Anyone here read Hebrew?

They’ve translated a story of mine into Hebrew. It’s kind of amusing – I can’t figure out any of it. For all I know, it’s really Shakespeare.

In any case, here it is:

I assume my name doesn’t really translate into recognizable Hebrew words (though the sound seems right).

I’m assuming your real first name is Jack, right? There’s no J-sound in Hebrew, but there is a system to transliterate non-Hebrew sounds, and I think they’re doing it wrong. It looks like “Chack” to me. I’d insist they switch the tzadee to a gimel.

I read Hebrew slowly, but one of my New Years Resolutions is to improve my Hebrew literacy, so I’ll go through it tonight.

I bet Zev reads it.

Just a WAG, since I don’t know him personally, but. . .

Look at his user name verrry closely.

I would suspect that an “a” sound is the closest to (our) “u” in Hebrew.

I read it, but the words are all written backwards on my browser. Perhaps I’ll try it in IE instead of Opera.

I haven’t finished reading it because it takes a long time given my limited hebrew vocabularly. But your name transliterated from hebrew is TsI-awk Rootman. The first part in red is your bio saying how long you’ve been writing short stories and what magazines you’ve been in.
I like the last line in the sixth paragraph which says, “if yes, it means you want to turn your brain into a carrot.”
I’ll report on the rest of it later.

Let’s see… Your last name is Rothman, you’ve been writing stories since 1982, and the cover art was done by Elissa Balik. The story title is (roughly) “Josh’s Land-Masses.”

And that’s about all I can figure out. I should take a real Hebrew course some day.

So am I at all close?

My name was right, but the English title was “Natural High.” There’s no one named “Josh” in it.

Sounds very close to the original, which was “you don’t mix sprice with albion root, not if you want to keep from your brain from turning into something akin to a carrot.”

Good story! If you have an English version online, I could give it a quick proofing, but it seems just fine as it is.

Two things: first, the phrase “natural high” isn’t really translatable, so the guys at ORT got creative. You see, there’s a Hebrew phrase which we use to refer to our country on bad days - “Land that eats its inhabitants” (obviously, the original is much snappier). The translators simply changed “eats” to “drugs”, and there’s your title.

Second, they had to use an obscure word meaning “blend” instead of “spice”. You see, in Hebrew the word for cinnamon, nutmeg and so forth is “tavlin”, which translates to “seasoning”, completely lacking the mistique of the word “spice”. You got off easy - translators had a hell of a tough time with Dune.

The truth comes out. I’m retarded. :: hangs head ::

Gah. They should use nikud* with names. It would make things a little easier for us mentally challenged folk.

*A system of dots and dashes above and below the letters to let us in on the vowel sounds, since most vowels aren’t written in Hebrew.

Thanks, but I wasn’t really looking for that. If you enjoyed the story, then they must have done a good job.

“Land that drugs its inhabitants”? A bit clunky, but I assume the Hebrew words are more concise. I do love the use of an idiom, since my original title was an idiom.

I think the word I used was “sprice” – it was a word I coined, so anything would be OK.

Actually - as Mrs. Alessan reminded me - it’s from the Bible, Numbers 13 32:

*And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

Someone needs to e-mail Zev, he’ll straighten this out.

Uh… I think you should glance at the “location” box under my name. That’s not just where I am; it’s where I’ve been for most of my life.

Zev, OTOH, is from Brooklyn. He may know his Jew-stuff better than me, when it comes to my mother tongue he’s strictly an amateur.