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nikolas

Χτίζουν και γκρεμίζουν κάστρα

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Due to the day, 21st of April, I am attempting to translate this song which is allegoric form the first to last word. I have put (?) whenever I didn't know which word to use, from the dictionary. So maybe I picked the totally wrong ones. The song by Vasilis Tsitsanis, written much earlier than 1967, however still applicable.

Χτίζουν και γκρεμίζουν κάστρα   |   They are constructing and demolishing castles

σ' ένα γλέντι φοβερό   |   in an amazing wassail (?)

για μια κόρη ξελογιάστρα   |   for a girl, a seductress

κι αν χαθεί που θα τη βρω   |   and if she is lost, where to find her

Μου την άρπαξε η μοίρα   |   She was taken from me by destiny

μια βραδιά στο χαλασμό   |   one night, in the tumult (?)

θα τη βρω και θα την πάρω   |   I will find her and take her

το 'χω βάλει πια σκοπό   |   I have set it as a goal

Δρόμο παίρνω δρόμο αφήνω   |  A path I take, a path I leave  

σε βουνά και σε γκρεμό   |   in mountains and in a steep (?)

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι   |   but I am living to be tortured

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   by my thorn about her

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Though I have never heard this song, I liked the lyrics very much indeed, and I had a go at polishing Nikolas' translation a bit. Nikola, tell me where I misunderstood the Greek grammar too badly, ok?

Χτίζουν και γκρεμίζουν κάστρα

Χτίζουν και γκρεμίζουν κάστρα   |   They build and they demolish castles

σ' ένα γλέντι φοβερό   |   they are having a frightful lot of fun

για μια κόρη ξελογιάστρα   |   for a girl, a seductress

κι αν χαθεί που θα τη βρω   |   and if she is lost, where shall I find her?

Μου την άρπαξε η μοίρα   |   Destiny snatched her away from me

μια βραδιά στο χαλασμό   |   one night, in the commotion

θα τη βρω και θα την πάρω   |   I will find her and take her [back]

το 'χω βάλει πια σκοπό   |   I have set her as [my] goal

Δρόμο παίρνω δρόμο αφήνω   |  I take the road, I leave the road

σε βουνά και σε γκρεμό   |   through the mountains and through the ravine

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι   |   and still I live under the rule

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of the pain she feels

actually, it's rather nice for me to work on the translation of a song before hearing it. It means that when I do get to hear it, I understand it at once... a rare pleasure!

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I try again.

το 'χω βάλει πια σκοπό   |   I have set this as [my] goal

('this', not 'her', sorry).

and

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι   |   and still I live under the rule

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of the longing for her.

or is it

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of her own longing.

τυραννιέμαι=I am dominated, right?

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Sorry for earlier, I had to go so I didn't spend much time.

Thanks Geeske for taking time for this. It is very useful because you are a person who, if she understands the meaning, she can put the words. On the contrary, it may be sometimes easier for me to understand the meaning, because it is said in Greek, but unfortunately I can't put the words. Sometimes I am in front of a case that I need a word and the dictionary gives 7-8 different english words for it, with no examples so that I can understand what the right one for my purpose is.

When I attempt a translation, I am trying to keep it as direct as possible, sometimes by applying grammatical and syntax rules that don't exist. And I hope that even if the english is terrible, the meaning remains. So thank you once again.

For the specific song I will concentrate on our differences.

i) I say 'in an amazing wassail' and you say 'they are having a frightful lot of fun' and still, according to what the song says and means, the only thing I would change is 'in' with 'during' and of course the word wassail, if it is not used correctly for the word γλέντι.

ii) I say 'where to find her' and you say 'where shall I find her'. I would still use the first one, not that they are so different. The reason is that it is not a question that he makes but it is a concern.

iii) I say 'She was taken from me by destiny' and you say 'Destiny snatched her away from me' and I would definately prefer yours!

iv) I say 'tumult (?)' and you say 'commotion' for 'χαλασμός' and thanks, because it was one of those words I am referring to in my introduction.

v) I say 'I have set it as a goal' and you say 'I have set her as [my] goal' and I would still use the first one, because that is the meaning.

vi) I say 'A path I take, a path I leave' and you say 'I take the road, I leave the road' and I don't think it makes any difference. I used the word 'path' as being, according to my taste, more poetic than road.

vii) I say 'in mountains and in a steep (?)' and you say 'through the mountains and through the ravine' and I would use yours.

viii) I say

'but I am living to be tortured

by my thorn about her' and you say

'and still I live under the rule

of the pain she feels' and I would not change mine because that is what it means.

Sorry for going in such details but I appreciate the time Geeske spent!  :D

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Nikolas.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!

Because it's thanks to you, and the other friends who are so patient with me, that I still see my Greek growing noticeably week by week.

Also,

:D, very, very :confused:, because

a person who, if she understands the meaning, she can put the words
is about the best compliment that you can give a translator, and even though I don't deserve it, it's real nice to hear.

