Re: Gebelin online in English

#2
Thanks, Steve. The translation seems to be by someone whose native language is French: he or she does not recognize when a literal translation is awkward, misleading, the wrong choice (e.g. "Hangman" for "Pendu"), or makes no sense in English.

But between it and what Google Translate produces (sometimes actually more accurate and readable than what this person has produced), someone ignorant of French could probably make out the meaning. The French is at
http://www.letarot.com/pages-vrac/pages ... belin.html.

Donald Tyson's old translation is still online, at https://web.archive.org/web/20111004232 ... belin.html. And in print, absurdly expensive, there is J. Karlin's Rhapsodies of the Bizarre. They are all about equally reliable, which is to say not very.

Tarotpedia once had a good translation. I think it's still in some archive, but I don't have the computer savvy to find it. It should be posted here. If nobody can find it, I suppose someday I can correct this new one (or you can), which would be easier than starting from scratch. But I hate to spend time doing something that has already been done well.

Re: Gebelin online in English

#3
mikeh wrote:
23 Jun 2019, 04:01
Tarotpedia once had a good translation. I think it's still in some archive, but I don't have the computer savvy to find it. It should be posted here. If nobody can find it, I suppose someday I can correct this new one (or you can), which would be easier than starting from scratch. But I hate to spend time doing something that has already been done well.
Do you mean this one?: https://web.archive.org/web/20160730161 ... Des_Tarots

Re: Gebelin online in English

#4
Wonderful, Ludophone. It is a very careful translation, very few errors, by far the best. It, too, seems to be done by someone whose native language is French, I would guess Jean-Michele David. It often does not distinguish between "jeu" meaning "game" and the same word meaning "pack"; English uses two words where French has just one. Also, sometimes he puts in the definite article ("the") present in French where in English it would be omitted. Also, he translates "Tarots" as "Tarots" when it should be the singular "Tarot" in English. Likewise "Atous" as "Atouts" when we would say "Trumps". Also, he mostly translates the "on" before a verb as "one" where idiomatic English would use the passive voice. But these are fine points, and often a matter of taste rather than being errors. It is easy enough for the reader to understand.

Perhaps this is the place to discuss other errors. Here is what I have seen.

For "Cela se peut; quel est-il?.. Le Jeu des Tarots... J'ai eu occasion de le voir étant fort jeune..." he has"That may be; which is it?.. The game of the Tarots... I had occasion to see it I was extremely young," I would suggest "Is that possible;? What is it? The game of Tarot... I had occasion to see it [when] I was very young..." Or perhaps "It is possible. ..." But in context is seems that it is a question, as Sable Feathers makes it, because in the previous sentence Gebelin says it was a game you will not know.

Then in the next sentence the verb is "étoit ", meaning "was" rather than "is".

Another error is with "sans qu'on ait pensé à le faire disparoître." That is not "without anyone doing it harm." It seems to me that it would be more accurate to say "without anyone thinking to make it disappear." The preceding clause had to do with the willful destruction of documents in book-burnings.

I had forgotten that this translation is incomplete. I will look at the remainder in the Sable Feathers translation to see how good it is and perhaps post a corrected version. I hope that the Tarotpedia version will remain accessible. I am a little disturbed that it is in an archive, which Google doesn't bring up. Perhaps I will put it in a blog, but with enough minor changes in grammar or wording that it can count as improving rather than stealing.

Now I seem to remember that the de Mellet essay was also translated on Tarotpedia. Is that possible?

Added: another error, I think, although all the translations make it (copying each other?). He renders " l'Amour les perce de ses traits" as "Cupid lines up his arrow. " Surely the meaning is "Love pierces them with his traits."

Another error: he translates "se livrer aux Sciences spéculatives ou s'Hermetiser, est presque une seule & même chose." as "to devote oneself to speculative sciences or to become a Hermit is almost one & the same thing." It should be "to devote oneself to the speculative Sciences or to Hermitize oneself is one and the same thing." He may be making a play on words, Hermetic and hermit.

Another error. For "on voit une Ecrevisse ou Cancer" he has "one sees a crayfish or Cancer". It should be "one sees a Crayfish or Crab."

Typos: "Typhoon" for "Typhon". "cut of his head" for "cut off his head".

Finally, "l'Hiver, où l'on se réunit en société" is "Winter, when one reunites [with others] in society", not "Winter, when one gathers together."

Re: Gebelin online in English

#6
Thanks again, Ludophone.

Reading the Sable Feathers translation, I see that it, too, is incomplete, without saying that it is. It stops with Article V, leaving a rather large amount untranslated, including all the material on cartomancy. Fortunately we have the French and Tyson's translation online, as well as Karlin's book.

