All Slavic languages: No man can kill me!

cyanista

законодательница мод
NRW
Belarusian/Russian
This is taken from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (the film, not the book). If you remember, the Witch-king - the greatest of the Nazgul - utters these words shortly before being killed by a woman.:) Eowen says in return: "I'm no man" and pierces him with her sword.

It's all good and fun but I was wondering how they translated it into Russian. The pun wouldn't work because you cannot say "a man" in Russian meaning "a person" as well as you cannot say "men" meaning "people". A man is always and exclusively a male person. Apparently, they had to paraphrase it somehow. Has anybody an idea or a Russian copy? ;)

I would appreciate comments and revelations from speakers of all Slavic languages. :)
 
  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    At the beginning I'd like to say that I haven't seen the movie so I may happen to be not very usefull.:( Nevertheless, I did some research.:)
    Here's what I found on the Net:

    Назгул:
    - No man can kill me!
    Eowin (срывая шлем)
    - I am no man! So die!

    - Никакая паршивая женщина не может убить меня!
    Eowin (срывая шлем)
    - А я мужчина!
    (The Lord of the Rings, The return of the King)
    http://www.lingvofanclub.info/pearls.htm
    That's quite interesting solution...

    As for Polish translation, I only managed to find out that they translated "man" as "człowiek" which means ... "human being," and this was ... one of the more significant (if not the most) mistakes of the movie translation. :D

    FWIW,
    Thomas
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Thanks a lot for your contribution, Thomas! Still, there is a small problem with the Russian translation you've found. :)

    Назгул:
    - No man can kill me!
    Eowin (срывая шлем)
    - I am no man! So die!

    - Никакая паршивая женщина не может убить меня! (No lousy woman can kill me!)
    Eowin (срывая шлем)
    - А я мужчина! (I'm a man!)
    (The Lord of the Rings, The return of the King)

    I suppose, the author of this translation haven't seen the film before writing that. :)

    The site that you've found harbours an amusing collection of such misscarried translation attempts that kept me in stitches for the last half hour.:D Highly recommended for those who know both Russian and English!
    http://www.lingvofanclub.info/pearls.htm

    I would like to stress once more that if you use "мужчина" for man, it will sound unnatural, something like "No male (person) can kill me". And if you take "человек" ("człowiek") you have to leave out the second phrase because it doesn't make any sense! :mad:
     

    Tobycek

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It is difficult to translate this into languages that don't have a word that means both "person" and "male".
    Although actually, in English, it doesn't sound so great either, as "no man" is rather old-fashioned, and "no-one" would sound more normal.
    But of course then you couldn't do the 'joke'.

    If I were translating into Slovene, I'd maybe say
    "Noben človek me ne more ubiti"
    ...
    "Ni noben človek kot jaz!"

    Not quite the same, but does it sound OK?
     

    skye

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    The second sentence sounds weird. I don't know what the actual translation is, since I don't own the book.
     

    polaco

    Member
    Poland/polish
    In polish language there is one old-fashioned word "mąż" which used to mean man in general. I guess it was used in the book and in the movie (but I must admitt I don't remember). In the russian there is also Muż (or murz) - polish fonetic transcription because i don't have russian fonts and it's impossible to make it into english becuase there's no "ż" or "rz".
     

    Tchesko

    Senior Member
    Czech
    In Czech, the word they used is muž, which usually applies to males:
    "Zabráníš mně? Ty blázne. Mně nazabrání žádný živý muž!"
    Zdálo se, že se Dernhelm směje, a jasný hlas zazvonil jako ocel. "Ale já nejsem živý muž! Máš před sebou ženu."

    (Source; as far as I remember, the translation in the book is similar)


    The pun in the prophecy is not very good from a stylistic point of view but it is easily understood. The neutral word meaning "man or woman" is člověk (masc. gender as it happens).
    Once you know the outcome of the scene, you can hardly consider the sense of muž in the prophecy as ambiguous. However, if you ignore the outcome, I believe you may be misled, i.e. think that the prophecy states no mortal (man or woman) can kill the Nazgul king, even if this is not the usual sense of muž.

    Roman
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    Tchesko said:
    In Czech, the word they used is muž, which usually applies to males:
    "Zabráníš mně? Ty blázne. Mně nazabrání žádný živý muž!"
    Zdálo se, že se Dernhelm směje, a jasný hlas zazvonil jako ocel. "Ale já nejsem živý muž! Máš před sebou ženu."
    I've found the Russian translation on the Net and it's about the same:

    -Глупец! Ни один смертный муж мне не страшен!
    -А я не смертный муж! Перед тобою женщина!

    "смертный" is "mortal"; "муж" actually stands for "husband" in modern Russian and the meaning "man/male person" is obsolete. Still, it works in the context of a Tolkien story.

    Tchesko said:
    Once you know the outcome of the scene, you can hardly consider the sense of muž in the prophecy as ambiguous. However, if you ignore the outcome, I believe you may be misled, i.e. think that the prophecy states no mortal (man or woman) can kill the Nazgul king, even if this is not the usual sense of muž.
    Well, that's the point of it: prophecys in fiction are almost always ambiguous so that they can mislead the reader/spectator and cause an unexpected turn of events. That's what they're basically for. :)
     

    KG2002

    New Member
    Russian, Canada
    Thanks for your comments, everyone!


    I've found the Russian translation on the Net and it's about the same:

    -Глупец! Ни один смертный муж мне не страшен!
    -А я не смертный муж! Перед тобою женщина!

    "смертный" is "mortal"; "муж" actually stands for "husband" in modern Russian and the meaning "man/male person" is obsolete. Still, it works in the context of a Tolkien story.


    Well, that's the point of it: prophecys in fiction are almost always ambiguous so that they can mislead the reader/spectator and cause an unexpected turn of events. That's what they're basically for. :)

    Well, in combination with "swords" and "knights", "смертный муж" sounds pretty good to me. Even though it is not as smooth as in English. Moreover, the expression "смертный муж" meaning "husband" does not make sense at all. It is just not right :)

    P.S. Nice forum, BTW!
     

    !netko!

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    I remember when I went to see the movie, it was translated in Croatian as:
    -Mene ne može ubiti nijedan muž.
    -Ja nisam nikakav muž. Ja sam žena.

    Same as in Russian, "muž" is husband in modern Croatian; "muž" meaning man obsolete. Though it may still exist in the Kajkavian dialect of Croatian, I'm not sure.
    So it's a bit awkward as it is extremely archaic but it worked well enough in the context of the movie. I certainly thought it was handled better than it would have been if they had translated it to "čovjek", because I'm female and I identify both as "čovjek" (human) and "žena" (woman). It could have worked that way too, I guess.

    Ah, the limits of language...
     
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