Yizkor Books #YizkorBooks Problems we Face [was: Doe s the Yizkor list include only Holocaust victims?] #yizkorbooks

p ng <png42@...>

I just wanted to thank Eva Floersheim and Marian Rubin for their comments.
It is so helpful for us to hear about some of the problems and issues that
we all struggle with. I am the Przemysl YB translation coordinator. I have
not experienced the same issues with the Holocaust victims information (not
yet, I should say) but Eva's and Marian's comments speak to a broader issue
of how difficult it is to provide an accurate Yizkor Book translation. Also,
I don't think that most people realize how much work is involved in doing
this kind of translation. I certainly did not before I started...
Translating >from Hebrew is not like translating >from other languages, like
Polish or German, where there is no need to do additional research on an
on-going basis just to be able to verify if certain details have been
deciphered correctly. I am not saying that there is no need for research in
other ranslations, but certainly not to the same extent.

For one, in the Hebrew original there are no diacritical
marks to distinguish between certain letters and no vowels, so that names
could be transliterated correnctly, or details be translated properly. How
do we render properly the text which sometimes is difficult to decipher
and/or even to understand, where there are all sorts of inconsistencies,
including spelling. The Przemysl book, for example, is full of words or even
sentences that are quite interesting linguistically (e.g. with Polish or
Yiddish loan-words; sometimes even Yiddish or German passages being simply
intermingled with the Hebrew; Polish grammatical endings in town names,

One of the things that might explain some of these problems is that Hebrew
was not the native language for the authors of these books, and they were
not free >from the natural influences of their native Yiddish, Polish, or
whatever the language may have been... However, discovering that some of the
details in the original may not even be correct brings the issue of accuracy
to a whole different level. How do we deal with that? In my opinion, the
best we can do is what Eva has been doing -- trying to comment on it as the
problems get discovered. I don't know about other coordinators but >from my
own perspective, one thing that would help me in keeping the material
accurate is to be able to do my own HTML. That way, it would be much easier
to make changes and keep track of the corrected files. Otherwise, it becomes
really cumbersome to tell the HTML-er what changes need to be made and
where, and it is more difficult to keep track of different versions of the
translation. But that's a different issue...

When I was first experiencing some of the problems with our translation, my
immediate reaction was: "we must be doing something wrong". But as we
progressed in our work, I was more and more realizing that some of the
problems are just endemic to this kind of translation. That is why I find it
helpful to hear about the struggles that other coordinators and/or
translators are facing.

Unfortunately, I am not able to attend the conference in
Toronto. However, I hope that there will be a chance there for those of us
who will be attending to get together and talk about some of the issues,
frustrations and problems that we have experienced. It may even be worth to
put together an "infofile" that would give people an idea of what kinds of
problems they may face in doing this kind of translation, and how some
people have dealt with them.

Shabbat Shalom,

Barbara U. Yeager
Przemysl YB Coordinator

"Eva Floersheim" evaflor@...
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 21:48:49 +0200

<< As you probably all know, translating names that were
written in Hebrew back to Latin letters is always a
problem, so this is why such a translation is never really
finished. Getting to know more and more relevant lists that
were originally written in Latin letter >from those places,
makes it necessary every now and then to revise the
translation. I hope to improve the Yizkor lists for
Lubaczow and Lwow within the coming year. While preparing
for this, I have come upon a difficult problem. >>

<< Stage Four: >>from learning more and more about the Jews
of Lubaczow >from relatives, >from Pages of Testimony at Yad
Vashem, and >from other sources, I discovered that some of
those listed had died BEFORE Holocaust. Stage Five: The
list must now be revised, but how? Should I make special
notes under those names who I now know were not Holocaust
victims? Should I add some short explanation before the
list that most of those listed died in Holocaust, but a few
died before the war, and in the case of the Lwow list, some
died AFTER the war? >>

Marian Rubin MERUBIN@...
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 19:59:21 EDT

<< I'm coordinating the translation of the Rzeszow Yizkor
Book. A section titled "In Memoriam", which has been
translated/transliterated, contains memorial tributes from
relatives, grouped by family, and is primarily a
remembrance of those who were killed in the
Holocaust.However, grandparents who died some years before
are sometimes included. There is no long list. Many
relatives submitted family photos, identifying those in the
photo, usually with a few words. Some tributes are text
only, naming the deceased and relationships of family
members, some of whom were still living. Each is signed by
the relatives who submitted the tribute, so it was clear
that those individuals were still living in 1966-1967 when
the book was published. After our translation went online,
little by little, I have learned that some in the family
photos survived the war or had emigrated before the war. I
know of one case where the tribute is for a person who died
in Israel in the early 1960s. >>

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