The Translators' Journal #2 — Cúigí Hallownest

The Dialects of the Hallownest creatures, The trouble in translating "drift" to Irish and a Eureka moment


Welcome (or indeed, welcome back) to the Gaeilge Chun Cinn newsletter. This being our second edition, we can now proudly state that we have doubled our output since our last publication. Cause for celebration? Perhaps.

In this post, we talk about our ongoing work with Hollow Knight, which has taken an interesting turn in the last couple of weeks. Turning to our translation tips and insights, Cormac has compiled two articles on the nuance of drifting and falling in Irish, and one of our less experienced translators, Gary, discusses a minor eureka moment he had in his language-learning journey.

As will always be the case, at the bottom of this post you will find five English sentences to test your translation skills. Our own solutions for last week’s problems are also given. Have a bash, and if you’re thirsty for more why not email us and help with our work? We’re always looking for more translators, be it beginners or veterans.

Updates on our Projects

Article 1 - The challenge in translating "drift" to Irish

Article 2 - Bás de thairne - To fall in defeat to one's nail

Article 3 - As we have your attention

Translations for the Reader

Below are five sentences for you to try your hand at. These all come from our Hollow Knight project and were a ton of fun to work on. We’ll post our own translations in the next edition. Good luck!

  1. Found only in deep, dark places. Has never been observed to eat or drink anything.
  2. Fragments of void taking the shape of sharp, thrashing tendrils.
  3. Simple flying creature protected by a spikey shell.*
  4. Flying predator that pursues its prey relentlessly.
  5. The light, forgotten.

* Note that in this context, a “creature” is usually an insect, arachnid, or another form of creepy-crawly.

Translations for the Previous Edition

Here are our translations for the last newsletter’s sentences. It’s important to emphasize that there is no one truly correct answer when it comes to translation. This is just how we chose to do it. If you have come up with a different approach you think fits better, feel free to reach out to us. Or, even better, come work with us!

  1. Bheifeá i d’amadán dá mbuailfeadh planda bob ort. [You really would have to be a fool to be tricked by a plant.]
  2. Is deacair iad a fheiceáil mar go ropann isteach ‘s amach ón dorchadas. Bí ar d’aireachas dá súile lonracha. [They can be hard to spot as they flitter in and out of the darkness. Watch for their glowing eyes.]
  3. Nuair a thugann siad fogha fút, ná tagadh anbhá ort. Seas an fód, agus aisionsaigh agus iad ag teannadh leat. [When they lunge at you, don’t panic. Stand your ground, and strike back as they come close.]
  4. Is cosúil go bhfuil a bhfuinneamh gan teorainn! An itheann siad riamh? An stadann siad ariamh le haghaidh néal codalta nó ceana? [It seems like their energy is limitless! Do they ever stop to sleep, or eat, or love?]
  5. Go dtreoraí d’iarrachtaí chun áite fiúntaí thú. [May your efforts lead you somewhere worthy.]

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English (UK)