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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Friday April 07, 2006
07:27 PM

Hot Esperanto Action

[ #29256 ]
Dear Log,

As part of my continuing attention toward languages trying desperately to cling to life and reality (or what passes for those nowadays), I recently stumbled on a little Esperanto reading book called Internacia Legolibro: Diverslandoj Autoroj published in 1930.

I thumbed thru it and found it mostly uninteresting, until I landed on a short story called "[gibberish word] in 1999". Ooh, I thought, future past! Super-grooooovy!

So I scanned it in and started translating it from crazy moontalk into English.

It's just a bit over eight small pages, but I was having such a hard time with Esperanto's morphology (I call it Exasperanto!!!) that I gave up, about a page and a half into it.

What follows is my abortive and hopefully not too inaccurate translation; anyone wanting to continue with it (hopefully aided by a command of Esperanto no worse than my ineptness with it) can get the page scans over there. They're about two megs altogether. I'll turn on comments here, so that if anyone manages a fuller translation, they can link to it from a comment. Only then will we know how the story continues -- what other glimpses of past future history are there? Does the video-tele-phone conversation that my translation ends with devolve into panting Esperanto cybersex??? I don't know!


Marriage in the year 1999

A fantasy-sketch of the future, by Petro Stojan (Rumanian)

This morning, Ralf Leo Tubson turns twenty; and according to the law of the Scandinavian Republic, he can stay unmarried only another three days - the final deadline, after which the law punishes severely and irrevocably.

As in all the civilized world, here in the Scandinavian Republic (formed in 1946 by the merger of the three countries: Sweden, Norway, and Finland), the law requires the marriage of every citizen by the age of 25. After this time and a three day grace period, the offending bachelor is then considered a criminal, against whom the most serious of police tactics are brought to bear.

"Now let marriage be my concern" Tubson says to himself, picking up a new copy of the Official Marriageworks [?] Bulletin, published in international language, in Budapest, the well known center of matchmakers [lit. marriage-marketplaces? marriage-fairs?].

172 cm tall, blond, and narrow-shouldered, Tubson sees the column for oaverage-height attractive dark available women [fiancxemulinoj?] and looks it over for attractive ones.

Tubson underlines three names and sends a message by wireless speaker. Some minutes later, responses arrive: tele-meetings with the three available women are precisely arranged for different times tomorrow. A tele-meeting consists of remote wireless synchronized audio and video, achieved by a simple device that saves a great deal of time formerly spent travelling with a danger of accidents.

The next morning, Tubson tele-meets on his own with an available Spanish woman by the name of Pepita Lopez.

"Hello! Greetings, Ms. Lopez..."

"Greetings to you, Mister Tubson."

And in front of each, from them, a color picture appears, on the little movable screen: a speaking face next to a loudspeaker [lit. sound-funnel], part of the body, nearly [almost? around?] furniture. [...]

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  • Not a translation, because although I can read the Esperanto and can write English, I don't think I could translate this.

    However, to understand such complex Esperanto, I had to read slowly, and to force myself to do so, I usually type in what I read.

    Here's my non-spellchecked transcription of the story. It's better compression than JPEG even.

    10. EDZIGXO EN LA JARO 1999.

    Fantazia skizo pri estonteco, de Petro Stojan, Rumanujo

    Hodiaux matene Ralf Leo Tubson atingis sian dudekkvinan jaron, kaj laux la legxaro de
    • Juerd, do I have your permission to use this text as a starting point for a translation to English?

      I'm also a bit curious as to why you think that you are not able to translate the text.

      • You have my permission, but I do not think that my permission is relevant. I'm not the author of this piece, and copied the work without any permission. I have no idea how old the story is, and if it is copyrighted.

        I don't think I could translate this because I lack a broad English vocabulary, and am not familiar enough with idiomatic English (e.g. would "half a century" or "fifty years" be more appropriate for "duonjarcento"?). I could translate it literally, but repeating "device to meet remotely" or "wom
        • Ok, translation is underway [], and even almost finished. I came to the same conclusion as you did, Juerd, about the permission being irrelevant. Nonetheless, your transcription has been a great help.

          Translating the story has indeed posed a few challenges at times. (For example I replaced TorgoX's a color picture appears, on the little movable screen with an animated color picture appeared on a little screen, not because I'm sure it's right, but because I think it makes more sense.)

          TorgoX, thank you for di