Lost in Kapllani’s translation

Lost in Kapllani’s translation

After the provocative comments of the Albanian prime minister on facebook, where he called donkeys, pigs and mountaineers all those that were present at the funeral of Konstantinos Katsifas, part of Greek media rushed to reverse the meaning of the statements of Edi Rama and give to him statements of appeasement through “lessons of true patriotism” , as written in some of them.

As it became immediately known, the review of these statements came as a result after an alternative version of the translation by the well-known Albanian journalist Gazmend Kapllani. At himara.gr we published translated, from the beginning, the whole conversation that the Albanian prime minister had ;

Edi Rama ; “Our state doesn’t fight either with coffins or with funeral provocateurs. “- 08/11/2018

Lucky Boy London ; Intervene, Mr Rama. I’m asking you, because we are humiliated as a state. The Greek is coming provoking us. Show them their place and and our value as a nation.

Edi Rama ; Our value today? Exactly what some see as a weakness. Our state doesn’t fight neither with coffins nor with funeral provocateurs. Whoever came to provoke, came, disgraced himself and his flag and left. Patriotism doesn’t mean hating the other one and his language, but to love your country and your language. And you sir don’t use the term “Greku”, because it is equally disgusting as when some mountaineers of the other side use the word “shqiptari!”. The Greek minority, the good people of the minority of Vouliarates, is not “greku”, but a respectable and irreplaceable citizen of Albania.

And you that I can’t even understand your name, be sure, Albania is not “humiliated” by some uncouth people (mountaineers), who live like hyenas and sing like crows! They are filthy beings that desecrate the dead that they are supposed to honor and take away the dignity of the flag of their nation – a nation that gave a lot to humankind, a nation that was never and can never be our enemy, a country where the Albanians found shelter, same as the Greeks found a shelter to us. So this too, as every country, has the misfortune to have its own pigs and its own donkeys.

In Gazmend Kapllani’s version – on which the reviewed presentation of the event was based – there are some seemingly small differences ;

a) Lucky Boy London ; Show them their place and our value as a nation.

Gazmend Kapllani translates “our value” by implying it means “ideals”. For every user of the Albanian language, however, it is clear that the interlocutor of the Albanian means “value” in the sense of “power”. For this exact reason, the Albanian Prime Minister in his answer, opposes to the word "vlera"using the word "dobesi", which is also translated by Kaplani as "weakness" (after all there is no space for further translation here). So in Greek, the free rendition of Rama's first sentence, not word to word translation, would be "Our power is what some see as weakness."

b) Edi Rama ; Our state doesn’t fight neither with coffins nor with funeral provocateurs.

In Kapllani’s version, the type “arkmorte” is translated as “necrophiles”. The word arkmorte, is a compound word.

In Albanian “ark” means box, the ark as even someone that doesn’t speak albanian can easily conclude.

The second synthetic “morte”, whoever was taught Latin or speak languages of latin root, realise it is linked to death, shows the “dead”. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that the word “arkmorte” refers to the ark of the dead or else the coffin. As we couldn’t ourselves trust our judgement, because albanian is not our mother language, we searched for the word online. One of the results was the title of an article of an Albanian weekly newspaper ;

U varros e gjalle, gruaja lufton per jeten 11 dite brenda ne arkmort

Woman that was buried alive, is fighting for his life 11 days in an “arkmort”.

So to not overanalyze it, the word “arkmort” means coffin and not a necrophile, as Kapllani translated. And here we have the definition of fraud. By addressing an audience that doesn’t speak albanian, Kapllani translates from his mother language to a language he obviously speaks equally well, a word completely wrong. If this isn’t done on purpose, behind this translation is hiding a mistake that no one expects from an Albanian writer that writes in greek. Kapllani, must be noted, appeared after years in greek news a few days before Konstantinos Katsifas was murdered and for 11 days haven’t mentioned anything about the incident.

c) They are filthy beings

Kapllani translates "qenie te mjera" as miserable beings. While “mjer”, in various types, is used as a swearing word all over Albania and means “filthy”, “dirty”. And here also, we preferred, to begin with, a word to word literal translation, while a more accurate free translation would be “abominations”. If Kapllani mistakenly translates the coffin as necrophiles, it is hard to accept that an Albanian writer of his level makes so many mistakes in such a short text.

Finally, Kapllani speculates that that the whole crosstalk took place as a result of slogans of members of Golden Dawn during Katsifa’s funeral and the references to donkeys, pigs and mountaineers were related only to that part of the attendees. Reading all the conversation Edi Rama had with citizens, searching all the shots from TV channels and LIVE broadcasts on Facebook, there is no way to conclude that Kapllani’s speculations are valid. Something not mentioned anywhere is that the same night, the Albanian prime minister appeared on a TV show where he repeated the same phrases. And while he had the chance to make clear if he was reffering to that part of people present at the funeral or to all of them, he didn’t choose to make any distinctions.

Let’s return to the Greek media and the ones that chose to adopt Kapllani’s version. Maybe Kapllani as a public figure has the advantage of having a wider communication channel, and that to some is translated as credibility, but in any case when we talk about the so troubled Greek-Albanian relations, we suggest a more careful and closer reading of the facts. Can’t be so easily accepted a version that opposes to the general behavior of the Albanian prime minister towards anything that doesn’t get along with his beliefs in each case.

To conclude with all this, we suggest they ask themselves what their attitude would be if a Greek politician would proceed in describing like that any demonstrators, no matter how insulting the slogans he was using were. In the best of cases, the Albanian prime minister was down at the level of the extreme figures against which the media say he talked.

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