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  1. #1
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    Latibær Books Translated:

    So, as a way of practicing my translating, I'm going through the Latibær books written between 1995 and 1997 and doing my own translation. There's already a complete translation by someone else on Tumblr, but, well, a lot of people here really don't like Tumblr. I have the first chapter of the first book ready now, so I'll post it. If you see a * followed by a number, that means that this specific tidbit has a Translator’s Note, which may or may not be just ranting about how stupid these books are, but it’ll usually be something actually relevant to translating this stuff.


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    Page 8 begins the story.

    Lazytown

    The poor sun tried to hide behind the clouds so that it would not need to shine it’s light over the rooftops in the one town between the high mountains not very far from here. The situation was so bad that even the clouds in the sky hoped to get away as soon as possible. When looked at closely, there wasn’t much life to see in this town. In reality nothing showed any signs of life at all. All the streets we empty with no children playing or adults at work. The playgrounds were empty and the spiders had woven webs on swings and slides and almost all of the playground equipment. It was plain to see that they hadn’t been used for a long time. The gym was collapsing and no one had stepped foot in there for a long, long time.

    You are perhaps wondering how such a town could be. Does no one live in this town?

    It’s not that there are no townspeople, rather that all the townspeople are either lazy, exhausted or they have no idea what they should do.
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    (Page 9):

    It’s not a surprise that you see no kids outside playing at all in this town. They had long ago forgotten all the games and didn’t know hopscotch, for example. They didn’t at all know how to play Ólsen, Ólsen or even how to run in the Big Fish Game. *1 They were inside all day, watching videos or playing computer games and they forgot long ago how to play outside. There were even kids who couldn’t be bothered to go to school. Because of that, they knew nothing at all. They didn’t know how to count, or how to write, or even how to draw. Imagine that. The only thing they knew was to eat candy and sit in front of the TV.

    I don’t remember what this town was called *2 At one time, it had a very beautiful name but that was many years ago. Now it was called Lazytown which is not an especially beautiful name. Imagine living in Lazytown! If the townspeople need to go anywhere the all traveled by car.

    It goes without saying that the pollution and the smoke from all the cars was so bad that you sometimes couldn’t see between houses. All of the children pestered their parents if they needed to go somewhere. They never thought to walk or go anywhere by themselves except to be driven.

    Well, like you saw this town is not an ordinary town. The problem was simply that everyone was so terribly lazy.

    I said everyone but that is not completely right. There was exactly one man who was not at all so lazy. That was the mayor. He was really the only one who bothered to move around.

    The poor mayor was very upset with the townspeople’s behavior. He had once been an athlete. When he was young he ran a marathon, competed in shot put and was very good at football*3. When he grew older he had so much to do that he gradually stopped being active. That’s a danger for people who have too much to do. They often forget to think about their health. The mayor was watching the citizens become lazier and lazier with every year. He was even more worried when the kids stopped being able to play.

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    (Page 10):

    There was also a candy boy living there. He was called Siggi Sweet*4 because he ate so much candy. Siggi Sweet ate neither more nor less than seventy caramels a day and once ate 40 Easter Eggs! Yes, Siggi Sweet did nothing else all day but buy candy. He also had candy sent home from the shop because he couldn’t be bothered to walk out to a store.

    And then there was Maggi Scraggy*5. He was so thin that his socks would not stay up. They ran down his legs. He was always trying to pull them higher up but they always ran down again. To tell the truth, Maggi Scraggy didn’t eat much food. He didn’t want meat and he didn’t eat yogurt*6 so it was no wonder that his socks ran down his thin legs.

    Then there was of course Halli Hooligan*7. He was always teasing everyone. He yelled down from the balcony of his house so that in rang out over the neighborhood. He called all the kids names and had to kick them or pull the hair of kids who walked by his block. Halli Hooligan had a slingshot and he usually had it with him in the neighborhood and shot rock hard beans that his mom had stopped using. Halli Hooligan shot like crazy at all who came his way!

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 There are a few references to Icelandic games here. Ólsen, Ólsen is a common card game, so I don’t know why it’s mentioned among physical games here. Think of it like Go Fish, an easy game that little kids know how to play. The Big Fish Game is a sort of tag game.

    *2 The narrator is in the first person and often a bit confusing. In this version of the story, Lazytown is actually a nickname the town was given when it became lazy, with its true name being revealed at the end of the both. Despite the titles of the next two books still referring to Lazytown, the town is called its true name by the narrator and characters of the second and third books.

    *3 Obviously, by football, they mean what Americans call soccer. Even though I’m American, I’m still translating it as football.

    *4 Most Icelanders don’t actually have last names, and these characters are no exception. THESE ARE NICKNAMES, NOT LAST NAMES. Siggi’s nickname is Siggi Sæti, with Sæti meaning sweet, so I’m writing it as Siggi Sweet for clarity.

    *5 Maggi’s nickname is Mjói, meaning thin. Scraggy is a synonym for thin that rhymes. (Well, if you pronounce it inaccurately, as an English speaker just seeing the word ) Maggi is the character who will eventually be Jives, for anyone who couldn’t tell. The traits that made Jives Jives took a while to appear.

