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On Poetry translation
Thread poster: Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 15:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 11, 2004

Old good Peter Newmark and an interesting point of view about poetry translation.

Have a nice weekend!

Au


The great translators of poetry, George, Leyris, Campbell did not, could not, translate literally, but they gave the illusion of translating literally. I am surprised that poetry translators do not publish varios versions of one poem; great painters have often exhibited various versions of the same subject.

Peter Newmark
More Paragraphs on Translation

[Edited at 2004-12-11 14:52]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 12:40
French to English
+ ...
ponderings Dec 11, 2004

The choice of one word in poetry may evoke more than one image...the one intended at that moment by the author and the one which is understood by the listener/reader.

The individual brings his/her own understanding, dependent upon so many things (upbringing, education, sensitivity).

Yes, I have seen painters do several versions of one same image. Fascinating. What makes poetry poetic is a certain characteristic which may not emerge if many word options are given.

Consider the following differences:

The difference between words and images;
The difference between words and sounds;
The difference between language and music;

Happy Holidays to all - in Argentina and in the rest of the world


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:40
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Also poets write many versions before excepting one Dec 11, 2004

Just saw a documentary about Matisse and Picasso. Matisse's wife wiped the kanvas every evening with terpentine and the next day her husband started anew. Picasso painted always on top of the former painting, sometimes there are 30 layers.
Before writing was a lot of cutting and pasting using scissors and glue, nowadays all is electronic and the intermediate stages are lost.
But who would read different versions of translations except a bunch of translators?


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 15:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Certainly not for selling purposes... Dec 12, 2004

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

But who would read different versions of translations except a bunch of translators?



Yes, I think you are right. Also, I have the 'feeling' that a new version would be a new piece, a new poem, not a mere plan b).

However, it would be great for us translators to see different solutions to the problems posed by poetry. Translators' curiosity. You know what I am talking about...

Au


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Beta Cummins
United States
Local time: 14:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
losing the 'feel' Dec 28, 2004

I'd think we should never translate poetry literally. It loses lirism & magic. The "illusion", is the adaptation into our language.

Julio Cortazar by the way is absolutely fantastic and I think his poetry loses its feel when translated.


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Beta Cummins
United States
Local time: 14:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
new piece, new poem. Dec 28, 2004

Aurora Humarán wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

But who would read different versions of translations except a bunch of translators?



Yes, I think you are right. Also, I have the 'feeling' that a new version would be a new piece, a new poem, not a mere plan b).

However, it would be great for us translators to see different solutions to the problems posed by poetry. Translators' curiosity. You know what I am talking about...

Au



I agree with you, Aurora. Every translation is a new view on a same topic.

Beta Cummins


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Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:40
Member
English
+ ...
Pessoa for fun, not profit Dec 28, 2004

Hi there,

I enclose two translations I have done for "fun, not profit", of one of my favourite Pessoa poems in which he analyses the falseness that is behind the act of communication that poetry represents (or any art for that matter).

As you can see, I tried two approaches. The first attempts to be as literal as possible, while the second attempts to give the feel of the original without sacrificing too much of the original's imagery. Both illustrate some of the problems in translating poetry.

Autopsychograph (literal)

The poet is a faker.
Faking so effectively
That he counterfeits pain
When he truly feels it.

Those who read what he wrote
Feel in that written pain
Not the two which the poet lived through,
But only that which they have not got.

Along those lines rolls,
Entertaining reason,
The clockwork train
Called the heart.

....................................................

Autopsychograph (rhyme as in original)

The poet is a total fake,
He counterfeits his pain.
Writing out the phantom aches
That burst inside his brain.

The reader is another fraud,
He doesn't feel a jot.
The agonies the poet roared,
The reader has not got.

Along these lines the clockwork train,
We call the heart has rolled.
Entertaining mind again,
With forgeries untold.


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