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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Spider and the Fly verses The Fly and the Spider

B"H as you know we are working very hard on a most accurate translation of Rabbainu's stories, which we will be publishing at a rock bottom price B"H. Translating can be very frustrating. Just now I was working on Rabbainu's story of the Spider and the Fly and I was discussing some of the translating issues with an Israeli friend who knows a little English, but can't read it. So he asks me how I translated the title to the story. Being that I still was in middle of the story I hadn't even addressed the title yet, so I took a look at what the previous translator rendered it: "The Spider and the Fly". This seemed to me a terrible deviation, because in the original Hebrew the title is "{a story} of a Fly and a Spider" so for what purpose did the translator change the order, putting the Spider before the fly. So here my Israeli friend asserts that in English that is the correct way of expressing this, but I, born and bred on English wasn't so sure about that. So we google it. "The Spider and the Fly" gets 264,000 hits, where as "The Fly and the Spider" only gets less than a tenth of that, 26,100! this number is negligible for a google search (reminiscent of the early days when we first started Nanach on the internet) - not to mention that some of those are based on former translations of Rabbi Nachman's story! So B"H I am opting to put the Spider before the Fly. We thought about putting it to a test, which ever we see first a spider or a fly, so far B"H I haven't seen either.


Anonymous said...

this has been confirmed to be stephens new youtube page!

nissim said...

Our friend R. Yaakov wrote:

I think that the order was changed in translation simply because it sounds better in English (come into my parlor said the spider to the fly...). You are probably right that they should not have changed from the original. OTOH, the names of the stories do vary from edition to edition, so apparently it was understood that the names did not have the same exactness as the stories themselves.

Nissim adds:
And why should popularity in Google be the judge, right?