    *6 The Icelandic food named here is skyr, a type of yogurt, which I’m just writing as yogurt for clarity.

    *7 First of all, yes, Halla was originally a boy without the twin sister he’d gain in the third book. Solla’s the only girl child in this book. Second, Hrekkjusvín, his nickname, is a compound word. Hrekkju, or Hrekkja, means bully or tease and Svín, means swine, so the whole word used to mean bully is Teasing Swine. I used Hooligan here to get that idea across while keeping the alliteration.

    Final Note: A lot of narration in the book is in the present tense, but it sounded odd when I translated it that way, so I wrote a lot of it in the past tense instead. Also, this chapter stops pretty abruptly and sometime paragraphs don’t flow together very well. This is the way it was in the book. I’m just translating what’s there, so any oddities in pacing or formatting are not the fault of the translator, hopefully. I am proofreading this pretty carefully.

  2. #2
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    Here's another chapter:

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    (Page 11):

    2. The Letter

    One day the mayor got a letter. *1 Of course he didn’t get the letter from his mailbox like we do. He had to get it from the post office himself. When he opened the letter he saw that it was from the president. The president had decided that, all over the country, every city, town, and village would hold a sports festival. This festival had to happen in one week.

    The poor mayor knew that no one in the town took part in sporting events. Now this was a good opportunity. What would he do.*2. He thought about ways to inform the townspeople. Perhaps it would be best to go and knock on the door and talk to the oldest. Maybe he could pay a visit to Stína the old chatterbox who knew everyone in town. She could tell the townspeople about the festival and similar news and some of them might come. The mayor pondered the different ideas about how he could get the townspeople to take part in the sports festival.

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    (Page 12):

    Right after noon he decided to get going and walk from house to house. He hoped that the townspeople would take the advice of two people and agree to take part in the festival.

    The mayor walked down the slope and the first house that he came to was the house of Grandpa Gústi *3. He knocked on the door and Gústi came out and said angrily:

    “What are you knocking for, I’m watching the news.*2”

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    (Page 13):

    Then the mayor answered:

    I was thinking about whether or not you might be interested in working at a sports festival.”

    “A sports festival! Oh, no, huh, retorted Grandpa Gústi, “In the evening I’m going to watch the news and then I’m going to watch more TV and more and more, until I fall asleep, like I do every evening.”

    Then the mayor said:

    “Yes, but wouldn’t you like to compete in the sports festival? Wouldn’t you like to see the town come to life and to teach the kids some games?”

    “Teach kids games. No, in the old days I knew many games but now kids don’t want to learn any games. The just want to hang out inside and watch TV. That’s also what I’m going to do.”

    Grandpa Gústi turned around and slammed the door right in the mayor’s face. The poor mayor went down the steps alone and walked away disappointed.

    In Lazytown even the dogs were so lazy that they neither barked at cars nor strangers. When the mayor walked into the next yard the watchdog laid there half asleep and didn’t bother to even prick up its ears when he walked in front of him. In this house lived the most talkative old woman in town. She went by the name Stína Receiver*4. Like I told you earlier the mayor knew that she knew everyone and could advertise the festival while gossiping on the phone.

    Stína Receiver was strange. When someone talked to her she told everything to the next person but of course on the phone *5! She was always on the phone deceiving and speaking ill of others. As soon as every visitor, who came to visit her, was gone then she’d call someone and start to babble. It was like this day in and day out. The mayor hardly dared to go up to her house. He knocked on the door and then heard the call:

    “I’m on the phone! I’ll come in a moment.”

    She was so curious and scared of missing something that she rushed to the window to see who had come. Then she opened the door and stood there with a cigarette in her mouth and blew smoke directly at the poor mayor.

    As you undoubtedly know, smoking is extremely unhealthy.

    He coughed: “Uh, uhh…” and waved his hand to deter the smoke away from his face.

    “Dear madam, a great sports festival will be held here in town. For that reason I would like to ask you to call all your friends and ask them to take part in the sports festival. I’d never know if they might be interested.*6”

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    (Page 14):

    The mayor blushed when she glowered at him. He continued:

    “You see,” he stuttered, “Because you talk so much you’ve gotten to know many people. You could maybe get the word out and get everyone to take part in this festival.”

    Of course the mayor knew that Stína was the most talkative old woman in town and would just have to say this.*7

    “Why should I take part in some sports competition? Besides I never talk to anybody!” said Stína Receiver in protest.

    She stormed in and slammed the door right in the mayor’s face. The mayor settled sadly on the steps and it was not long before tears formed in his eyes. What could he do to get the townspeople to take part in this sports festival that he was obligated to hold?

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    (Page 15):

    You remember now that because the president sent him a letter that’s content was that everyone in the country would take part in the sports festival.

    “We can’t let the town be known for not taking part in this celebration,” he thought.

