Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

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GB 789
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Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by GB 789 »

This letter was part of an entire I recently purchased with some other covers, all addressed to the same person or company in Norway. The other letters (which are all from 1882/3) were all written in English but this early 1876 example is in what I assume is Norwegian.

Does anyone understand Norwegian to translate the letter (or if not Norwegian whatever language it may be)?

Many thanks (please note that the photos may show better on a smartphone rather than a computer as they can be enlarged to see the writing. I have edited the photos and used a filter to hopefully make it easier to read).



Upper part of page 1
Upper part of page 1
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Lower part of page 1
Lower part of page 1
.
Page 2
Page 2
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Last edited by Global Administrator on 16 Sep 2021 01:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by Robustian »

Hi GB 789.
I have a fair understanding of Norwegian and the letter is not only that, its old norwegian as well.
i understand the words but as soon as i think i get the context i'm lost.

So i need to translate it into swedish first before English.

Might take me a few days, but i'll gonna give it a try.

And last a Question, the capital letter by your thumb on the first picture is it just arked or anything else?
Trying to figure out if i'ts a town or a name.

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by norvic »

I think it’s Stornaway, the island off western Scotland, as on line 4 there is reference to Cape Wrath, which had a firing range and is in the very NW of the Scottish mainland.

Also mentions the Isle of Man.
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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by GB 789 »

Robustian wrote:
15 Sep 2021 09:01
Hi GB 789.
I have a fair understanding of Norwegian and the letter is not only that, its old norwegian as well.
i understand the words but as soon as i think i get the context i'm lost.

So i need to translate it into swedish first before English.

Might take me a few days, but i'll gonna give it a try.

And last a Question, the capital letter by your thumb on the first picture is it just arked or anything else?
Trying to figure out if i'ts a town or a name.
I very much appreciate your help with the translation. The later letters in English from 1882/3 detail shipping trips and sinkings and are interesting to read. Hopefully this is also an interesting letter on a similar theme.

In answer to the question, as Norvic helpfully pointed out (thank you 😊), the capital letter is an ‘S’ and it is Stornaway the word. The postmark on the cover is also from Stornaway.

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by Robustian »

Thank you both, now it makes more sense when i know it’s English place names.

I was struggling with the word wrath trying to figure out what Norwegian word it is :)

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by norvic »

Robustian wrote:
16 Sep 2021 07:08
Thank you both, now it makes more sense when i know it’s English place names.
Scottish, you’ve fallen into the French and American trap, but I only mention it for the record, not to score points.
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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by briefmark »

.
Letter from Johannes Ramsland ship captain, probably to the ship's owner, explaining how the ship, having left from Belfast port, ran into a storm coming from the direction of the Azores.

The storm forced them to seek harbour in that Scottish port (previous poster mentioned name, no objections) and reprovision, which is why the letter had to be sent.

The provisions were obtained from a fellow Norwegian ship captain, named Larsen, but not paid, and so the letter asks for the ship's owner to forward payment for the provisions to Larsen's ship owner (ship owner = Rheder, in Norwegian).

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by briefmark »

Dated December 3, 1876.

The postscript is dated December 4, 1876 and tells how the weather conditions are improving, as well as promising to sail at the slightest opportunity. Generally speaking, the letter has three parts.

The first, and longest part contains a detailed description of weather conditions and how the weather developed during the voyage from Belfast.

The second part consists of an admonition to the ship's owner to forward payment for the provisions that Ramsland had received from Larsen, to Larsen's ship's owner.

The third part is the postscript dated the day after. Incidentally, the letter mentions that Ramsland's ship left Belfast port on "the 20th", meaning most likely November 20, 1876.
.

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by briefmark »

They reached "Canalen" (The English Channel) as far as between Asklow?? and Tristan?? Tyre?? but then the winds beat them "back to Island Man again". It was then the captain decided to harbour at Stornaway. "Island Man" means of course, the Isle of Man. :)

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by Robustian »

briefmark wrote:
17 Sep 2021 10:20
They reached "Canalen" (The English Channel) as far as between Asklow?? and Tristan?? Tyre?? but then the winds beat them "back to Island Man again". It was then the captain decided to harbour at Stornaway. "Island Man" means of course, the Isle of Man. :)
Thanks for making me waste my time.
I was almost done.

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by Global Administrator »

.
briefmark - excellent job. :)

So this ''old Norwegian'' can be easily read today, or is it just different spelling of some words etc?

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by briefmark »

Thanks Sheriff. It can be easily read today ... by some people. :lol:

Really requires certain antiquarian skills. Most Norwegians today would fail, I suppose. Several factors combine. The most obvious factor is the old Gothic handwriting that differs widely from the one even old people in Norway were taught at school.

But beyond that, there are obsolete words like "formedelst", the spelling differences and above all, wide cultural differences. The age of sail involves a specialised vocabulary having to do with sailing ships.

The units of measure were totally different and money transactions were handled in different ways.

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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by Global Administrator »

.

Well done .. a nice skill to have. :)
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Re: Can anyone translate this Norwegian letter into English?

Post by GB 789 »

briefmark wrote:
17 Sep 2021 18:22
Thanks Sheriff. It can be easily read today ... by some people. :lol:

Really requires certain antiquarian skills. Most Norwegians today would fail, I suppose. Several factors combine. The most obvious factor is the old Gothic handwriting that differs widely from the one even old people in Norway were taught at school.

But beyond that, there are obsolete words like "formedelst", the spelling differences and above all, wide cultural differences. The age of sail involves a specialised vocabulary having to do with sailing ships.

The units of measure were totally different and money transactions were handled in different ways.
Thanks for your time and efforts (and from Robustian too 😊) translating the letter. Even if in English, the style of handwriting would have been rather tricky for me to decipher.

The content is interesting too and is similar to the later 1880s letters where the writer reports about his ship colliding with another whilst in port and sinking (fortunately it seems close to land!).

It seems this letter writer has a touch of the ‘Uncle Albert’ about him in his ability to encounter sailing mishaps! (Uncle Albert was a character from a popular British comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses,’ where he often talked about his time during the war on board ships that usually ended up sinking!)

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