A translation is an x-ray, not a xerox. The translator is the Chinese ceramist who re-creates the spirit and produces the vessel in which that spirit lives. If you wish to do that, devise an appropriate speech, forget the epithet writer, good luck, and count on nothing. Then, break the poem down word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase or line-by-line to paraphrase. hide caption. When handsomely reborn through the word-giving voice of the translator, is the translation a form different from other literature? There it is the world of winged pythons; the earth there is ablaze with the fire they spit. This editorial choice is a formidable gain. A good translation is that in which the text in the target language accurately expresses the meaning, sense and intention of the writer of the source text in such a way that it sounds natural to the reader. One of the stumbling blocks when trying to study poetry is that it seems like a different world. Freedom to invent, to stray from the text, even to scratch out words and passages succeeds in a defined method, such as imitation, which Chaucer and Shakespeare boldly practiced. It gives us the other. Coleman says, "We don't have that opportunity for metaphor in English, so I did 'days' instead of 'time' in order to get at weather and also the passage of time.". Such practice puts a poet on the hot seat. A poet translator survives as a good confessed thief. Upon first listen, "I'm sort of blown away by the rhythm and the momentum that she gets from mixing together two languages. Fidelity to the letter, preceding the word, makes an even better, higher form of faith. Translators are hardcore stealers, but unlike ordinary literary confidence men, the translator gets caught. I shan’t, but I will try to illustrate Dryden’s main thesis — that the translation of poetry into poetry is an act of sympathy — the identification of another person with oneself, the transference of his utterance to one’s own utterance. A translation is never an exact copy. The Poet as Translator. Aaron Coleman, a literary translator, interprets a few mini poems submitted to NPR's National Poetry Month hashtag, #NPRpoetry. I spend my days drawing waves and goodbyes. Yet translation of poetry is conceivable. Songs between window blinds and white cement.". Is it possible to translate poetry from one language into another without losing meaning? Instead, translation can be transformation. He has good reason to be inimical to archaisms. And be fair to the gardener who keeps them up. The poet in hot anticipation, with all the skills and preparation for walking in paradise, creates. As in ordinary religious mysticism, the problem of ineffability exists: how do you find words to say the unsayable? “How she can make a translation for me is always magic,” he said. 7. What has never been done in the adopted language will expand its thematic and formal boundaries and its literature. A translation is a friendship between poets. Search for wildcards or unknown words Put a * in your word or phrase where you want to leave a placeholder. Kabbalists like meaningful letters. Language incessantly transforms itself, slowly like rust, quickly like conquest, and never, along the endless way of self-translation, remains the same. We need it, for we still suffer under that early Babylonian God's edict of language dispersal. Normally, as with music, the translating artist reads and interprets but does not fully invent the score. But first, some background for our newcomers: Every week during National Poetry Month (April, as it's oft referred to), All Things Considered is asking a professional poet to read from some of your mini poems that caught their eye on the #NPRpoetry Twitter feed. Finally, Barbara Valentina, manages, in English, to touch on this very theme in under 140 characters: #NPRpoetry he asks me about my ancestors/ I tell him/ I cannot explain what in my mother tongue means/ I am a ghost holding up the earth, She addresses the caveats of translation "in the fact that she can't tell him what her name means," he says. The translator poet is a blatant robber but should not kill the other author or steal her very name from her. Create a Literal Translation Read the entire poem once or twice to get a broad understanding of the storyline, characters and setting. It is so only by affirmation of a superficial convention that sees poorly and has established feudal hierarchies of value between overlord originals and vassal translations. "I think we all want to have translation work as a process of reproduction, but it's really a process of transformation," Coleman says. Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland. Those who invoke its former home wish to disenfranchise it. And when translating poetry, explore the text first, what emotions it carries and which formal means are used to do so, and remember there is no perfect interpretation. In la nada the Spanish poet-saint found God. Modest designations will do—translation, version, paraphrase, metaphrase, retelling, imitation, or whatever. We're still accepting submissions to Twitter with hashtag #NPRPoetry. Robert Fitzgerald soared yet remained intimately close. The translator may face the linguistic, literary and aesthetic, and socio-cultural problems in translating it. Yet translation of poetry is conceivable. presentation of the words with no clearer insights into the context behind them. But a fake or counterfeit of the original is possible, and usually it lacks criminality, since it stays close and calls itself what it is: translation. And because there are no perfect word equivalents between languages, or even within the same language (as Borges proves in his story of the mad Menard), perfection in translation is inconceivable. For a translator, to be "honest" means that if he steals the original for his poem, as Chaucer did, or invents or omits passages from it, as the two Roberts, Lowell and