    Grandpa Gústi didn’t want to help and Stína Receiver didn’t either. What about the teenagers? *8 But the teenagers had become so lacking in stamina that they could no longer walk out to a store, let alone hold their own schoolbags! They had become so lacking in stamina that some needed to lie down four or five times a day. The mayor knew the struggle was hopeless and no one would help him.

    When he sat there on the steps he then heard Stína Receiver inside in the house. She picked up the phone and called her friend.

    “Do you know who was here?” she said soon afterwards. “Now, think…yeah…I say it again and again…oh, god, you know what…can you believe the dang mayor came here! Yes, he came walking, think about it,” she said scandalized, “He was on his knees on my doorstep and simply pleaded for me to save him. Yes, that’s what I’m saying. He asked me to save him.”

    The mayor heard this and knew naturally right away that she was calling someone to complain.

    She continued:

    “Yes and you know what, he intends to go and hold some festival, some sports festival. I can only say that, even though I don’t usually speak ill of people, I don’t understand why he’s trying to struggle through this now. What does he think he’ll see exactly? I just think doesn’t see that nobody is willing to do this. I think that he can’t do that at all. No, he has no one in on this.”

    After having listened to the babble of the old woman for a good time the mayor stood up and walked dejected out the gate. The dog, which lay in the garden, couldn’t be bothered to even open its eyes when he walked in front of it.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 This chapter is actually written in the past tense, unlike the last one. I have no idea why the tense shifted.

    *2 Though this is a question, it was written with a period in the original text, so I left it that way. I don’t know if this was a mistake or something that’s correct in Icelandic.

    *3 This character is Gústi Gamli. He’s not in any of the plays. Gamli means old, so, while preserving the alliteration, I decided to translate this as Grandpa Gústi, though Old Man Gústi would probably be more accurate.

    *4 Stína Símamær, which means telephone operator, was probably changed to Símalína, meaning phone line, but it works better in song. I really couldn’t think of a good way to adapt this, so imagine the word Receiver (like a phone receiver) without the r at the end and it at least shares a vowel sound. I’d gladly take suggestions for a better adaptation.

    *5 I could find no way to make this sentence flow properly as a single sentence in English. I’m still learning.

    *6 See *5. Same story.

    *7 I’m still not sure if I got this right, since it implied that the mayor already knew what Stína’s response would be, but that doesn’t make sense.

    *8 The word used here can translate to teenager or youth, so I’m not sure if this was just a reference to all the young people in the town, including the children, who are referred to by a different word normally, if there’s some group of teenagers who we never meet, or if the children in this book are actually teenagers. I think it’s the first one.

  3. #3
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    Chapter Three, in which the Translator's Pet character is introduced with all the bias that comes with it.

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    (Page 16):

    3. Goggi the Neighbor*1

    The mayor walked slowly in the direction of home and examined his colorless town. In Lazytown there was no life and fun. There were no kids playing. Not a single child was biking and he doubted that the kids in the town could do so. At least the bikes still stood by the houses. They’d not been moved in a long time. There was no one in all of Lazytown who bothered to bike or move around. *2

    When he walked around the street the mayor saw the curtains in some houses were pulled aside and people peeked out. It was not often now that someone could be seen walking in this town. People knew that the mayor was probably the only one who walked around town. He thought that he should maybe hold a town meeting about the matter and try to get the townspeople to express themselves about what they thought about the sports festival and how it could be carried out. Thus he wondered about the things as he walked around the street.

    The sun hadn’t smiled in the sky over this town in many months. In the end there was naturally nothing to smile over. Over the town low dark clouds and darkness loomed.*3 The mayor was amazed to see his neighbor Goggi*4 standing out on the balcony so he bid him a good evening. Goggi looked out in the air and below but he didn’t see anything. He was namely one of those who watched TV all through the day. If nothing was on the TV then he just watched videos*5 instead. He sat nearly motionless facing the TV and watched it from morning until evening. If it was to be replaced*6 then he slept in the chair and almost never left his TV chair.

    Goggi had once bought himself glasses that had to be some sort of wonder glasses to see all the TV screens at once!*7 He always had them and whenever he took them off he didn’t see further than two meters ahead. That’s why he didn’t know who had greeted him.

    The mayor walked into his own home. He got into his pajamas, brushed his teeth, washed himself and got in bed. When he closed his eyes he thought about what fun that it would be to wake up in this town if the sun shined and smiled in the sky. He dreamed about all the kids getting up early in the morning and going out to play and not coming in before noon to eat. That was the life that the poor mayor hoped to see. When he sank deeper and deeper into sleep then the picture of this entertaining town became increasingly clear.*8

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 This chapter completely forgets to establish that Goggi is a child, just that he’s the mayor’s neighbor.

    *2 I apologize for how redundant these statements are. They really are this redundant in the text.

    *3 I also apologize for the redundancy of this sentence. I further apologize for the redundancy of this apology.

    *4 Goggi is introduced without a nickname and is without one until either the first play’s soundtrack or the third book. It’s the only nickname that isn’t alliterative or a rhyme, probably because it was an afterthought. Goggi is actually a pretty odd character, not just in personality, but in lots of aspects of how he’s written. Now’s not the best time to explain what I mean by that, as some later context will help to prevent these notes from turning into mini-essays. Favorite character bias is very real.

