Friday, October 23, 2009

A Multitude of Mighty Fortresses: Let's Translate Together!

OK, so one article I read about this song is that it is notoriously difficult to translate into English.  Apparently, there are over 100 versions floating around out there.

So, let's go back to the drawing board.  My German is rusty, but I will give it a try.  Those of you who well-versed in German, feel free to leave corrections in the comment box.  I am looking for a literal translation here, so there is no need to try to crunch the translation into the meter.

Also, if this German version is not the one that the Lutheran Hymnal Project used for LSB, feel free to drop the correct one in the comment box as well.

Here we go!

Line 1:
Ein' feste Burg is unser Gott,
A mighty fortress is our God,

Line 2:
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen;
A good defense and weapon;

Line 3:
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
He helps us free from every need

Line 4:
Die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
That has now affected us.

Line 5:
Der alt' boese Feind,
The old wicked Foe,

Line 6:
Mit Ernst er's jetzt meint
With seriousness he has now ______

Line 7:
Gross' Macht und viel List
Great power and much craftiness

Line 8:
Sein' grauseam' Ruestung ist,
His armor is cruel,

Line 9:
Auf Erd' is nicht sein gleichen.
His equal is not on earth.

As you can see, Line 6 was particularly challenging.

Again, leave any corrections or clarifications in the comment section, and a new literal translation will be used to compare other English translation.

Special thanks to Google Translator and for making this work fairly easy, and to hymntime for providing the German text.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Differing opinions are welcome! Please keep comments on an academic level. Lively discussions and alternate opinions are productive, arguments and accusations are not.

Please leave a name or pseudonym at the end of your comment so the conversation can continue. Alternately, you can log in using Yahoo, AOL/AIM, Google, Netlog, or Open ID on any comment page.

Comment Moderation is on to ensure that blog author reads each comment. The goal is to read and reply to each comment.

Note: you may have to hit "Preview" first and then "Post."