In the part of Gebelin's essay that Sable Feathers does translate, beyond Article I on the 22 trumps, there are not many errors, and they mostly are minor. At least it does not make the mistake of translating"rien" as "anything" (for what the Fool can take), as Tyson did. Some of these errors are obvious, even trivial, but some aren't. I am listing them here so that the translation can be corrected. I will leave a message to that effect on the site once I have waited a bit for comments here. (I am not bothering with the translation of Article I; there Tarotpedia's is the only one worth the time to correct.)

Here are the errors I see, disregarding some awkwardnesses:

"we call them Sword, Cups, Baton, Coin" should be "we call them Sword, Cup, Baton, Coin."Or else, preferably but less literally, make them all plural, as is done in the rest of the section.

"surmounted of a crown" should be "surmounted by a crown."

"Ace of Sticks" should be "Ace of Batons".

"il a l'air d'un Château" is not "it resembles a Castle." Cups and goblets do not resemble castles. I think it should be "it has the atmosphere of a Chateau".

"Etats" is not "casts" (or even "castes") but "Estates".

Then there is:
qu'il étoit devenu chez eux une formule à laquelle ils ramenoient les élémens de toutes les Sciences

which is not
it became for them a formula to which they brought back the elements of all the Sciences.
but
it became for them a formula by which they reduced the elements of all the Sciences.

As the translator points out, it is a reference to the Seven Liberal Arts.

Another is:
de réduire excessivement ce Jeu en leur faveur
which is not
to reduce this Game in their favor
but
to reduce this Game excessively in their favor.


"Jouer de coupes" is "cups player", not "Magician".

"sa baguette de Jacob ou sa verge des Mages is not "divining rod or Magus Rod" but "his rod of Jacob or his rod of the Mages."

"the reserve or the Dead" should be "the reserve or Mort [Dead hand]". It is a technical term.

"Tarots par excellence" is not "Tarots preeminently" but either "Tarots par excellence", preferably, or "Preeminent Tarots".

For "Atous-tarots", "Ace-tarots" is confusing, as they are not aces. It should be left as "Atous-Tarots."

Then there is
L'ensemble des XXI ou XXII Atous, les XXII Lettres de l'Alphabet Egyptien commun aux Hébreux & aux Orientaux, & qui servant de chiffres, sont nécesaires pour tenir compte de l'ensemble de tant de contrées."

This is not
The whole of the XXI or XXII Trumps, the XXII letters of the Egyptian Alphabet common to the Hebrews and [Sanskrit] serve as [deciphering] letters necessary for the use by so many [diverse] regions.
Better would be
The whole of the XXI or XXII Trumps, the XXII letters of the Egyptian Alphabet common to the Hebrews and the Orientals, and which serve as numbers, are necessary to keep accounts from one to another among so many regions.

Then there is the sentence,
Un Roi coupé, ou mort, 5 points pour celui qui coupe.
which is not
A cut King or a dead one, 5 points for the one who cuts.
This should be
A King that is taken, or mort [dead], 5 points for the one who takes it.
Again an expression of the game.

There is also
Il doit sur tout se faire des renonces, afin de sauver ses fortes Cartes en coupant celles de son adversaire.
This is not
We must also renege, to save the strong Cards while cutting those of our adversary.

It should be:
One must above all achieve renounces, so as to save the strong Cards while taking those of one's adversary.
Alternatively "make for oneself" for "se faire". A "renounce", I think, is when one is void in a suit.


There are a couple of sections I'm not sure about First:
Joue-t-on un Roi, n'a-t-on pas la Dame, on met le Fou, ce qui s'appelle excuse.
Sable Feathers has,
If we play a King, and we do not have the Queen, we use the Fool, that is called excus.
Of course in English the word is "excuse", and the "ce qui" should be translated "which", not "that". But what does this sentence mean? If we play the King, we can't also play the Fool in that trick, of course. If someone else played the King, and we didn't have the Queen, why would we play the Fool at all? I can only think that it has to do with sequences. To use the King in a sequence King-Queen-Knight we would have to have the Fool to put in the middle, as he said before that the Fool has no value in himself, but only in combination with other cards. But Gebelin has not said what sequences count, so I don't know.

Another obscure one is this:
4. Ecart de celui qui donne

Celui qui donne ne peut écarter ni Atous ni Rois; il se seroit trop beau Jeu, puisqu'il se sauveroit sans péril. Tout ce qu'on lui permer en faveur de sa primauté, c'est d'écarter une séquence: car elle compte, & elle peut lui former une renonce, ce qui est un double avantage.
Sable Feathers has:
Laying cards down for the dealer

The dealer cannot lay Kings or Trumps; it would be too easy, since he could save himself without peril. For being first, he is only allowed to lay a sequence: because it counts and could produce a renege which will be a double advantage.

