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Thread: Translation needed for a Dostoevsky-inspired tattoo - fairly urgent

  1. #1
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    Smile Translation needed for a Dostoevsky-inspired tattoo - fairly urgent

    Hi everyone!

    For my next tattoo I'm hoping to get part of a line from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, from my favorite chapter, Delirium. The line has great personal significance for me and a very turbulent but beautiful time in my life that I want to commemorate. I'm just having some trouble getting a precise definition on the last part of it. The exact line is as follows: Тебя люблю, тебя одну, в Сибири буду любить...

    Volokhonsky and Pevear translate it as "I love you, you alone, I'll love you in Siberia" and it is the part "I'll love you in Siberia" that I want to get, so just: в Сибири буду любить. The only problem is that when I try to run just that part through translation programs, it translates as "In Siberia I will love" or something similar. I don't have much of a problem with that, in fact, I like the nuances of it a little more. I just want to be 100% sure of the meaning of just that fragment of the sentence taken out of context before I get it tattooed.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    I think, the meaning of Siberia here is the imprisonment at penal servitude. As far as I remember, Mitya had stolen some money and therefore was to serve his prison time and work in Siberia to mine raw materials.

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    Thanks, Crocodile!

    I'm sorry but I think I didn't phrase my question properly. I just want to know the meaning of this part of the line: в Сибири буду любить, and if getting just that one part tattooed would make sense, seeing as it would be taken out of its usual context. Thanks very much

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    I think "в Сибири буду любить" refers to the intention to love even in Siberia despite the harsh conditions which ordinarily do not leave place for feelings such as love. So, I think the following tattoo might make sense: "Will love you even in Siberia".

    Let's see what the other members of this forum could come up with.

  5. #5
    Властелин
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    As a speaker of Russian I would be a bit more comfortable seeing it with "и". Precisely: ... и в Сибири буду любить...

    Here the meaning would be clear at once, it becomes "Even in Siberia I will love..." (the image behind this could be a prisoner taken to Siberia saying to his beloved one, 'Even in Siberia I will love...'), but there's no this additional "и" in Dostoevsky's line. So, if you feel OK adding this little "и", the whole phrase in Russian will look better.

    "В Сибири буду любить" feels as if lacking something, the sentence looks incomplete in this case.

    But also keep in mind that Siberia is associated with prisons in the Russian collective mind. And it's not only about political prisoners. So the perception of Siberia in this context is not as romantic as it might look in the beginning.

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    Thanks so much, Crocodile and alexsms! I really appreciate it. I'll definitely consider adding the "и", and give the tattoo some careful thought, now that I know more about the connotations the quote may have. Thanks, and all the best!

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    word-for-word translation:
    и even
    в in
    Сибири Siberia
    буду will I
    любить. love.
    The "you" is omitted in this because the speaker has already said "you" in the immediately preceding sentences. I used my poetic license with the English word order for буду.

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