Bly, have frequently done, he will declare the theft or omission openly, as the Roberts do. When we look at a poem in a language unknown to us, we are looking helplessly into the formless void that puzzled God until he found the right words to translate chaos into form and light. His poems with their sun in the time of the Dogstar—now modernized as fragments—are all preserved in the multiple trees in a Greek orchard on the afternoon hill. A translator operates in the unknown. Horace and Jerome removed themselves from the literalism of the letter and condemned even the word in order to champion phrase and sense. In their old drawings we see a tree of life whose leaves are letters and a man whose body is covered at vital spots by the ten letters of the sefirot. "That's the thing about poetry — it's as much a thing of words as it is a thing of sound," he says. But not freedom to make errors. Whatever the choice, it isn’t the same poem. April isn't over yet. Allow Coleman to elaborate with a few poems of his choosing. And then there is syntax, the principles by which words are arranged in sentences, which differs considerably from language to language. "Poetry is what gets lost in translation," the American poet is often quoted as saying. Choice is also a venture against loss. In that sequence of translation and retranslation from the earliest original creation, from God's self-translation into being, up to the text before us, we depend on the secular powers of the translator to turn the formless void into light. The poet reads the source text or makes conscientious use of an informant to read it. Fray Luis de León wrote that translated poems should not appear foreign but as "nacidas en él y naturales" (as if born and natural in the language). transfer, but it is also a cultural transfer, hence poetry translation should take the cultural aspects of both the source language and the target language into account. Some translation professionals will choose to mimic the sound of a poem instead of the literal meaning, and others will transform the poem into a prose-version, capturing what they think is important about the original. One of the more common methods is called literal translation. The ocean offers all things, including these mixed metaphors about the translation of poems. It's Coleman's turn — here's how the bilingual poet translates a work by Catherine Hulshof: "I am the wind pushing you. Author: Gwerful Mechain Translation: Zoe Brigley Even Latin grammarians and orators have troubles with poems and tend to Q them behind the eight ball. Dr. Leal is first and foremost a writer, although he dabbled in some poetry translation prior to meeting Dr. Soler and learning more about the methods, theories, and terminology used by professional translators. Rhyme is naturally pleasing to the ears and lends a sense of wholesomeness to words that are strung together. It takes time, experience and mental effort to produce a good translation of a poem. In its worst, barely clothed nudity, it cloaks its exposure with the scarlet T of translation. As for the translations that we do read in literary journals or in translated collections, it’s important to remember that the translation is the creative work of the translator. Yet any way—the way of Kabbalah's letter, God's word, or Jerome's phrase and sense—works if the created poem is beautiful. To choose the unknown path risks loss—and often brings gain. Poems thus imply an additional challenge: the translator is constrained by the metrics, the syntax and the poet’s ideas. The final result, however, can be truly brilliant and bring about something mesmerising that will last for centuries, just like the original poem. Give the art a name like paraphrase, imitation, or verse transfer, and the translation police will not arrest you. Old writers will not lose the centuries of their age when heard in modern diction. A good translation is a good joke. Think of a hilly field on a Greek island, with that rational light of the Mediterranean in which seven centuries before the common era Archilochos wrote about figs and wanton women and his own wild shameless sexuality. They "descended from the terrible and august crown of God whereon they were engraved with a pen of flaming fire.". In the Zohar (the Book of Radiance), the infinite (the eyn sof) lies not in a stationary mass but in two forms of undulatory movement: darkness and light. Within the most hidden recess, a dark flame issues from the mystery of eyn sof like a fog forming in the unformed, which springs forth into light through which Adam saw from one end to the other of the world. In a history and theory of translation, practice must be specifically documented, but I have made its example secondary. Minor acts of translation ripple out from every single reading. Translation is an art between tongues, and the child born of the art lives forever between home and alien city. Don't eat a prickly pear for a peach and make unfriendly faces. So a paradox. Should the new poem not have beauty, the translator has traduced our faith in sense, word, and letter. I include this primer on the translation of poetry with pleasure and diffidence since I dislike dogma or prescription. He breaks down his method: "I loved that little opening metaphor of calling herself the wind. As a writer of poetry, it’s one of the best ways to steer readers’ experience of language and different potential meanings. And good or bad, beauty or trash, ancient or modern, a joke lurks under the text. A close rendition requires the greatest imagination and holds the greatest danger, for in staying close the poet may easily be seduced by the facile surface of literality. Linguistic constraints often make this a stimulating task. The ABC itself allows me some escape from a charge of inconstancy in method in that it indicates that method is justified provided it is openly named. 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