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THE present volume is intended to serve as a practical and theoretical guide to those who, having a full knowledge of German accidence and of the rules of the order of words, are anxious or obliged to acquire the art of translating from English into German.
There is no better means of mastering a foreign language than that of using it as a medium of translation from our own, and there is at the same time no better criterion for testing a person's knowledge of foreign languages. Translations from English into German form. therefore, justly an essential part in the B.A. Examinations at the London University, in the competitive Examinations for the Civil Service of India, and for the Military Service, and in the Examinations at the College of Preceptors for First Class Candidates. In producing a correct version of an English passage into German the candidate furnishes incontestible evidence of his know ledge of the latter, and, perhaps, also of the former.
The daily increasing intercourse between this country and Germany makes it, besides, for many highly desirable and, frequently, necessary to acquire a practical knowledge
I had also this class of students in view, in giving not only narrative and descriptive Extracts, but also letters, dialogues, &c.*
There is, finally-and I would add, fortunately-another class of students, with whom the study of German is not a mere matter of practical expediency, but a labour of love; who cultivate the language and literature of Germany as a discipline for the mind, and as a medium of enlightenment and refinement. To this class of students, it is hoped, the present volume will prove equally useful.
I have myself made the selection of all the following Extracts from the authors' works, and not taken them 'ready cut' from any of the numerous compilations of specimens of English prose. I imposed this arduous task upon myself, because I wished to give such Extracts only as seemed to me most suitable to illustrate both the differences between English and German construction, and the idiomatic peculiarities of the latter. I was also solicitous to avoid all those hackneyed Extracts which are invariably found in all similar works, and of which both teachers and pupils must already be heartily tired.
I have further confined myself to Selections from modern authors. The legitimate claims of modern writers are generally, however excellent their sentiments and style may be, only too much neglected in books of Extracts.
* In the "Report of the School Commission Inquiry" (vol. i. p. 28, the following remark-which does some justice to the German language -occurs with reference to the 'position of German' in this country: "German has at present, in most parts of England, in a less degree than French the claim of practical utility; but in another respect it must be ranked higher, for its numerous inflections peculiarly adapt it for teaching grammar, and for that purpose it would stand next to Latin."
It seems to me, besides, impossible to learn to write modern German by translating those old English authors, whom we admire, and with whom every English scholar should be acquainted, but whose style no modern English writer imitates. In almost every period a peculiar mode of expression is prevalent. In former times it was entirely different in every country; but at the present epoch, in which the intellectual international relations are greater than ever, and the eminent writers of one country are generally acquainted with the productions of the master minds of other countries, there may be discovered a certain uniformity between the expression of thought of various nations more particularly in the better productions of the three leading literatures: the English, German, and French.
In making the present Selection it has also been my endeavour to give throughout interesting Extracts only; some of a lighter stamp, and the majority of an instructive kind: but none of the latter will be found dull. Though merely Extracts, the following specimens are mostly complete in themselves; and where this is not absolutely the case,—as, for instance, in the dramatic scenes and a few other pieces,
I have given the necessary explanation in a foot-note. I have also explained all historical and other allusions throughout the work,-in fact, everything which I deemed necessary for making the text fully understood; which seems to me the primary condition before a translation is attempted at all.
It has been found expedient to divide the present volume into four graduated parts. The first part consists of easy detached Sentences and minor Extracts,—taken from English standard works,--which are to serve for
practice in the order of words and the less complicated construction of sentences. The second part contains longer Extracts, as is also the case with the two remaining parts.
The Notes to the first two parts have this in common: that they contain, besides copious renderings of expressions and idiomatic phrases, also numerous philological remarks and grammatical rules. This section of the work contains, in fact, almost the whole of the German Syntax, and a general recapitulation of the most important features of the Syntax will be found in the Grammatical Introduction, to which I wish to call the particular attention of the translators.
In the Notes to part the third will be found chiefly renderings of idiomatic phrases, hints for translation, definitions of synonyms, and numerous references to the grammatical notes occurring in the two preceding parts.
The Notes to part the fourth are very few in number, and towards the end of the book none at all are given. Only the most difficult expressions and phrases are translated, but there occur numerous references to the preceding parts, and the proper renderings are in this part more frequently indicated by English periphrases than in the previous parts. These periphrases form, though not a novel, still a principal and, it is hoped, a very useful feature of the present publication. By this means a sure guide is given to the student, without actually stating the translation. Thus it is indicated on page 87, note 11, that the expression to the west is in this particular instance to be rendered by the equivalent for westward,' and the expression of it (note 13, same page) by the equivalent for 'of the same.' In carrying out this plan, it has always
been my endeavour to make use of correct English. Only in two or three cases, where it could not be helped, I deviated from this course.
As regards the amount of help I have given, I aimed at keeping the middle path-by giving neither too much. nor too little. I have, therefore, confined myself to give renderings of really difficult expressions and idiomatic phrases only. I adopted in this respect the plan which I have pursued, in general, in my edition of "Schiller's Wallenstein." First I translated throughout every Extract contained in the following pages into German; then I examined the dictionaries commonly in use in this country, and when I found that most of them did not give the requisite translation of certain expressions or phrases, I put the translation in the notes. A few of these renderings have been adopted from the translations of the works published in Germany. In most cases, howI was obliged to deviate from the translators. ever, generally gave, what I should venture to call, a literary translation, but I avoided as much as possible free renderings.
I can hardly expect that all my versions will be accepted by every German scholar. There are phrases and passages which admit of various correct translations, and some may give the preference to those versions which I thought proper to reject. Such a difference of opinion cannot be avoided, especially in the translation of so great a variety of Extracts.
KING'S COLLEGE, London, 1868.