La c trencada


As he was a philologist, he gifted her a c with a cedilla and transformed grief into gentleness.

Was it somewhat confusing to understand what the c with a cedilla (ç) has to do with this? This is a good example how tricky to translate this into English because it involves a Catalan letter to do a word play. Dolor generally means pain and when you add the ç after the letter l, you have sweetness (the general sense of dolçor). You can translate this into English word-to-word, but you would be missing the word play in the original language. I could say “pill”, but then what would it have to do with being a philologist (person who studies languages in historical written sources)? I haven’t found a way to faithfully put the word play in the English translation, but I can do it in French with a small adaption.

Comme j’étais philologue, je lui ai offert un c et j’ai changé le douleur en douceur.

Yes, I’d have to do away with “cedilla”, but this is the closest I can translate this into French and it didn’t turn out bad at all. Let’s try Spanish!

Como era filólogo, le regaló una u y una z y cambió el dolor en la dulzor.

This time, I’d just have to change a letter and add one in, but the original Catalan word play is pretty much reflected in the Spanish translation. However, remember that Catalan, French, and Spanish are all in the same language family whereas English is not. I wish I could translate this into Portuguese, Galician, Italian, Latin, etc. just to see how far I can go before I get stuck like with English.

Also, it’s a really nice quote that I’d like to admit.


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