Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The People, As We Are Born, You Raise

Scan from a copy of Punch in my collection (1 June 1889)

Wherever you may be reading this in the world, you are probably aware that there will be a General Election in Britain on Thursday. I am not about to launch into a party political blogpost on behalf of this cause or that cause - those who know me will be quite aware of where my political sympathies lie - but I didn't want to let the occasion pass without some mention on News From Nowhere.

This election seems to be different to all the others I have known in that division seems to be a stronger theme than unity. Whether it is the division of Britain from Europe, or Scotland from England, or saints from scroungers: we seem to have become more any more obsessed by the narrowness of politics rather than its ability to be inclusive. So, as we prepare ourselves for our immediate political future I thought it was an opportune time to recall the opening lines of that most narrow and nationalist of songs, Land Of Hope and Glory.

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

But let us not forget that we live in a diverse and culturally rich age, not to mention an age which has the benefit of machine translation. So let us subject those familiar lines to the cultural mincing machine and see what comes out the other end. I have translated the English into Welsh, the Welsh into Japanese, the Japanese in Maltese, the Maltese into Chichewa, the Chichewa into Icelandic, the Icelandic into Azerbaijani and finally the Azerbaijani back into English.

What you finish up with is this:-

Hope and glory of the world, women's rights,
The people, as we are born, you raise?

For me, it is a much more pleasing sentiment. Proof, if ever proof was needed, that diversity beats isolationism any day of the week.

For those who have an interest in such things, here are the various stages the translation went through:

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

Land of Hope and Glory, Mam y Free,
Sut y byddwn Dyrchafaf di, sy'n cael eu geni o ti?


Tama u glorja tal-pajjiż, il-libertà ta 'l-omm,
Kif in-nies aħna li huma mwielda minn int, extol inti?

Chiyembekezo ndi ulemerero wa dziko, ufulu wa amayi,
Monga anthu timabadwa kwa inu, kukweza inu?

Vona og dýrð heimsins, réttindi kvenna,
Eins og menn, við erum fædd til þín, hækka þig?

Ümid və dünyanın şöhrət, qadın hüquqları,
Insanlar, biz sizə anadan kimi, sizə qaldırmaq?

Hope and glory of the world, women's rights,
The people, as we are born, you raise?


  1. "Give us this day our jelly bread"---interesting how translations turn out, including those put through the human brain. May the center hold, and that includes the jelly bread.

  2. I agree with you. Our political idiots think they win by dividing and that is right, The sane thing to do is unite. These divisions will come back to haunt us later when separations occur.

  3. I agree with Red. I am definitely not looking to the next election here. No optimism left.

  4. Goodness, Alan! Do you speak all those languages?!!!


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