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Don Manuel emprendió la tarea de hacer él de lago, de piscina probática

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by willdewey, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. willdewey New Member

    United States, English
    I am in the process of translating Miguel de Unamuno's "San Manuel Bueno, mártir" (after a three-year hiatus from Spanish) and I'm struggling over one line in particular:

    "Don Manuel emprendió la tarea de hacer él de lago, de piscina probática..."

    The "piscina probática" is the biblical Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed an invalid, and the "lago" is the lake outside Manuel's village. What's really giving me trouble here is that little bit "hacer él de lago". If anybody could offer some help on how to translate that, I would be very grateful.
     
  2. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    Hacer de can be translated as to act as, serve as, in case you have trouble understanding its meaning. It can also be used as 'hacer las veces de'.
    Only with the intention in mind of making clear the meaning of 'hacer él de lago', I propose you a rather direct translation in english:

    Don Manuel undertook the task of acting himself as lake...

    I do not dare to translate piscina próbatica, the word próbatico/a not even deserving an entry in the RAE.

    Carlos
     
  3. el alabamiano Senior Member

    Alabama
    Perhaps:

    Don Manuel undertook the task of making the lake a Pool of Bethesda/healing pool.

    «Y hoy el pobre Perote, inválido, paralítico, tiene como báculo y consuelo de su vida al hijo aquel que, contagiado de la santidad de Don Manuel, reconoció por suyo no siéndolo.

    En la noche de san Juan, la más breve del año, solían y suelen acudir a nuestro lago todas las pobres mujerucas, y no pocos hombrecillos, que se creen poseídos, endemoniados, y que parece no son sino histéricos y a las veces epilépticos, y Don Manuel emprendió la tarea de hacer él de lago, de piscina probática, y tratar de aliviarles y si era posible de curarles. Y era tal la acción de su presencia, de sus miradas, y tal sobre todo la dulcísima autoridad de sus palabras y sobre todo de su voz -¡qué milagro de voz!-, que consiguió curaciones sorprendentes. Con lo que creció su fama, que atraía a nuestro lago y a él a todos los enfermos del contorno. Y alguna vez llegó una madre pidiéndole que hiciese un milagro en su hijo, a lo que contestó sonriendo tristemente: -No tengo licencia del señor obispo para hacer milagros.»
     
  4. Misao

    Misao Senior Member

    back in Soria
    Zaragoza(Spain)- Spanish
    In my opinion, "probática" comes from the verb "probar". And if you can keep the reference, try to solve it using a paraphrasis, or with just another invention. Maybe I am wrong, but it's my view...

    Hope it helps :)
     
  5. begoña fernandez Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain - Spanish
    what about this: "Don Manuel undertook the task of becoming himself a lake"
    Does it sound ok in English?

    all the best
    Begoña Fernández
     
  6. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    Alabamiano:Lo que has traducido es 'convertir el lago del pueblo en la piscina probática'.
    El texto español dice 'hacer él mismo (Don Pablo) de lago', es decir, convertirse él en lago, hacer las veces de lago.
    De algún modo hay que trasladar esto al inglés.

    Don Pablo undertook the task of:
    being a lake
    acting as a lake
    becoming a lake
    ...

    Carlos
     
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I may be way off, but I think that it means that Don Manuel undertook the task of making himself the one/man of the lake....and to try to alleviate....

    This is very much in keeping with what Carlos has offered. Just as Jesus acted at the pool of Bethesda, so Don Manuel has chosen to act at the lago de su pueblo. He has chosen to undertake the role of the healer. Hence the accented él, as a pronoun, rather than an article.

    saludos,
    Cuchuflete

    PD- It's been over 30 yrs since I read San Manuel Bueno...so if my answer is without sense, I ask your understanding and forgiveness. C
     
  8. Misao

    Misao Senior Member

    back in Soria
    Zaragoza(Spain)- Spanish
    Begoña, I think it would be better "Don Manuel undertook the task of becoming himself THE lake". Isn't it?
    :)
     
  9. máxima_estrella

    máxima_estrella Senior Member

    Spain
    US English
    I'm with Cuchu and Carlos on this...I agree with their interpretation. My suggestion is the simplest, and the same as Cuchu's:

    "making himself"

    If not, I would use "acting as".

    What a great book. Unamuno is one of my favorites.
     
  10. el alabamiano Senior Member

    Alabama
    ¡Ah...tienes razón! La expresíon es simbólica! Acaso:

    Don Manuel undertook the task of making himself a lake, a healing pool.
     
  11. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    My attempt:

    Don Manuel took on the task of playing the role of the lake, the healing pool...