Tyson has:
Variation for the one who deals.

The one who deals can draw aside neither atouts nor Kings; it is too beautiful a game, since it is savage without danger. All that is permitted him in favor of his primacy, it is to draw aside a sequence: because it counts, and it forces the other to give it up, it is a double advantage..

Karlin has:
Dealer discards

The dealer can discard neither Kings nor Atouts; it would make the game too easy, since he would be able to save himself without danger. all that one can permit him in favor of his primacy, is to discard a sequence, because it counts and enables him to form a renounce, which is a double advantage.
The interpretation turns on the meaning of "écarter". WordReference says that in tarot games it means "discard." The only time Gebelin has mentioned when the dealer discards is immediately after the deal. If so, the sentence would mean he cannot discard from his hand Kings or Trumps. It remains to understand why discarding such valuable cards would be to give him unfair advantage. My guess is that it would keep them from falling into another player's hands, since the dealer gets the three cards he discarded at the end of play. If so, Karlin's translation is right. So is Sable Feathers', except that the terminology is wrong, "lay" instead of "discard" and "renege" instead of "renounce".

Re: Gebelin online in English

#7
mikeh wrote:
23 Jun 2019, 04:01
Tarotpedia once had a good translation. I think it's still in some archive, but I don't have the computer savvy to find it. It should be posted here. If nobody can find it, I suppose someday I can correct this new one (or you can), which would be easier than starting from scratch. But I hate to spend time doing something that has already been done well.
That was a tidied up google translation* put up by me, which was quite a long time ago now and not very good at all, though I think I could make a better job of it now. I intended to go back to correct and complete it, but it is no longer accessible (unless JMD decides to make it so again). I also put up a tidied up google translation of Mellet too. I missed some things when tidying up, for example use of 'the' where it would not be used in English, and changing 'it, she or he' as appropriate, etc. After I had put it up Ross pointed me in the direction of Tyson's translation - I noticed it contained some of the same errors in use of articles and pronouns that the google translation also made (at that time - it is improved somewhat now), so wondered if Tyson had perhaps made use of some computer translation utility too, though I think his translation was before google translate was available.


*Edited to add: I see from the discussion page of the Mellet essay, as well as google I also made use of Alta Vista/Babel:


"Have added a computer generated translation as a make do until such time as a proper translation can be made. The nature of the method of translation is bound to incorporate some errors so I urge caution in using it as a reference. Because of the archaic French many words and phrases were not translatable by babel/alta vista and I have had to research some words/phrases and in others made a guess. I have been aided in translation in reference to partial translations in printed works, especially 'A Wicked Pack of Cards' by Decker/Dummet, though only in identifying obscure words, I have followed the literal rendition of translation produced by alta vista/babel. Kwaw"

The discussion page for the Gebelin does not seem to be available on the way-back machine, but I'm pretty sure I made a note there too about the method of translation and 'use with caution' notice :D

That being said, the google/alta vista/babel translation at the time verged on being incomprehensible - it wasn't an easy task trying to 'tidy' it up and make sense of it! In trying to 'make sense of it' however, no doubt here and there I may have misinterpreted it.
mikeh wrote:
23 Jun 2019, 04:01
"Jouer de coupes" is "cups player", not "Magician".

"sa baguette de Jacob ou sa verge des Mages is not "divining rod or Magus Rod" but "his rod of Jacob or his rod of the Mages."
"The first of all the trumps going up, or the last one going down, is a Cup Player; we recognize him at his table covered with dice, cups, knives, balls, & c. To his Jacob's staff or rod of the Magi, to the ball he holds between his two fingers and which he will palm."

The baton or verge of Jacob [sometimes Aaron] could refer to several things:

1. An astronomical tool composed of two sliding rules used to measure heights and distances;

2. The three stars of Orion that form a straight line;

3. A water or treasure seekers divining rod {i.e., the forked hazel twig} - this is the interpretation that the above translator has gone for, rather than a literal one, it was most commonly used in reference to the divining rod;

4. The bateleurs baton [la baguette de l'escamoteur];

5. The yellow asphodel.

mikeh wrote:
24 Jun 2019, 11:11

"il a l'air d'un Château" is not "it resembles a Castle." Cups and goblets do not resemble castles. I think it should be "it has the atmosphere of a Chateau".
I think 'The Ace of Cups, it looks like a castle' or 'resembles a castle' is more correct here, it is in respect of the ace of cups in particular, not all the cups in general - and the Tarot de Marseille style ace of cups does look like a castle [l'As de Coupe: il a l'air d'un château;] . château I think here is correctly translated castle - and 'it has the air of' here means it has the aspect or appearance of.... So , 'it looks like...' or 'it resembles a...' or 'it has the appearance of a ...' I think would all be acceptable, as too possibly would be the more literal 'it has the air of a castle', as the expression has a similar meaning in English - in the sense of resembling or having the appearance of something.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Gebelin online in English

#8
Your comments on my comments are right completely.