    *5 I’m going to point out some word choice that I found interesting. The word for videos used here is myndbönd, the purely Icelandic word for videos. Icelandic is a language resistant to loanwords, so speakers often create their own. When radios were invented, for example, most of the world called them some varient of radio, borrowing from English. Icelanders created the word útvarp for this. Myndband, the singular form of myndbönd, literally means “picture band”, referring to how videotape, containing pictures, is wrapped in a band inside the tape. However, though Icelandic is resistant to loanwords, loanwords still sometimes show up as slang. Whenever videos are referred to in the plays, always in some context related to Goggi, the word videó or something similar is used. Goggi tends to use English loanwords for some types of technology when the rest of the universe doesn’t.

    *6 Here’s another line that I failed to create a coherent translation for.

    *7 In the books, Goggi bought his TV glasses, while it was later implied that he invented them. Also, the book uses a vague concept of “all of the screens” which was later made into the more specific ten.

    *8 This entire chapter is only one page long. I’m not even sure why it was made a separate chapter.

    Hopefully, the Translator’s Notes for the next chapter will be short and normal, unlike these ones.

  4. #4
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    How confident are you in these translations?
    Spirit Power Obligation Responsibility Truth Agility Courage Understanding Solace

  5. #5
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I'm doing this as practice, so I know it's inconsistent. I leave notes on the lines that I'm really not sure of.

  6. #6
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    Quote Originally Posted by EmAsPerUsual View Post
    I'm doing this as practice, so I know it's inconsistent. I leave notes on the lines that I'm really not sure of.
    The reason I ask is because I'd like to see a project where the books are more than just translated; they're recreated. Since all the illustrations are pen and pink, I presume that they could easily be vectorized well, and maybe using something similar to Publisher, the layout of the pages could be recreated with the same format and wrapping as they are originally, but of course with English text, and then exported as .pdf or even as .epub. The catch here is that it's of course important for the translation to be well done.
    Spirit Power Obligation Responsibility Truth Agility Courage Understanding Solace

  7. #7
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I'll do my best. It'd be cool to recreate the books, even if they're not very good.

  8. #8
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    I took a two day break from translating, but I'm back now with Chapter 5.

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    (Page 17):

    4. Running Mayor!

    The next day the mayor woke up with the rooster which was very unusual. The rooster*1 didn’t at all crow every morning. And in fact it was not the rooster himself who crowed. Everyone was so lazy in Lazytown that even the rooster couldn’t be bothered to crow except at the very best of times. He sat in his old sun lounger and slept there nearly all day. So he decided to rent a rooster from the next town to crow for him. He just paid the other rooster to come from the neighboring town to crow:

    “Cocka-doodle-doo…Cocka-doodle-doo…”

    This was of course expensive and finally the rooster could not afford it. Then he taped his crow and just pushed a button every time he had to crow. He still soon became sick of it and found another way. He connected a clock to the tape and had rooster-crowing sounds play every time that the clock rang.*2. Then he could continue to sleep in his sun lounger in peace. Life was like that in Lazytown. People didn’t even wake up with a real rooster!

    The mayor stood up and thought about how he’d have to roll up his sleeves. Now he had to get the townspeople to hold a meeting. He couldn’t send a letter to every house because there was no mailman in Lazytown*3. Of course no one could be bothered to hand out the mail. What could the poor mayor do to get all the people together?

    While he got dressed his mind wandered. When he opened the wardrobe to take his sweater out he saw his old sports uniform. This sports uniform had not been used in a long time. He then saw his old tracksuit, a jogging suit that he’d ran in before when he competed in tournaments. What would happen if he wore the suit and jogged around the town? People hadn’t seen that in numerous years. Perhaps it would awaken some sporting thoughts from them.

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    The mayor dressed in the suit, fetched his old sports shoes, jumped out and started jogging around the streets of town. The people, who saw him, thought to themselves that he had to have gone crazy, running around all over the place.

    The mayor didn’t let that get to him and just kept running fast. He ran between the gym and the church, down to the dock and between all the houses in Lazytown. The people went out to the street to whisper to each other about the mayor going batty. Others pulled back the curtains of their windows and watched him run, surprised.

    Acting accordingly, he increased his speed. The people had never in some time seen someone run so fast. Then he called out loudly as he ran:

    “There’s a town meeting! There’s a town meeting at three o’clock in the town square! There’s a town meeting!”

    The poor mayor didn’t seem to be tired but he was exhausted, it’s true to say languished, when he came home to his place afterwards. Phew! He’d been running continuously for two hours.

    The townspeople thought this was completely unbelievable. Such a thing hadn’t happened in numerous years. *4

    “What meeting was the mayor talking about? Is there going to be a town meeting?” they said to each other.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Fun Fact: Haninn literally means The Rooster, so Haninn actually has no name. This rooster acts like Haninn, but his name is never capitalized outside of the beginning of a sentence, so I translated it as “the rooster”, but feel free to imagine that it’s Haninn from GGiL, since this sounds like something he would do.