I think you didn't see my last post when you wrote yours, did you?

i) wassail - is incredibly archaic in English, a real dictionnary word; even after looking it up I'm not sure what it means. So it's not the one we want. What does γλέντι means, then? Some kind of party? A formal one, or a wild one, or what? I thought later that "terrific" is maybe the best translation for "φοβερός" because the roots of both is the word for "terror".

ii) it's ok by me to bend the rules of grammar, (I enjoy it) but only as long as the result still has a clear meaning; and I think "and if she is lost, where to find her" is just a bit too ungrammatical. It would have to be "..., where to find her" or "..., where shall I find her".

v) I made a mistake there; "her" is all wrong of course. The sentence "I have set this as [my] goal" is the same meaning as yours, just a bit more "englishly" put. (I hope).

vi) 'Path' is maybe more poetic, but it is also more specific: a path is small, narrow, tortuous and hard to find; road is more general. Which one do you want?

viii) My translation is indeed mistaken, I saw that once I looked.

τυραννιέμαι=I am dominated, ruled, tyrannised, right? So why tortured?

About the thorn, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but the English words you use don't express that meaning. If you see what I mean :confused: .

Καημός is that kind of aching longing you carry around with you like a thorn stuck in your flesh, right?

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι   |   and still I live under the rule (to be tyrannised)

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of (by) the longing for her.

or is it

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of (by) her own longing.

(I can't see what δίκο belongs to)

The more I look at this song, the more I like it.

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Geeske, I confirm that "ζω να τυραννιέμαι" means "I am living (or "I live") to be tortured". It is a very usual meaning for that verb in rebetika songs.

But is the song a rebetiko? It is very poetical anyway.

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I think you didn't see my last post when you wrote yours, did you?

Sorry Geeske, I have just seen it. I wrote in seperately, and then I paasted it, that is why.

i) Yes, I was quite sure that wassail would not be the right word, I just didn't want to make a description of it, that is why I 'rejected' yours. Γλέντι is some kind of party, probably including most or all of the following: eating, drinking and dancing. The most characteristic case that a γλέντι happens is after a wedding, traditionally in the village's square. The word itself has turkish roots and our friends from there may confirm that! :D Terrific or amazing or great make not much difference, so no problem, we can use terrific.

ii) "and if she is lost, where to find her" is probably ungrammatical. I don't know how it came to my mind but I think it is right and native English use it. Imagine it alone. Where to find her? It sounds as a concern. I will not insist, however.

vi) Path or road is ok for me, no problem.

viii) τυραννιέμαι=I am dominated, ruled, tyrannised, right? So why tortured?

Not so right. Τυραννίδα is an ancient political system where one person rules in, historically proved (ancient Athens), a dictatorial way. This person was called τύραννος. That is where it comes from. Today that this system no longer exists, the word is always used metaphorically. Τυραννιέμαι means I am tortured. That is why... :confused:

As for the word thorn, I used it because it was the only one that the dictionary gave for καημός. Καημός comes from καίγομαι which means I am in fire. It might refer to pains, but more it has to do with a desire. As in our case. If thorn in english is something different, I don't know.

στο δικό της τον καημό   |   of (by) her own longing.

(I can't see what δίκο belongs to)

I can see that it is confusing. It says δικό της but the καημός is mine. It is wrong, strictly examined, but it means that I have a καημό, not she.

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hehehe, we are getting somewhere!

(I don't know where, exactly, but anyway :D )

i) σ' ένα γλέντι φοβερό   |   in a terrific revelry

I went through the Thesaurus and unless we leave the Greek word, this is the best English has to offer.

viii) This point shows the limits of dictionnaries.

For τυραννω mine says: 1. tyrannize, oppress, domineer, bully. 2. torment, harass, pester.

and since I know the word only from τα φαντάσματα where it means exactly tyrannize or dominate...

For καημός it says: 1. longing, yearning / 2. the blues, as in 'to have a fit of the blues' / 3. μεγάλος καημός, a thorn in one's side. (the normal meaning of 'thorn' is the part of the rose you prick your finger on)

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι στο δικό της τον καημό

and still I live to be tortured (or ruled) by the longing for (or at, or about, or to?) her ??

I still don't get the syntax, how irritating! that σε is almost as bad as να , it can mean too many things. Help?

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For τυραννω mine says: 1. tyrannize, oppress, domineer, bully. 2. torment, harass, pester.

and since I know the word only from τα φαντάσματα where it means exactly tyrannize or dominate...

Actually, even in this case it means 'tortured' and whenever you see it used in Greek, it means the same. Τυραννίδα is not used literally today, except in History books. Literally, it is a historical term only. Otherwise it means torture.-

I still don't get the syntax, how irritating! that σε is almost as bad as να , it can mean too many things. Help?

Which 'σε' are you talking about?

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Which 'σε' are you talking about?

κι όμως ζω να τυραννιέμαι στο δικό της τον καημό

στο = σε το ?

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I hope you mean prEposition... and I'm still stumped. I can see what every word in the sentence is doing, except στο δικό της . Grrrrrr... I'll get it! I'll get it! Some day I'll get it, if it takes ten years!!!

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Geeske, yes, I meant preposition...  :music:

As for the rest, if you recheck my post above, according to my opinion, this part is wrong, striclty examined. So there may be no reason to justify something that is wrong  :)

Unless I understand it wrong, of course.

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