Sunday, July 23, 2006

Foucault's Pendulum

Every now and then someone on the ZBB will come along with a bright idea, say a translation exercise. "I can do that", I think, and off I go.

This time someone suggested translating the first four paragraphs of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. Bastards. It's taken me the best part of 4 days, but here are the first four paragraphs in Gevey:



Yuu citwhaj gluefathe ta'skesnisuulhs telaa te.

Laebuu kuun oucizhuu li seduu citwanti blodrateh ska'suatismuuksim zhek suusyuu jaevmizhuu daebouwg les seduu boisendou cozheh stieshtuu daesovizhuu les seduu shaamanti ta'kuubz.

Sekate naslateh koiy te - ulgaarh galshone klov waplate koiy, yuu kon draav ghep yuu kon giejohb vae'hizhuu les seduu butsanti. Sekate te evd nonhuu onizhuu ghep traviejuu daebwuun al sievwuu khmeden yuu kon acituuwhk les seduu ristanti. Sievwuu tuzaa zhek as suu tsiethanti cisa'zdan'hales apuu as suu bliedronti cisa'zdanfoeddhes - yuu traviej al yuu trafoedadh laes frouconuunesh as shuu moufrhanti kuu. Sliezmizmuu askrhanizhuu yuu traviejizhuu skesk cat yo brants acituuwhk rhuut laeb les seduu noisoghtuumanti di'jetohpuuks ta'jetohpuugz vih'taelhgohpuuksesh antsskesaevduush: onistrhuu noezd boiseefuu; drasistrhuu noest taelhgohpuum togrhuun; besistrhuu noezd beecuu onizhuu sievwuun khmeden; vilistrhatsiethuu noest nonhuu onizhuu; sievwistrhuu savaevduu noest froucono.

Pits sekate te evd batuu uhn snondomuu gwoizizhuu yuush kuun agizehr cisyuu togrhebesuu les seduu primanti kosh cuu righisem suusyuu gripent polate al sosh tsiethate ta'righismuubz gles'laebuus, broisuu yuu giejohp les suu shmigrhonti. Batuu telaa yuu citwhajuun zgakfyeets na seduu liscanti, rhuutapuu yuu kuun akhnafehr se seduu friethonti; mikas baluu shonaa iscuu jarhizhuu cofehrh les suu boisendou modo'daebwuuks taelhgohpmarhizhuu zheks nana seg suu pruestanti al zhekteh yuu erodrisem al yuu abrol nana suu stiganti brois skas'sedhuu giejendou laes dezde'skesuulhs kuu.


Transliteration of the Gevey:
I saw the pendulum at that moment.

Its heavy ball swung to-and-fro in equal moments of time, hung from a long wire that the ceiling of the temple hugged tight to itself.

I knew it immediately - although anyone could have sensed it, its magic built from its uncomplicated motion. I knew the square root of the length of the wire and the number pi governed its period. That number which hides from the idiot but performs for an intelligent person - it binds the circumference and diameter of all possibe circles. An arcane conspiracy determined the timelength for each swing of the sphere from stillness to stillness between the most timeless of measures: the one-ness of the point of suspension; the two-ness of the dimension's measurements; the three-ness of pi's first digit; the hidden four-ness of the square root; the unnumbered perfection of the circle.

I also knew that a magnetic driver centred under the floor directed a cylinder hidden in the heart of the sphere, thus assuring continual motion. This engine did not frustrate the laws of the Pendulum, but rather permitted its manifestation; for any object hanging from a weightless and unstretchable wire inside a great space will oscillate for all time.


Original (English) text:
That was when I saw the Pendulum.

The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty.

I knew - but anyone could have sensed it in the magic of that serene breathing - that the period was governed by the square root of the length of the wire and by pi, that number which, however irrational to sublunar minds, through a higher rationality binds the circumference and diameter of all possible circles. The time it took the sphere to swing from end to end was determined by an arcane conspiracy between the most timeless of measures: the singularity of the point of suspension, the duality of the plane's dimensions, the triadic beginning of pi, the secret quadratic nature of the root and the unnumbered perfection of the circle itself.

I also knew that a magnetic device centred in the floor beneath issued its command to a cylinder hidden in the heart of the sphere, thus assuring continual motion. This device, far from interfering with the law of the Pendulum, in fact permitted its manifestation, for in a vacuum any object hanging from a weightless and unstretchable wire free of air resistance and friction will oscillate for eternity.

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