September 6, 2017 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Macedonian ‘Moby-Dick’ Translator Ognen Čemerski, 42, Was a Meticulous Linguist and Engaged Educator, passed away last month. - "By far the biggest challenge faced by Čemerski was the lack of Macedonian vocabulary for everyday terms used by American sailors to designate parts of the ships, which had become commonplace words in the English language."

Graceland University Humanities podcast - Ognen Čemerski


Отец Мепл стана и со благогласие на ненаметлив авторитет им повела на раштрканите луѓе да се збијат: „Десни кораб налево, леви кораб надесно! Средеброда! Средеброда!“
Tивко меѓу клупите забаботија тешки морнарски чизми и зашушкаа женски чевли, та сè одново стивна и секое око во проповедникот се впери.
Подзастана малку; па клекна во прамецот проповедалнички, ги прекрсти долгите темни раце преку гради, внебеси заклопени очи и замолитви набожна молитва толку длабоко, небаре на дно море клекнал да се моли.
Throughout his life, Čemerski drew inspiration and promoted the legacies of the various struggles for freedom in the past, both local and global, in particular the World War II anti-fascist movement. For instance, the poster on his chest pictured in the photo at the top of this post references the last words of a teacher during the 1941 Kragujevac massacre, while his pose references the iconic move of Yugoslav hero Stjepan Filipović. He channeled some of his concerns through witty articles about the process of translation and the interplay between language and society.
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the referenced Filipovic pose, taken right before that guy was executed by actual Nazis: .

The referenced poster is a sheet of paper pinned to the translator's shirt (not quite as dramatic), and I didn't see the connection to the pose, although given the Serbian turn toward chauvinism 20 years ago, it must have been risky indeed.

That's how serious intellectuals do it.
posted by notyou at 10:26 PM on September 6, 2017

Ugh. Sorry for the Serbian/Macedonian screwup there. I think the point regarding that guy's courage stands.
posted by notyou at 10:29 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

If your translation of Moby Dick is an easy read, you haven't translated it right.
posted by Segundus at 2:31 AM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by allthinky at 4:54 AM on September 7, 2017

The role of language and reading is IMHO different in the region compared to North America. I was schooled in both (though not Macedonia, but a different Southern Slavic country), and the meticulous translations aren't generally about dumbing down but about the beauty of language. Accessibility means that I didn't encounter classist divides of readers vs non-readers until I moved to NA.

posted by A hidden well at 5:16 AM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by Cash4Lead at 10:25 AM on September 7, 2017

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