    *2 Just stopping to wonder why the rooster even needs to crow if alarm clocks exist.

    *3 Not yet, anyway…

    *4 If I point out and apologize for every time the text is redundant, repeating things it told us in the same chapter, these notes would be long enough to fill a book by themselves.

  9. #9
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    And now the story finally decides to go somewhere.

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    (Page 19):

    5. The Town Meeting

    The mayor decided to have the meeting in the town square because it was in the middle of town and there were enough parking spaces. He knew that all the townspeople would drive there.

    There was no one walking to the meeting rather than driving. People didn’t even bother to get out of their cars but rather rolled down their car windows to be able to see.

    Imagine all the exhaust fumes! Not one single citizen turned off their car but rather let their engines run during the meeting.

    The poor mayor coughed and coughed when he tried to start the meeting and welcome everyone. He spoke as loud as he possibly could: *1

    “Now I call this meeting to order.”

    “The only thing on the agenda,” said the mayor “is the sports festival that is to be held all over the country. We here in this town, which goes by the name Lazytown, must take part in the festival being held.”

    The people in the cars sighed:

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    “Ohhhh…ohhhh…do we have to?”

    “Ohhh…ohhhhhh, how can I go out to the shop*2 if I’m taking part in some sports festival?” asked the candy boy with a mouth full of candy.

    Goggi, who watched videos all day, looked out and said:

    “But then I’ll miss…Neighbors *3 Neighbors is always on the TV at five o’clock and this sports tournament goes all day.”

    It must be said that the response hadn’t been good. All the townspeople had something against the sports festival. If it wasn’t one thing then it was another. It was too expensive to buy shoes, bikes, uniforms or other things related to sports.

    “It’s way, way too expensive. This will cost the municipality*4 too much money,” said Nenni Penny-Pincher*5 in shock.

    Some said that sports were very dangerous*6 and that everyone would be injured; that there were always people spraining themselves and tripping over stuff. The mayor listened to all of these excuses and simply didn’t know what he had to do. The townspeople appeared to have no interest in the festival. The cars drove away and the people returned to their homes. The poor mayor stood alone afterwards.

    The town square was covered in trash because people didn’t respect themselves or the environment. Therefore cigarette butts and candy wrappers laid everywhere. The mayor gathered up this trash and he cried because the townspeople weren’t going to take part in the sports festival. He saw his little town fall into atrophy down to nothing but lazy people and motionlessness. What would he say to the president? He walked briskly and thought.

    He didn’t know until he’d walked for several hours and was leaving the town.*7 He wasn’t happy. He sat on a hill and watched silently over his town where the sun hadn’t shined for a long time.

    “What exactly do I try?” he thought.

    All at once he heard something so he listened. He heard someone counting.

    “One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three.”

    The mayor was shocked! Where did that come from? He checked back over the hill and didn’t see anything.

    The voice continued:

    “One thousand and five.”*8

    He peaked nervously behind a stone and heard:

    “One thousand and six.”

    It was as if the voice came out of the hill.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 These fragments could’ve been a single paragraph, but this was how they appeared on the page.

    *2 In the play, Siggi just wanted to eat candy all day, but here it seems like he’s not too lazy to go out to the candy store, though I’m pretty sure he’s supposed to be here, so I don’t get it. I’m confident in my translation here. It definitely referenced going shopping instead of eating candy, so I have no idea what’s going on here.

    *3 Apparently Goggi’s a fan of Australian soap operas.

    *4 This word could also be translated as community, but the idea of a young child just randomly using the word municipality was too amusing to pass up.

    *5 Níski, Nenni’s nickname, can literally translate to . But, keeping with the theme of rhyme/alliteration, I went with Penny-Pincher.

    *6 This word can also be translated as deadly, but just very dangerous made more sense.

    *7 This sentence refused to take coherent form. I’m guessing it meant that he wandered aimlessly, not knowing where he intended to go.

    *8 What happened to one thousand and four?

    - - - Updated - - -

    The post literally translated the word s t i n g y into a picture of Stingy. ...I'm keeping it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    This chapter frustrates me.

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    6. The Sports Elf

    The mayor walked around the hill and saw that there was a crack in it. He couldn’t refrain from asking:

    “Who are you?”

    “I’m the sports elf*1.”

    “Huh, are you a sports elf?” asked the mayor surprised. He’d never seen a sports elf before.*2

    “Yes, I’m a sports elf and I live in this hill. I’m completing my evening exercises.”

    “What are you saying?” said the mayor. “You do one thousand and something push-ups every evening?”*3

    “Yes, yes, this is just to keep me young,” said the sports elf.

    “How come you live in this hill?” asked the mayor.

    “Right, it just so happens that I’m the coach of a national team of sports elves.*4 I live in this hill and in the hills around it reside other elves. I travel between hills and train them all in gymnastics. I naturally need to keep myself in good shape so I can teach them something new every day. Here I have own gymnasium,” said the elf proudly, “But what are you doing here, mayor, so sad-looking?” *5 asked the elf.

