Sample Translations

 

The first sample here is a text that I translated as an exercise while I was preparing for the IoLET Diploma in Translation. I've corrected a couple of typos but otherwise left the translation as I did it, to give you a warts-and-all picture. The Spanish text is an edited extract from the script of a play called Anillos para una dama by Antonio Gala, in which Jerónimo, the Bishop of Valencia, is giving a eulogy for El Cid, two years after his death. I loved the mix of humour and pathos in this extract.

Source Text

 

 

JERÓNIMO. Cuando el Cid murió, lloró toda Europa. Se quedaron sin nadie los campos de Castilla. La cristiandad perdió su santo y seña. Cuando, hoy hace dos años, Rodrigo de Vivar cerró los ojos, murió el más grande guerrero y el más grande caudillo de que queda memoria. Nunca, desde Alejandro, hubo un hombre tan grande ... A mí, que lo enterré, me pareció mentira que tan alta montaña cupiera en tan humildes parihuelas. Desde ese día podemos llamarnos de tú unos a otros; ya somos todos de la misma estatura. A veces, recién rezadas vísperas mientras el sol declina a los pies de un naranjo...

 

JIMENA. (Interrumpe, volviéndose un poco a DOÑA CONSTANZA.) Será en la huerta que mi marido le regaló en Juballa.

 

JERÓNIMO. (Continúa después de mirar a JIMENA.) ... Me pregunto si no habremos soñado. A veces, en esta iglesia de Santa María (Subrayando mientras mira a JIMENA, que aprueba.) de la que él tuvo a bien darme la sede, me pregunto si él no habrá sido un sueño... Si no ha existido nunca y lo hemos inventado como se inventa la esperanza, o si, por el contrario, él no ha muerto y se abrirán las puertas de Valencia y una voz gritará: "¡Mio Cid se acerca!¡Mio Cid está llegando!" ... (JIMENA vuelve la cabeza como si, en efecto, fuese a aparecer alguien. MARÍA solloza apenas.) Cuando un amanecer de octubre se presentó, ante los muros de Valencia, a solas, sin recursos, sin rey y sin ejército y sin bandera por la que luchar, hubiera parecido un insensato si no fuese el héroe solitario, el mito, la encarnación de la gloria de España... Más poderoso que los reyes, repudió su destino de modesto hijodalgo, salió a ganar su pan fuera de Castilla. Desterrado, hizo y deshizo reyes con su dedo meñique.... Jugaba al ajedrez sobre los anchos campos.... El Dios de Sabaoth lo envió con la espada a los lomos, después de haberle musitado en la oreja su consigna. Que el Dios de Sabaoth nos haga dignos de él ... (JIMENA, quizá impaciente, se mueve y hace sonar la pedrería del riquísimo ceñidor que lleva a la cintura.)

 

MARÍA. No hagas ruido.

 

JIMENA. Al obispo también le suenan las espuelas y yo no me he quejado.

 

JERÓNIMO. (Como si no hubiese oído.) España, que por él durará hasta el fin de los tiempos, no lo olvidará nunca. No olvidará sus ojos suaves o airados, su grito de batalla, su gesto majestuoso, su mesura ... (A JIMENA se le cae el libro de Horas. MINAYA se lo alcanza.)

 

JIMENA. (Sonriendo.) Gracias, Minaya.

 

JERÓNIMO. ... su barba nazarena, hecha un nudo como su corazón por volver a Castilla... Hace dos años hoy nos dejó solos el más honrado de los hombres.

 

 

 Translation

 

 

 

JERÓNIMO: When El Cid died, all Europe wept. Not a soul stood on the plains of Castile. Christendom lost its saint and its standard bearer. When, two years ago this day, Rodrigo de Vivar closed his eyes, the greatest warrior and the greatest leader in our memory died. Never, since Alexander, was there so great a man ... I, who laid him to rest, can scarcely believe that such a towering oak should grow from such humble ground. Since that day every man can call the other his fellow; now we all stand as equals. There are times, after Vespers has been said, and the sun is sinking beneath the boughs of the orange trees ...

