After having looked at a few thingummy-trees, let's explore some more of Durdane vegetation.


The Roguskhoi had retired into the Great Salt Bog, a place of black ooze, rust-colored ponds, occasional islands overgrown with coral trees, other islands of sand rising stark and bare, pale green reeds, snake-grass, black limberleaf.


Les Roguskhos s'étaient retirés dans la Grande Palude, un lieu de bourbe noire, d'étangs couleur de rouille, avec quelques îles couvertes de coraliers, d'autres îles de sable nues et stériles, des roselières vert pâle, des touffes d'ophidule et de follefeuille noire.

[The Brave Free Men]

* coral trees => coraliers
Already noted in another post. A classic way to transpose into one word only, to avoid the tedious and not very authentic arbre corail or arbre-corail (which is what PT, the Previous Translator, did).

* pale green reeds => roselières verts pale
This roselires is what PT came up with. It's not an invented word, it's a clever way of saying reeds (roseaux, in French) by using instead a fairly unusual word to describe a large patch of reeds. Well done.

* snake-grass => ophidule
I used as a root the word ophidien, i.e. pertaining to snakes (in English, ophidian), with the ending "ule" because it sounds nice, and matches the following word.  By adding the word touffes (clumps), I make sure the French reader will identify ophidules as something vegetal.
Note that PT had simply written des herbes-aux-serpents, a literal translation of snake-grass, very banal, very trite.

* limberleaf => follefeuille
This is PTs invention, it's good. Here's an example of what I call reverse engineering, a special pleasure when reviewing someone else's translation: trying to work out why a certain transposition was made. This one is fairly simple to decipher. limber must have evoked supple, a leaf that sways easily, so the adjective folle (feminine of fou) must have come to mind as in herbe folle, wild grass. And PT came up with follefeuille, wild leaf. It's a nice transposition, since it kept an alliterative effect on the f , where the original had a similar alliteration on the l.

(As to the translation of the Great Salt Bog, I'll deal with that in another post, dedicated to geographical names)


patches of white and black rain-forest stood like islands on a sea of saw-grass. As they traveled south the jungles grew darker and denser, the saw-grass showed patches of rot, and presently gave way to banks of blue-white fleshmolt.
des portions de forêt ombrophile noire et blanche se dressaient comme des îles sur un océan d'herbe égoïne. A mesure qu'ils descendaient vers le sud, les jungles se faisaient plus sombres et plus denses, l'égoïne pourrissait par endroits et laissa bientôt la place à des bancs de chairmolle blanc-bleu.

They wore wide-brimmed hats of bleached saw-grass cord
Ils portaient un chapeau à large bord en égoïne blanchie et filée en cordelette,

Etzwane, turning on his heel, went to where Casallo lounged beside the Iridixn, studying a blade of saw-grass.
Tournant les talons, Etzwane alla rejoindre Casallo qui, mollement étendu à côté de l'Iridixn, contemplait un brin d'herbe égoïne.

They rode on in silence: out of the shag-bark forest, across the saw-grass meadow, now silent and melancholy in the twilight.
Ils continuèrent de rouler en silence, sortant du bois de noyers pour traverser la prairie d'égoïne, maintenant silencieuse et mlancolique dans le crépuscule.

[The Brave Free Men, all]

* saw-grass => égoïne

PT had translated into the banal and literal herbe-scie. I thought of herbe égoïne, and égoïne for short, because scie égoïne is a specific type of saw, where égoïne can be both an adjective and a substantive. It sounds really nice

* fleshmolt => chairmolle

PT had misread molt, thinking it was melt, and had come up with cherfondu (phonetically chair fondue, melted flesh). Moreover, PT put it in the plural, as if those were individual plants. Personally, I see fleshmolt as a kind of moss. The act of molting or moulting is called mue, in French, while flesh is chair, but chairmue doesn't convey anything. So, I made a derivation with molle, the feminine of mou (soft) regaining phonetically an ending thats similar to the original, chairmolle. It also evokes something rather spongy

* shag-bark => bois de noyers

I followed PT on this. Those shag-bark trees are a kind of grey walnut trees (noyers, in French)

Gray-green stoneflower grew in festoons down the foundation walls
Des litholianes gris-vert accrochaient leurs guirlandes le long des murs de fondation

[The Brave Free Men]

* stoneflower => des litholianes

PT came up with that one, using the Greek prefix lithos for stone (aerolith, neolithic, etc.), and the word liane (creeper, liana) because of the festoons, no doubt. We lose the flowers, or at least they're not explicit. I considered adding them in the sentence, for instance :
Des litholianes gris-vert accrochaient leurs guirlandes de fleurs le long des murs de fondation
but that's a bit overdoing it.

Now, this lithos prefix having been used, I had to find something else when I came upon another rocky plant in The Brave Free Men:

an irregular flat area about a half-mile in diameter, carpeted with scrub and blue rock-weed.
un terrain plat formant un cirque irrégulier d'environ huit cents mètres de diamètre, tapissé de broussailles et de rochette bleue.

* rock-weed => rochette

PT had been satisfied with a literal translation, herbe-au-roc. I prefer rochette, in particular since it's close to the name for a kind of lettuce, la roquette, very popular in Italy under the name roquetta. Now, should you find in a French text the word lance-roquette(s), dont be misled, its not about a lettuce-launcher

All right, enough for now... I'll write a few other posts later (I have more than 450 translation notes on Durdane so far, and still going strong ) I plan to talk about geographical transpositions soon. And believe me, in Durdane, there are lots and lots of place-names to deal with !

[upped after correction of typographical anomalies introduced by the Yuku move]

Last Edited By: axolotl Oct 11 12 2:16 AM. Edited 1 time.