    “Right, you see…” and then the mayor told the elf the whole story about what was happening in Lazytown.

    “We elves have actually observed this town for a long time and have of course noticed that the townspeople have become lazier and lazier with every year.”

    The mayor said sadly:

    “Yes, this is the ugly situation that the town as come to. But how’s the situation for you elves? Nearly that bad?”

    “No, no, “ said the sports elf. “In the elf settlement everyone is very fit. Everyone exercises regularly, wakes up and goes to bed early and thinks well about health and learning.”

    “Uh…couldn’t you help me?”*6 the mayor asked carefully.

    “You never know,” said the elf.

    “Couldn’t you train the townspeople for me so that they’d become interested in moving around?”

    “You never know,” the sports elf said again. “I shall go and look at the town and see what I can do.”

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    The mayor thanked him sincerely and asked how he could repay him.*7

    “The payments, which I want to get, are smiles and friendly attitudes,” the elf said while doing stretches.

    “That’s not much,” thought the mayor. “But that could become a challenge to get smiles from all the townspeople.”

    They almost never smiled, let alone had friendly attitudes. It could maybe be more difficult than expected to repay the elf’s favor.

    But the elf decided to go first thing in the morning to observe the situation in Lazytown.

    Translator’s Notes:

    I apologize in advance for having a lot of things to vent about, but I’ll try not to rant.

    *1 I’m surprised that “the sports elf” wasn’t capitalized, since it’s a title of sorts.

    *2 Wait. Is he A sports elf or THE sports elf. I’m already confused. I know this isn’t a translation failure, because I know how the definite article works, so this is just confusing on its own.

    *3 Okay, this entire introduction is a mess. The mayor looks around but it never says that he sees anyone. He asks “Who are you?” to no one and no one responds, because the narration forgot to say that he saw someone and spoke to them. Then it makes it confusing as to whether this as a sports elf or The Sports Elf like a title. This is the introduction of the main character, and it’s borderline incoherent.

    *4 Okay, so he’s THE sports elf, as in one, who trains a group of sports elves. This raises more questions than it answers.

    *5 Uh…The mayor never said who he was. Does the sports elf know via magic? Are we supposed to just assume that? Are we supposed to not think that’s creepy?

    *6 Okay, I said I’d try not to rant, but: This makes no sense. The mayor is asking the elf to solve a problem that he’s completely unfamiliar with. The sports elf trains elves, for whom laziness is not a problem. They’re all perfect. Fine. They’re magic, so they can be perfect. But, how does the sports elf know how to address laziness when he’s never done more than observe it before? He’s never had to convince someone to not be lazy, if he’s only trained elves and elves are never lazy. This is like asking someone who lives somewhere without consistent internet access or even electricity, only having heard of those things and seen them a few times maybe, to fix your computer, because they’ve never had computer problems before, when the only reason they’ve never had computer problems before, is because they’ve never used a computer.

    *7 So, the mayor makes a deal with a supernatural being? Weird.

  11. #11
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    Re: Latibær Books Translated:

    The following chapter may or may not contain commentary from the translator that may or may not annoy some audience members.

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    The chapters get a lot longer from this point onward. Because of this, from now on, Translator’s Notes will be at the end of each page so you won’t have to scroll a mile down to read the notes on the first few pages and then up again and down again etc.

    7. The Candy Boy*1

    Monday came. The elf set off running. He was in sports apparel like a sports elf should be that had a number 10 on the back because it was his lucky number.*2 He also had shoes that were makeshift running shoes. He could run so fast in them that people didn’t see him when he bounced around in them. Don’t forget the notebook that he always had with him.*3 In it he wrote recommendations to those who wanted to improve their lives and succeed in sports.*4

    When the elf came running into the town in a hurry he stood in front of a house that was covered in garbage. Outside the house was a spray of candy wrappers, used cans and bottles. This had all been discarded out and around the window so that the garden was full of garbage.

    You all know, of course who lived there! Siggi Sweet lived in this house, Siggi the candy boy.*5 The elf waded through all the garbage and peeked through the window. There sat Siggi Sweet up in his room with almost five kilos*6 of candy and was devouring it as well as potato chips and soda.

    When Siggi was seven years old*7 he received a Superman costume - which some call a Superman costume*8. Back then he ran around in it*9. But after that he got to eating this abundance of candy and stopped being able to run. He nearly stopped being able to move around. He just sat up in his room and devoured candy and so in the end he couldn’t move around.

    And then there was still his favorite costume which no longer fit him. It was true to say that it’d become too small for the candy boy and he was actually springing out of it. The cape which had reached down to his ankles, hung like a washcloth on his back! Yes, it wasn’t a pretty sight to see the candy boy in the Superman costume who devoured candy up there in his room which was covered in caramel wrappers

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 The chapters get a lot longer from this point onward. Because of this, from now on, Translator’s Notes will be at the end of each page so you won’t have to scroll a mile down to read the notes on the first few pages and then up again and down again etc.

    *2 The original origin story of the number 10 was kind of lame. It’s just his lucky number.

    *3 I’m not sure if the narrator was actually telling the audience not to forget the notebook that’d never been established.