I think it would be good if you tidied up those two Tarotpedia translations and posted them here or somewhere easily accessible. It would be a useful service. I think they are pretty good, except for the definite articles and such. But then what I compared it to was my own tidied up Google Translate version. (Google Translate is much better now.) It is indeed a literal translation, not going deeply into what is meant, i.e. like the "Verge de Jacob". Reading those words, I thought it referred to the rod of Jacob in the Bible, that made sheep give birth to speckled young. I didn't know about anything else. In translations of this kind, I think it is best to translate literally and add notes, rather than introduce interpretations. It removes ambiguities that should be there. It would be like translating "Get thee to a nunnery" as "Allez vous dans un bordel."

A strong point of the new translation you found is its links to web pages, although there could have been more.

Re: disposant du sort ?

#9
Re:
3. Pagad.
Le Joueur de gobelets est appellé Pagad dans le courant du Jeu. Ce nom qui ne ressemble à rien dans nos Langues Occidentales, est Oriental pur & très-bien choisi: Pag signifie en Orient, Chef, Maître, Seigneur: & Gad, la Fortune. En effet, il est représente comme disposant du sort avec sa baguette de Jacob ou sa verge des Mages.

3. Pagad.

The Cup Player is called Pagad in the course of the Game. This name, which is unlike anything in our Western Languages, is pure Oriental and very well chosen: Pag means in the East, Chief, Master, Lord: & Gad, Fortune. Indeed, he is represented as arranging/having lots /fate [or, casting a spell] with his staff of Jacob or his rod of the Magi.


For 'disposant du sort' Sable Feather has 'casting a spell', Tyson 'showing fate'.

In the context of the Pagad being a magician the Sable Feather's 'casting a spell' makes sense, but in context of Gebelin's description of Pagad as meaning 'Lord of Fortune', then I agree more with Tyson in reading 'sort' here more as fate, lots, luck, fortune than as spell... and 'disposant' means more along the lines of having or arranging something that 'casting' (which would be more usually 'jeter' with 'sort') any thoughts / suggestions?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Gebelin online in English

#10
mikeh wrote:
28 Jun 2019, 10:28
Your comments on my comments are right completely.

I think it would be good if you tidied up those two Tarotpedia translations and posted them here or somewhere easily accessible. It would be a useful service.
OK - I can do that - I will put it in a thread here where perhaps others will contribute corrections, amendments notes and links - and perhaps when we are satisfied with it you could also put it up on one of your blogs?

ps: I've been wondering what Gebelin was referring to in his mention of Horace:

Certe belle idée qu'Horace a si bien encadrée dans de l'or,
[It was a fine idea that Horace framed so well in gold,]

In relation to Gold I first think of his 'Golden Mean':

Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
sobrius aula.

Whoever values a golden mean
is safely free from the squalor
of a worn-out house, is soberly free from
an envious palace.

[Ode 2:10]


However, in relation to what he says about the fool reminds me more of his Satire Book II.7 lines 112-115, as it has been translated into English at least:

"Not even for an hour can you bear to be alone, nor can you advantageously apply your leisure time, but you endeavour, a fugitive and wanderer, to escape from yourself, now vainly seeking to banish remorse by wine, and now by sleep; but the gloomy companion presses on you, and pursues you as you fly."

There is also in his Satires several passages on the subject of all men being mad, especially in Satire 2:3, e.g.,

"The school and sect of Chrysippus deem every man mad, whom vicious folly or the ignorance of truth drives blindly forward. This definition takes in whole nations, this even great kings, the wise man [alone] excepted. Now learn, why all those, who have fixed the name of madman upon you, are as senseless as yourself."

"If an [aged person] with a long beard should take a delight to build baby-houses, to yoke mice to a go-cart, to play at odd and even, to ride upon a long cane, madness must be his motive. If reason shall evince, that to be in love is a more childish thing than these; and that there is no difference whether you play the same games in the dust as when three years old, or whine in anxiety for the love of a harlot: I beg to know, if you will act as the reformed Polemon did of old? Will you lay aside those ensigns of your disease, your rollers, your mantle, your mufflers; as he in his cups is said to have privately torn the chaplet from his neck, after he was corrected by the speech of his fasting master? When you offer apples to an angry boy, he refuses them: here, take them, you little dog; he denies you: if you don't give them, he wants them. In what does an excluded lover differ [from such a boy]; when he argues with himself whether he should go or not to that very place whither he was returning without being sent for, and cleaves to the hated doors?"


Any ideas?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

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