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Re: CHAT: Things not translated

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  • czechlistx
    ... Of course, America is not the source of all humbuggery, even though it may sometimes appear that way. Long before Don Juan was even a flashing dollar sign
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 29, 2004
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      --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <jpklists@s...> wrote:
      > Europeans will start adopting some American fad...

      Of course, America is not the source of all humbuggery, even though it may sometimes appear that way. Long before Don Juan was even a flashing dollar sign in the eye of Carlos Castaneda, a self-proclaimed Tibetan monk by the name of Tuesday Lobsang Rampa was enthralling swinging sixties Britain with a series of books that combined the quack mysticism of Madame Blavatsky with good old British bijou orientalism.

      In the mid-nineties a translation of this series seemed for a time to fill the spiritual void left behind for some here by the realization that bright purple suits look silly. A company director living in the next village was much taken by the series and started attempting to spiritually enlighten all those in the district who would listen. I tried to diplomatically tell him that this self-proclaimed Tibetan monk was actually an English (some say Irish) civil servant by the name of Cyril Hoskins. My company director acquaintance patiently explained to me that our puny Western minds have difficulty in comprehending his greater truths and when I had to tell him that yer real Tibetan Buddhist monks laugh out loud at Mr Hoskins' claims about himself, my acquaintance had to shake his head sadly at my obtuseness.

      And yet I feel that ten years later this kind of thing would be much less likely to happen here. The great majority of youngsters have a fair grounding in English now and are usually very much at home in cyberspace. They often have their contacts in Britain, a good few have actually worked there or have ongoing working liaison with Brits, they can fly over to London and back for the price of a skiing weekend, or bus over for even less, with relatively little hassle from immigration authorities, and for better or for worse, the British can now be seen relieving themselves outside all the most celebrated Prague pubs and restaurants. England is no longer the mystical Shangri-la it still was even in the early nineties and it is frankly getting rather more difficult these days for us Brits to sell Nelson's Column to moneyed Central Europeans.

      Still, we Europeans do still come in all shapes and sizes, and I sometimes have to laugh when I hear some of the uses the word 'European' is put to. I remember when I was translating an item on the life of the late Henry Ford II, the American authors sometimes referred to his new-found 'European morality' when describing his increasing interest in a certain Italian lady at the expense of his American wife at the time Ford cars started getting Italianate names in the 1960s. That was an awkward one to translate into Czech.

      M.
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