    *4 Or to whoever he thinks should want to improve their lives and succeed in sports, which is everyone in sight.

    *5 Siggi has two nicknames for some reason, with candy boy being some other sort of character description. I don’t get it.

    *6 For my fellow Americans, that’s around eleven pounds of candy.

    *7 This implies that Siggi is several years older than seven, not matching every later portrayal of him, where he was seven at the oldest.

    *8 Yeah, this one needs an explanation. The first Superman is the word Ofurmann, which is purely Icelandic, while the second is Súpermann, using the English loanword.

    *9 Wait. Siggi wasn’t lazy only a few years prior. Has Lazytown only been lazy for at the most three years? The lore of this children's book confuses me.

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    The elf burst into the house and came in Siggi Sweet’s room before he could blink.*1

    “Good day.” said the sports elf.

    Siggi Sweet looked at the elf and said in shock:

    “Who are you?”

    “I’m a sports elf.” answered the elf.

    “A sports elf, huh…I have nothing to say to you now.” said Siggi Sweet. He continued eating.

    The the sports elf said:

    “No, you actually have a variety of things to say to me. You can also ask me all that you would like to know. I know all about how you have to stop eating candy so that you can go and move around.”*2

    “I don’t want to stop eating candy,” said Siggi Sweet. “I don’t want to move around and I don’t at all want to take part in any sports festival. I just want to eat my candy.”

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 I wonder how no one else heard him loudly break in.

    *2 Because candy is well-known to cause paralysis…Yeah, the play’s dialogue modified this a little, from “stop eating candy” to “stop eating so much candy” for a reason.

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    The sports elf saw that Siggi Sweet’s teeth were all damaged. Caramel stuck to all the teeth.

    Siggi Sweet could barely sit up in his room. The sports elf asked him if he’d never thought about why he ate so much candy.*1 Siggi Sweet said he didn’t remember when he started on that but gradually he’d got to eating more and more.

    “So it’s a matter of interest,” said the sports elf “that it’s much healthier to eat fruits and vegetables than candy, for example carrots, apples or oranges instead of all this sugar.”

    The sports elf then asked whether Siggi had at some time attended a birthday party.*2 Yes, Siggi Sweet said he’d gone to a few of them. The sports elf then jumped across the room to him and said:

    “I’m going to tell you a parable. When kids go to birthday parties they show up very nice and sweet.*3 The come at three o’clock and give the birthday boy or girl*4 gifts. Then they settle down and are still and good.*5 Next the birthday boy or girl offers them goodies and all the sweet and polite birthday guests eat cake and drink chocolate.*6 At around four PM everyone becomes crazy at the party. The kids run around all over the room. The parents don’t do anything.*7 The kids scream and even pull each other’s hair.”

    Siggi Sweet didn’t get*8 any of this.

    “Why are you telling me about this?”

    “Have you been like that at a birthday party?” asked the elf.

    “Yes.” he answered*9

    “Why must the kids all of a sudden become crazy and naughty after having been calm all day?”*10

    “Oh, I don’t know.” answered Siggi Sweet surprised.

    “It’s because the kids have had so much sugar in their bodies. They *11 receive all of that sugar, that cake and that cocoa. It stirs kids up and because of that they must be careful to not eat a lot of sugar at one time.*12”

    Siggi Sweet looked at the elf, took out a caramel*13 and said:

    “What do you mean by that?”

    “Right, look. Imagine that the sugar in the body must not go up above the shoulders and not below the knee. When kids eat a lot of candy, caramel and chocolate for example, and drink a lot of soda then the sugar suddenly goes up above the shoulders and the kids go completely crazy.

    Translator’s Notes (AKA complaining):

    *1 This could’ve been more dialogue, but it wasn’t, for some reason.

    *2 It happens again, and it’ll probably happen more, so I’ll shut up about it.

    *3 As a child, I neither had nor attended a birthday party where everyone was calm when they arrived. Is this a cultural thing?

    *4 The compound word used here translates to the gender-neutral birthday child, but I’ve never heard that be phrased that way in English. Apologies to all non-binary children.

    *5 When I read this book, I can’t help but wonder if Magnús had ever encountered real children before writing it.

    *6 I’m guessing this means either chocolate milk or hot chocolate.

    *7 Why not?

    *8 The word used to mean understand here is not the one I usually see, so instead of just saying understand, I did something else to match.

    *9 Siggi shamelessly admits to going crazy at parties. This shamelessness is almost a personality trait.

    *10 …Because it’s a party?

    *11 The pronoun used here is actually he, but a more general they seemed like a better fit, since the children at the party are multiple people.

    *12 How much is too much though? This isn’t an issue with this book. Everyone who wants kids to eat less junk food is really vague about how much is too much.

    *13 Looks right at him while doing exactly what he’s being asked not to do. When he has any personality, I like this version of Siggi.

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    The sugar goes up to their heads and they go bonkers. What happens next at the birthday party?” the elf continued.

