28 February 2007

Fraenkel's Translation Isn't

Fraenkel's translation of Hannak isn't a translation. In A Fictional Account of St. Petersburg 1914, I wrote, 'It appears that Hannak's account, which I followed for the first post, was wrong in a number of places. Was this translator error or sloppiness on Hannak's part?' I knew already that Fraenkel's work was not an accurate translation of Hannak's work. Several years ago, on one of my World Chess Championship pages, I was forced to quote a passage from the German edition, because the passage didn't exist in the English edition.

Hannak's work had 35 chapters (I'm using Hildebrand / Verlag "Das Schach-Archiv", 1984); Fraenkel's had 30 (Dover Publications, 1991). Hannak's chapter on St. Petersburg 1914 was the 24th; Fraenkel's was the 22nd. Although it has been many years since I used German regularly, I can still read it with some effort. I compared Hannak's German original to Fraenkel's English translation. In fact, it's not a translation at all. It's not even a paraphrase. The most I can say is that it mimics the structure.

The passage that I quoted in a 'Fictional Account' is a different account than appears in Hannak's original. Hannak's account of the last three rounds of St. Petersburg is accurate, though incomplete.

In the comments section to my first post, I mentioned that 'Winter's "Chess Explorations" lists six errors on a single page of Hannak's English work.' Again comparing the English to the German, I established that five of these were translator errors. The sixth, a claim that Lasker lost to Burn at Amsterdam 1889 (Winter: 'In fact, Lasker never lost to Burn'), was also in the German original.

Fraenkel's 'translation' (Winter also questioned the word 'translate') is riddled with errors. It appears that he did considerable damage to Hannak's work and reputation.

1 comment:

Robert Pearson said...

That's unfortunate, since I'd enjoyed the book as a record of Lasker's life not found in such detail elsewhere. Sounds like this work needs a new translation--and while we're at it, let's find someone to do a new 300 Schachpartien too! I was happy to be able to get the games and notes in the Sol Schwarz book, but Mr. Schwarz' prose is as turgid and wooden as possible. I'm sure Tarrasch was much livelier in German!