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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through October 13, 2004 » Irish Blessing translation question « Previous Next »

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Patrick (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 68.230.54.32
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 01:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I am trying to give a present to my mother and I am trying to get a correct translation of the generic Irish Blessing, I've read on several forums that "Go n-eiri an bothar leat" (I'm not sure how to do accents with my keyboard) does not in fact mean "May the road rise up to meet you" Could someone please help me out with the correct literal translation of this line, any help would be much appreciated

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 214
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 06:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

May your journey be successful

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Patrick (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 68.230.54.32
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm sorry I must have been vague, I'm looking for the literal translation of "May the road rise up to me you" into gaelic, like the correct translation from english to gaelic, once again thank you for the help ^^

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 217
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 09:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ah. I refuse to give it to you!

"May the road rise up to meet you", and other literal translations which seek to portray Irish as a quaint and pictureskew (sic) language drive me nuts.

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Searlas
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Username: Searlas

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 09:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

And if you think about it, just what the heck does "May the road rise up to meet you" mean anyway? Let's face it, that phrase was the result of a crappy translation in the first place! :-)

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Patrick (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 68.230.54.32
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 05:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

That all may be true but like I said this is for my mother and I'm not trying to get into symantics (sp?) with her, this blessing is something she's said to me or given to me in writing at every major event in my life. She's going through a very tough time now and I thought if I could say it to her in Gaelic along with giving it to her in writing, that she would be very touched by that. I'm not about to say "well mom, you know that blessing that has alot of meaning to you and you've been saying to me all my life, well in fact it's due to a poor translation and makes the irish look quaint and silly, so here's some flowers". Sorry, I love my mother too much to break her heart like that (she in fact, is quaint and silly, and I admire her for that). Thank you for your time though, I suppose I'll have to look elsewhere for this.
Thanks again,
Patrick

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Alevans
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Username: Alevans

Post Number: 134
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Patrick,

"Go n-éiri an bothar leat" IS the phrase that is mis-translated as "may the road rise up to meet you".

The misunderstanding arises because the primary meaning of "éirigh" is to rise or get up. "D'éirigh mé go moch ar maidin" - I got up early in the morning.

But "eirigh le", which at first glance would seem like it means "rise with", actually means "succeed".

So although the phrase LOOKS like it would mean "may the road rise up with you", it actually means "may you be successful along the road."

So if that's what you want to say, and that's what she wants to think it means, you're all set! :-)

Hope that helps!

--Al Evans

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James
Member
Username: James

Post Number: 42
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey, Patrick...I understand what you're saying. I think, though, what you're getting into is not so much as symantics as it is the difficult nature of a translation.

Your Mother, blessed soul that I'm sure she is, has used an english translation of an Irish blessing. It has had an incredible impact on you and on your relationship with your mother. I can fully appreciate and respect that.

My suggestion is to use the Irish as it is originally written. You are, after all, trying to convey the intent or meaning of "may the road rise to meet you" and that is what Go n-eiri an bothar leat has come to mean. We can argue why it has come to mean that but it would serve no purpose...none whatsoever.

Give her the embroidery, engraving...whatever, with the correct Irish on it and tell her it's from the Irish blessing that says "May the road rise to meet you." She will cherish it for the rest of her life...guaranteed!

If you go the other way and try to translate it you're going to wind up with something that

a) sounds silly

and

b) doesn't really mean anything in Irish at all

It would be like saying, "May there be fruit in each of your days" rather than "May all your days be fruitful"...it just doesn't "sing"...you know?

We're not trying to be obstinate. I promise. We want you to have something that is accurate and truthfully reflective of the culture that you and your mother share.

Hope this helps carify why we are so reluctant to give you a word for word translation. More importantly though, I hope your Mom gets through this tough period.

Le meas,

James

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Patrick (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 68.230.54.32
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 07:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

James, truly I thank you, and the way you've explained it makes alot more sense to me, I know japanese and trying to translate characters in to direct english just makes things sound silly, I guess that, despite being extremely proud of my Irish heritage, I dont' know the true history of Gaelic, I just assumed it would translate similar to a romance language, where grammar remains fairly close and is pretty easy to directly translate sentances (although there are always horrible translations lying around) thanks so much James for this insight (I can't believe I never looked at it this way before) and thanks to all else who responded ^^
-Patrick



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