 

JIMENA: (breaking in as she turns gently towards DOÑA CONSTANZA) That would be in the orchard that my husband gave him in Juballa.

 

JERÓNIMO: (gives JIMENA a look and then continues) ... when I wonder if we have not all been dreaming. There are times, in that church of Santa María (he lays emphasis on the name while looking over to JIMENA, who nods) which he in his goodness made my cathedral, when I wonder if he was but a dream ... I wonder if he never existed and we invented him as men invent hope. There are other times when I wonder if he is not dead at all and the gates of Valencia will burst open and a great cry will ring out: "El Cid is coming! My captain is nigh! ... (JIMENA turns her head as if someone really is about to appear. MARÍA gives a stifled sob) When, on that October dawn, he appeared before the walls of Valencia, alone, with nothing to draw on, with no king and no army and no flag for which to fight, he would have appeared a madman had he not been the lone hero, the myth, the embodiment of Spain's glory ... mightier than a king, he turned aside from his lot as a simple squire, and went forth to earn his living outside Castile. Uprooted from his native soil, he made and unmade kings with his little finger ... He indeed played a game of chess on a broad field. The Lord God Sabaoth whispered his task in his ear and sent him forth with his sword girded at his loins. May the Lord God Sabaoth make us worthy of him ... (JIMENA, possibly impatient, shifts and makes the jewels of the splendid clasp on her belt jingle).

 

MARÍA: Hush

 

JIMENA: The Bishop's spurs are jingling as well and I have not complained.

 

JERÓNIMO: (as if he has not heard) Spain, which because of him will endure until the end of days, will never forget him. Spain will never forget his eyes, gentle or angry, his battle cry, his kingly bearing, his restraint ... (JIMENA's Book of Hours slips out of her hands. MINAYA picks it up for her).

 

JIMENA: (smiling) Thank you, Minaya.

 

JERÓNIMO: ... his beard, like the beard of the Son of Nazareth, knotted as his heart was knotted, yearning to return to Castile ... Two years ago, we were left, alone without him, by the most honourable of men.

 

This is another translation that I did in preparation for the IoLET Diploma. The text is an edited extract from a 2008 article in El País, covering a series of appeals, then about to be heard, against the verdicts in the Madrid train bombings trial. One of the challenges in this piece was knowing where and how to expand the text for non-Spanish readers who would probably not be as familiar with the background to this story as the article's original audience.

Source Text

 

La Sala Penal del Tribunal Supremo inicia a partir de hoy la vista de los 31 recursos de casación interpuestos por el fiscal, ocho acusaciones y 22 defensas contra la sentencia del 11-M, que condenó a los principales autores de los atentados de los trenes de la muerte en los que fueron asesinadas 191 personas y casi 2.000 resultaron heridas. La sentencia de la Audiencia Nacional, que exoneró a algunos de los principales acusados y causó una fuerte decepción entre las asociaciones de víctimas, será supervisada a partir de hoy durante cuatro o cinco jornadas por una sala de cinco magistrados y se emitirá un pronunciamiento en firme sobre los 21 condenados y los ocho absueltos.

 

El tribunal estará integrado por el presidente de la Sala Penal y cuatro magistrados. Un tribunal equilibrado en el aspecto ideológico, con dos magistrados progresistas, dos conservadores y un presidente que ha procurado ejercer su mandato con imparcialidad.

 

A diferencia de otros países, la instancia de casación en España no prevé un segundo juicio en el que se cuestionen todas las pruebas estudiadas en la primera vista, sino que tiene un cauce muy delimitado en el que sólo cabe impugnar cuestiones de fondo y de forma. Ante el Supremo no comparecen los condenados, sino sólo sus abogados, que exponen por orden los motivos de casación y contestan a los de las demás partes procesales.

