
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From:ymarkov
Date:January 30th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Пожалуйста.
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From:daid
Date:January 29th, 2011 07:25 am (UTC)
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[My girlfriend linked the post]

Read the story this week. The translation is much appreciated. I may get around to writing a short reivew of the story itself on my blog, but in any case, it was quite enjoyable.

As you mentioned a second edition, here are just some small editorial notes below.

On page 108 of the text, there's a clear set of typos in the second sentence; probably it should read "had decided to call them Mountains of Shadow."

The DSD is called an acronym on page 202 of the text. Likely this is an abbreviation and not an acronym, unless it's really meant to be pronounced something like "Dissed." Of course it could be an acronym in Russian that doesn't turn out to be one in English.

I found the idea "scared spitless" to be a rather invented phrase, which I would find more like "scared shitless," but I have no idea which is better for translation. (It's on page 133, in any case.)

Fine work!
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From:ymarkov
Date:January 31st, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
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P. 108 - thank you. Two typos, drat.

P. 202 - I disagree. Here's the definition of "acronym" from Rference.com:

A word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words, as WAC from Women's Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.

As for "scared spitless," it's a current expression, a euphemism for "scared shitless." I feel that it's more appropriate for this text - the author mostly avoids profanity.

Again, thank you.
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From:sergeant
Date:February 2nd, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
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I would suggest using Mediafire instead (and have done it for you already).

In any case, downloaded, will most definitely be reading this soon. :)
[User Picture]
From:ymarkov
Date:February 2nd, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, but what's so much better about Mediafire?

(The part that's worse, for me, is that I can't track the number of downloads there, so my vanity suffers :-)
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From:ironymaiden
Date:February 2nd, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
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[you've been linked on reddit]

thanks for doing this. would you be willing to share a plain text version instead of a PDF? i would like to format it for my Kindle.
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From:ymarkov
Date:February 2nd, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
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It's available (in a 7-bit version that omits diacritic marks) at http://fan.lib.ru/e/eskov/last_ringbearer_engl.shtml
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From:angelaperry
Date:February 3rd, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)

Fascinating

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I came here via a tweet by @GalleyCat.

This concept has totally caught my imagination. I can't wait to read it!
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From:lordameth
Date:February 4th, 2011 04:19 am (UTC)
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Found out about this from a samurai history forum I follow.

This translation is quite the endeavor, and I absolutely commend you for it.

I am a little confused as to how the text functions, however. Were it written in non-fiction style, analyzing the Lord of the Rings and discussing the "real" history that might be understood from it, that I could understand. Just as one might write a PhD dissertation or academic book seeking to uncover the real history behind "The Tale of the Heike."

But this does not work that way. It's a narrative, a fiction work through and through. Only the epilogue reads the way I'd expected the entire thing to read, describing the "real" history of the key figures and events as if it were a non-fiction history book.

I don't mean to be critical; I'm just confused is all.

Cheers.
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From:cadu3m
Date:February 17th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)

НАДО ЖЕ!

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Что то лысого не видно )))
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From:tristantrakand
Date:February 4th, 2011 08:16 am (UTC)
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(Came here from a link from Gallycat)

This is fascinating!
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From:brutus_bt
Date:February 6th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
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Браво!!! Читаю и радуюсь - книга достаточно трудна для перевода, но получилось просто замечательно (жду не дождусь дочитать до Умбарской шпионской части) =)
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From:ervol
Date:February 16th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
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получилось гуд, да
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From:badgerbag
Date:February 7th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Brilliant! Thank you! I'm reading it.
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From:Steve Creswell
Date:February 9th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)

translation

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очен спасибо!
Very much enjoyed the novel. A very thoughtful and intelligent work.
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From:azur_infinie
Date:February 13th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Found out about this via a link on the Fanthropology LJ group. Looks interesting, thank you!
From:labukhd
Date:February 15th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)

Small mistake

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First off, thanks a lot for the very nice translation!
I just found a small mistake or typo.

In Chapter 37, p. 136 (pdf version) it says "The resident
listened to Tangorn’s introduction and said coldly: "I don’t CARE FOR Faramir’s recommendations!" (Я не люблю Фарамировых рекоммендаций)

In the original, it is
"Плевать я хотел на Фарамировы рекомендации!", i.e.
"I don't care about Faramir's recommendation" or maybe "I don't give a damn about..."

Cheers.

Dmitry
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From:ymarkov
Date:February 16th, 2011 04:36 am (UTC)

Re: Small mistake

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A-а-а-атлично! Спасибо!
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From:jwj693
Date:February 15th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

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I just read about this in the article on Salon.com. Can't wait to read it!
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From:Jim Scott
Date:February 15th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)

Thanks!

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Just downloaded it. Can't wait to read it. I also forwarded it via email, Facebook and Twitter... Jim
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From:Simon McGrother
Date:February 15th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)

Salon review

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You just got a great review in Salon magazine from Laura Miller:
http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2011/02/15/last_ringbearer/index.html
Congratulations.
[User Picture]
From:pingback_bot
Date:February 16th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)

Worlds colliding

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User rivkat referenced to your post from Worlds colliding saying: [...] close to real literature and not just unlikely romance, whereas my reaction was: dude's on LJ [...]
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From:rivkat
Date:February 16th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
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Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading it.
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From:themodestokid
Date:February 16th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
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Thanks very much! This looks fascinating. I heard about it from my brother... I am going to post a link from my blog, readin.com
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From:themodestokid
Date:February 16th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:February 16th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)

Thanks

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Here from Salon.com -- a review by Laura Miller -- and have sent the site to friends. Thank you so much for doing all that translation work! I'm looking forward to reading this.
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From:volund
Date:February 16th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Thanks

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I've just read the Salon review as well, which links to this entry.

Have downloaded it, and am looking forward to the reading experience.
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