    Don Manuel undertook to assume the role of the lake, the healing pool...
     
  12. el alabamiano Senior Member

    Alabama
    Uff...pensándolo bien, el ángel agitaba el agua. Acaso:

    Don Manuel undertook the task of making himself the One of the lake, like the One at the pool of Bethesda.
     
  13. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    After all, and having read the whole text as sent by el alabamiano, I'd take the simplest approach
    Either the one by el Alabamiano (with a slight change):
    Don Manuel undertook the task of making himself the lake, the healing pool.
    or an even simplest one
    Don Manuel undertook the task of being himself the lake, the healing pool

    I think it's needed to use 'the' and not 'a' as it refers to the very lake of the village: Don Manuel is the lake, the miraculous pool that alleviates the sufferers.

    Either of these two options, in my opinion, convey the Unamuno's image.

    Carlos
     
  14. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    ....el diabo agitaba la piscina....

    I like your translation better than my feeble attempt.

    saludos,
    Cuchu
     
  15. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    Anyway, the more I walk around this forum, the more I like it.
     
  16. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Carlos,

    You make good points. First, I would dispense with the mayúsculas, which just confuse the issue. If Don Miguel had intended it to be Él en vez de él, he would have done so. He was, after all, a theological scholar. I still find that he is making reference to the 'one of the lake' rather than the lake itself. Hence, "él del lago" rather than simply "el lago".

    It's ambiguous, and your logic is sound. I see it from a close, but slightly different viewpoint.

    saludos,
    Cuchu
     
  17. el alabamiano Senior Member

    Alabama
    Habrá que tener en cuenta su edad, estimado señor. - El chaval

    «...Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had....»

    http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/pool-bethesda.html
     
  18. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    For some reason, the contribution you are quoting has gone.
    For the sake of clarity, I summarise it again:
    I think Unamuno is not referring to the One, but to the lake itself near the town, which, according to the village's tradition, cures the sufferers. Don Manuel, by his personal sanctity, cures the people just like the lake does, not like Him did it at the healing pool. The reference to Bethesda is, then, secondary.

    Carlos
     
  19. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Carlos,

    You make good points. First, I would dispense with the mayúsculas, which just confuse the issue. If Don Miguel had intended it to be Él en vez de él, he would have done so. He was, after all, a theological scholar. I still find that he is making reference to the 'one of the lake' rather than the lake itself. Hence, "él del lago" rather than simply "el lago".

    It's ambiguous, and your logic is sound. I see it from a close, but slightly different viewpoint.

    saludos,
    Cuchu
     
  20. Carlos Martínez Riera

    Carlos Martínez Riera Senior Member

    Valencia
    Spain / Spanish
    Cuchu,
    I think there is no ambiguity for a Spanish reader. Hacer él de lago is not the same as 'hacer el del lago' (this one being closer to what you think) nor 'hacer él del lago' (which does not make much sense) .
    'Hacer de' es 'actuar como', 'convertirse en'
    Por ejemplo:
    Johnny Depp hace de Ed Wood en esa película.
    Now, let us modify gradually the sentence to get to the point:
    Él (Johnny Depp) hace de Ed Wood.
    Johnny Depp quiso hacer de Ed Wood.
    Jonny Dep decidió hacer él mismo de Ed Wood para esa película.
    Decidió hacer él de Ed Wood (él is the subject of hacer de)

    Possibly you have read 'hacer el del lago', that translates exactly as the one of the lake, instead of hacer él de lago
    The accent on él makes the whole difference.
    Carlos
     
  21. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Superb explanation...yes, in fact I mis-read it as Don Manuel playing the role of 'the one of the lake' rather than playing the role of the lake itself.

    Thanks for making it clear,
    Cuchu
     
  22. willdewey New Member

    United States, English
    Gracias a todos. ¡Qué útiles son estos foros!
     
  23. willdewey New Member

    United States, English
    I generally like to remain as close to the original text as possible, but in this case "piscina próbotica" seems to have a biblical connotation in Spanish that "healing pool" does not, so I felt compelled to be a little more wordy in the interest of specification, as when Alabamiano translated it to include the biblical name of the pool in English:

    "Don Manuel undertook the task of acting himself as the lake, as the healing waters at the Pool of Bethesda"

    I'm still on my first draft, so feel free to offer any critiques on this line that you will.
     
  24. el alabamiano Senior Member

    Alabama
    Well first, I was glad to try. And since you're still open to suggestions, I'll offer another modification based on the explanations of the other contributors.

    Don Manuel undertook the task—himself becoming the lake—the Pool of Bethesda.
     

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