 

Serán, pues, varios días de discursos jurídicos de altura, sin los acicates del juicio a los ocupantes del banquillo que fue retransmitido a todo el mundo. En esta ocasión no habrá cobertura televisada, y sólo se permitirá captar imágenes el primer día, al inicio de las sesiones. No obstante, la vista será grabada y televisada en circuito cerrado para los medios de comunicación.

 

La sentencia del 11-M condenó a tres de los 29 procesados a penas superiores a los 40.000 años de cárcel como autores del atentado. Los tres supuestos inductores – Rabei Osman (Mohamed el Egipcio), Hassan el Haski, Youssef Belhadj -, para los que la fiscalía pedía condenas similares, fueron absueltos de esos delitos, si bien El Haski y Belhadj fueron condenados por pertenencia a banda terrorista, mientras que El Egipcio resultó absuelto por haber sido condenado en Italia por el mismo delito, aunque la sentencia todavía no es firme.

 

La fiscalía hace una defensa a ultranza de la sentencia de la Audiencia Nacional y sólo apoya parcialmente los recursos que coinciden con el suyo en pedir la condena de El Egipcio.

 

El fiscal ha presentado un informe de 466 folios en el que defiende los argumentos de la sentencia y apoya un par de correcciones técnicas para los condenados. Sobre las indemnizaciones a las víctimas fijadas por la Audiencia Nacional, ciertamente generosas, el fiscal señala que “superan, con mucho, en casi todos los supuestos” el baremo de la Ley sobre Responsabilidad Civil.

 

 

 

 

Translation

 

The criminal division of Spain's supreme court will today start hearings on the appeals against the verdicts in the Madrid terrorist train bombings trial, including thirty-one lodged by the public prosecutor, eight appeals against acquittal and twenty-two against guilty verdicts. The main perpetrators of the 11 March 2004 attacks, in which 191 people were killed and nearly two thousand injured in four crowded commuter trains, were found guilty by the national criminal court, but the trial cleared some defendants of the most serious charges and caused widespread dismay among victims' associations. The court's verdicts will be reviewed over the next four or five days by a tribunal of five judges, who will issue a final ruling on the twenty-one defendants found guilty and the eight who were cleared.

 

The tribunal will be made up of four judges under the president of the criminal division. A balanced panel in political terms, with two judges known as progressives, two conservatives and a president who has sought to exercise his mandate with neutrality.

 

By contrast with some other countries, the appeals process in Spain does not provide for a re-examination of the evidence put forward at the original trial; the scope for review is strictly limited and only allows for challenges on procedural and legal issues. Defendants do not appear in person before the supreme court; it is only their legal representatives who attend, in order to formally present the grounds for the appeal and respond to the other parties to the proceedings. We can expect, therefore, several days of high-level legal argumentation, without the courtroom drama of the accused on the bench relayed to the whole world last time round. On this occasion there will be no broadcast coverage, and photographs will only be allowed on the first day, at the start of the proceedings. The hearings will however be recorded and journalists will be able to watch them on closed-circuit TV.

 

At their trial, three of the twenty-nine individuals charged with involvement in the Madrid bombings were sentenced to prison terms of over 40,000 years for their role in carrying out the attacks. However, the three alleged ringleaders – Rabei Osman (known as Mohamed El Egipcio), Hassan El Haski, and Youssef Belhadj - for whom the prosecution had sought similar sentences, were found not guilty of taking part, although El Haski and Belhadj were convicted of membership of a terrorist organisation. El Egipcio was acquitted on the grounds that he had been found guilty of the same offence in Italy, although the final ruling in that case has yet to be issued.

 

The prosecution is making a vigorous defence of the judgment reached by the national criminal court and is only partially backing those appeals which, like its own, are seeking the conviction of El Egipcio. In four hundred and sixty-six pages of pleadings, it defends the reasoning behind the judgment while backing a couple of corrections on technical grounds sought by those found guilty. On the admittedly generous damages awarded to the victims by the national criminal court, the prosecution signals that “they exceed by a large degree, in almost all cases” the benchmarks set by national legislation on civil liability.