23 May 2011

A preposterous translation by doctor Jensma

(this was posted on the UM-forum on 28 april 2011)

Original text in OLB
[012/27] Tex Frya's #7

The translations by Ottema, Overwijn and De Heer are all similar and acceptable, general meaning:
Anyone who robs another's freedom,
even if the other owes him,
'deserves to be severely humiliated'
(litterally: "must I let fare on the child-leash of a slave-girl")

[Ottema (1876) p.21]
Een iegelijk die een ander van zijne vrijheid berooft,
al ware de ander hem schuldig,
dien moet ik aan den leiband eener slavin laten voeren

[Overwijn (1951)]
Een ieder, die een ander van zijn vrijheid berooft,
al heeft de ander aan hem een verplichting,
die moet ik aan de leiband van een slavin laten rondlopen.

[De Heer (2008) p.21]
Iedereen die een ander van zijn vrijheid berooft,
al is die ander hem schuldig,
moet ik aan de kinderband van een slavin voeren laten.

Sandbach has totally missed the point as Fryans didn't have slaves, not even people who deserve punishment.
If any man shall deprive another,
even his debtor, of his liberty,
let him be to you as a vile slave

But Friesland's official OLB-authority prof.dr. Jensma came up with a most preposterous translation:
[Jensma (2006) p.95]
Alleman die een ander van zijn vrijheid berooft,
al ware de ander hem schuldig,
moet ik in de baarmoeder van een slavin laten voeren.

The third line translated:
I must have him be lead into the womb of a slave-girl

His reasoning is this:

The 19th century creators of the OLB must have used dictionaries of their time.

He found the word "berntam" in two sources:

- Proeve van een Friesch en Nederlandsch woordenboek, by M. Hettema (1832) => "baarmoeder" (womb)
- Altfriesisches Wörterbuch, (Frisian-German) by Karl von Richthofen (1840) = > "Kinderzeugung" (child-making!)

In his footnote Jensma clarifies: "Ottema translates "leiband" (leash), appearantly based on the Newfrisian non-existing combination 'berne-team' (child-leash)."

Dutch also knows the oldfashioned word "toom", meaning "leash", mostly used in "tomeloos" (= bandeloos); reckless, wild, without constraints. The word also lives forth in "tam" (tame) and "temmen" (to tame).

Using logic and common reasoning, I think that both Hettema and von Richthofen were wrong, but I would like to know their sources.

Bern-tam or BÀRN.TAM = child-leash makes much more sense, but I have also considered "navel-string" (umbilical), in the context of womb.

It also shows that the supposed hoaxers did not use any of the existing dictionaries (for this), as Jensma's translation is complete and utter nonsense (or can anyone explain the logic to me?).

~ ~ ~

If a student with a bizarre sense of humor would have suggested this, I might have smiled about it, but Jensma's book was partly financed by Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (union for Dutch literature) te Leiden and Het Nederlands Literair Productie- en Vertalingsfonds (the Dutch fund for production and translation of literature) in Amsterdam.

May it be clear that the Netherlands suffer from an inflation of academic titles.

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