    “I don’t know.” answered Siggi Sweet astounded.*1

    “Well, the kids get cranky*2 and tired and some start to cry: ‘Oh, I want to go home.’*3 Some kick the other kids and get bored. This is because the sugar, which the kids devoured, has fallen down below the knee. When it comes down below the knee then the kids get cranky and irritated and go screaming to their moms and dads. That’s what happens. Therefore we must make sure that the sugar goes neither up above the shoulders nor down below the knee.*4 Did you get all that?” asked the elf.

    “How do I do that?” asked Siggi Sweet interested. He himself was often irritable and morose and sometimes he couldn’t sleep at night. He was also often upset. Then he was always screaming and yelling at everyone.*5 He definitely wanted to know how he could prevent the sugar from going up over his shoulders and below his knees.

    “It’s best to eat a little candy at a time and of course is by far the best for the teeth to have one specific candy day, Saturday for example.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Why?

    *2 I just want to point out that the first translation I found for this was pissed. I decided that it wasn’t the sort of language a sports elf would use.

    *3 Little kids don’t get tired from the excitement of parties. It’s the demon sugar that does it.

    *4 Okay, by the logic of this analogy, if your sugar level gets too low, shouldn’t you just eat more sugar? If you somehow avoid eating too much, this would actually make eating candy a good thing.

    *5 Okay, I’m genuinely curious. Does too much sugar really do all that? That doesn’t sound like a normal cycle of sugar highs and sugar crashes. It sounds more like an undiagnosed mood disorder.


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    Then all the sugar is gathered together but you mustn’t eat a lot at once. Remember that, only a little at a time! Too much candy is unhealthy for the body.*1”

    He felt Siggi Sweet’s muscles but they were almost nonexistent. They were just floppy like French bread. Yes, they were French bread muscles. Kids!*2 Now you have clasp your muscles and check if they’re like rye bread or French bread muscles!

    The poor boy looked at the candy wrappers around him and said:

    “But I like to eat candy so much that I can’t stop.”

    “If you eat a lot of candy,” said the elf, “then I have some advice to reduce it.”

    The sports elf jumped up, spun a full circle in the air and then landed down on top of all the caramel wrappers. He pulled the notebook up out of his back pocket.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 There’s the tldr of this entire chapter.

    *2 Yes, the narrator’s speaking to the audience here.

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    “In this notebook I’ll write some advice for you which you can keep in mind.”

    He wrote in the notebook:

    1. Try to reduce candy eating bit by bit. Decrease candy doses*1 gradually.
    2. Try to eat for example popcorn instead of potato chips.*2
    3. Try to cut up fruit and snack on that when you watch TV instead of eating candy. Grapes instead of chocolate, for example.
    4. Then try to move this all to one day because it’s better for the teeth.
    5. Then it’s good to be active!

    “Be active, good gracious*3!” said Siggi Sweet, appearing to be very surprised.

    He hadn’t been active in many years.

    “I can barely move now. I’ve become so fat.” he said, downcast.

    He couldn’t even see the pants of his Superman costume because his belly bulged over them!

    “Now, now, of course you can move around. You can be active like everyone else. It just takes a little time to get started. Of course you’ll get tired at first and won’t be able to go for a long time but gradually your stamina will increase and you’ll be able to go for longer and have fun with it.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Yes, the word really translates to doses, like a dose of medicine. Candy is a drug in Lazytown.

    *2 Potato chips aren’t candy…Yeah, I know what he meant, but still.

    *3 The phrase here translates literally to good stop or good risk, and I thought good gracious would be the closest equivalent.

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    Just start by walking slowly and calmly, around your house for example, maybe do one or two push-ups every evening and multiply them up to ten over time. You can also exercise your abdominal muscles to strengthen them. It’s enough to start with just one or two exercises but increase them bit by bit.

    By all means do this regularly, maybe once or twice a day. You can start in the morning or right away in the evening. As soon as you start being active you’re going to long for healthy food.

    Then you go on short walks. You can start on that by picking up all the trash that’s around your house. When you’re done with that you could go on a little further, for example up the hill there that I live on and watch over the town. Gradually you can pick up speed until you’re jogging and even run. When you’ve started running then you could try cycling. With time you could start to do many other things. You could play basketball, football and handball*1. You could swim, run and do everything possible that comes to mind- Instead of sitting here inside and devouring your candy.”

    Siggi the candy boy looked out of his window and saw all the playground equipment outside waiting to be used.

    “I’ll try to do that.” he said.

    The sports elf gave him the memo to hang up on the wall of his room and said he would visit him in a few days to see how he was doing. He jumped out and rushed so fast through the garden that the candy wrappers flew in all directions. Siggi Sweet watched him from the window with admiration. He had a job to do and was thinking about starting first thing in the morning.

    Translator’s Notes:

    *1 Handball is second only to football in popularity in Iceland, but I wouldn’t have heard of it if it wasn’t an Olympic sport. I don’t know if that’s because it’s not really a think in America, or if I’m just an idiot when it comes to sports. It wouldn’t surprise me.

    I know this took forever to get posted, but the chapters are getting longer and it’s becoming harder to get through them. Sorry about that.

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